There was something strange about the Reds Ladies line-up that faced Morecambe in their latest First Division North fixture. Conspicuous by her absence was long-serving goalkeeper, Laura Miller, who has rarely missed a game in her ten years at the club.
Miller’s absence provided an opportunity for Kayce Whinery who marked her debut with a steady performance and an important victory.
Morecambe have shipped a few goals this season but they proved stubborn opposition on this occasion in a closely fought encounter at the Fibrus Community Stadium.
And it was two goals from the prolific Hayley Bracken which paved the way to a deserved home win.
Bracken (pictured) netted twice inside the opening twenty minutes but Reds couldn’t add to their advantage, wasting a few decent opportunities in the process, making for a tense finish to the game.
Reds’ talisman broke the deadlock in the thirteenth minute when she finished emphatically after Morecambe lost possession in their own half. He second goal owed much to her persistence after her first attempt was saved by Erin Lightfoot, her second became a ‘fresh-air’ shot before she drove the ball firmly home with a third chance from close range.
But the visitors reduced the arrears seven minutes before the interval with their first serious attempt at goal. Whinery had saved well to keep out a cross-shot from the right but she didn’t have full control and Erin Menzies reacted quickly to force the loose ball over the line.
Bracken failed to reappear for the second half, due to injury, but Reds did have chances to restore their two-goal advantage. Both Bea Barber and Kacey Rodgers had shots at goal but Lightfoot saved comfortably.
At the other end, Whinery saved well at the near post to thwart Menzies who also squandered two good chances late in the game.
Reds saw the game out to secure their second victory.
Team: Kayce Whinery, Eleanor McDonald, Naomi Foster, Alice Kemp, Linzi Donaldson, Keeley Holliday, Hannah Ridgewell, Rowan Williams, Emi Rudd, Bea Barber, Hayley Bracken. Substitutes – Sophie Nutter, Natalie Hooper, Kacey Rodgers, Chloe Henderson and Sophie Birkett.