Reds Ladies made a winning start to their North West Women’s Regional League campaign with a hard fought win over their Preston counterparts.
Boosted by an early goal in each half, Reds scored their third just before the final whistle to end a plucky display by North End Ladies who were probably better technically but not as clinical in front of goal.
They also found home ‘keeper, Laura Miller, in good form with three excellent saves frustrating the visitors when they did create some decent openings.
Reds were in front after just three minutes with a corner from the right causing the damage. The ball was delivered into the area and, when Ellie Dewhirst mishandled, Hannah Geen pounced to score from close range.
Hayley Bracken, released by Chloe Henderson’s perfect assist, should have doubled the advantage but she dragged her shot wide when it looked easier to score.
North End also squandered a good chance following a similar one-on-one scenario. Rachelle Smith broke through the Reds’ rearguard but Miller, advancing quickly off her line, saved the day with a fine save.
Bracken made amends for her earlier miss by scoring a well taken second three minutes after the restart. She calmly rolled the ball past the North End ‘keeper from six yards to double the advantage.
Preston responded well and were back in the game after fifty five minutes thanks to the goal of the match. Katie Woodhead collected the ball well outside the area, advanced towards goal and sent a superb low shot past Miller.
But Miller did her bit to protect Reds’ lead thwarting first Liv Askern and Georgie Parkinson with a couple of excellent saves.
Reds survived Preston’s best spell of the game and then added some gloss to the victory with a well worked goal in the last minute. Naomi Foster timed her run to perfection and tapped home the third from close range after good approach play down the left.
Next up for Reds is the FA Cup with their campaign starting at Durham United Ladies.