Ladies hit six against Kingshurst
Back to winning ways with an impressive performance.
Knowle Ladies finally grabbed the win everyone has been waiting for and it came in emphatic style with a 6-0 home victory against Kingshurst Sporting. In truth, Kingshurst had the better of the early exchanges and could have gone ahead; goalkeeper Katy Smirthwaite made a good save in a one on one situation and there were a couple of close shaves from efforts outside the box. Katie Smith and debutant Celina Smallwood also made excellent covering tackles to stop clear opportunities.
Knowle did eventually settle and found their shape, allowing them to defend better and start to restrict opportunities. The Robins then went ahead with their first attack of the game; Mel Faulkner won the loose ball and Steph Hetherington picked up the pieces to send Sarah Moore into space. She played in Anna-Marie Robinson who surprised the opposition goalkeeper and everyone else by taking the one on one shot early and lofting it into the net. This gave the home side something to hold onto and they defended resolutely, working hard across the pitch. Sarah Jones and Sam Smith won every header that came their way at the back and Faulkner kept the dangerous Kingshurst number 10 under wraps. Knowle doubled their lead when Tyla Davison won a corner on the right side; Katie Smith’s ball in was inch perfect and Davison rose highest at the front post to head home. The away team nearly hit back straight away, but Smirthwaite blocked the near post effort and Jones hacked away the danger. Knowle were getting plenty of joy on the right side with Claire Richardson excelling in an unfamiliar right wing back position. Some tidy interplay between Robinson, Hetherington and Smith set Richardson free and her square ball took two defenders out the game. Davison latched onto the pass and chipped the onrushing goalkeeper with a deft attempt that dropped nicely into the unguarded net, giving Knowle a 3-0 lead for half time.
The Robins were aware that the away side would come out fired up for the second half, wanting to keep hold of their position near the top of the league, so they made sure they were organised and tough to break down. Hetherington and Smith held the middle and Richardson and Smallwood made sure Kingshurst could not bring their wingers into play. The away side started to resort to the long ball, but Smirthwaite was able to mop up anything that Knowle didn’t cut out higher up the pitch. The Robins kept possession well in the main even as the game became more physical with tackles coming in from both sides. Kingshurst worked a couple of opportunities but the Knowle defence blocked attempts and a long range volley flew well wide. The fourth goal turned out to be decisive and it was very well worked; Smallwood and Moore beat the full back with a smart one two before Moore played in Robinson. She carried it round one defender before lashing the ball to the back post where Richardson arrived on cue to slide it home.
This knocked the stuffing out of Kingshurst and Knowle were able to see out the remaining twenty minutes without too much pressure. The Robins remained well organised and kept their shape throughout, giving them a solid base to go forward from. The away team’s defence could not deal with the power of Davison and resorted to taking her down, giving Knowle plenty of chances to test them with free kicks; Smith coming closest to making one count. The fifth goal was a solo effort - Richardson raced down the right side and looked like she was going to cross for one of the forwards but instead cracked in an effort from out wide that flew in at the front post, bamboozling the goalkeeper. Hetherington also tested the Kingshurst custodian with a couple of long range attempts but the sixth and final goal was a very well worked affair. Moore picked up a throw in on the left side and exchanged passes with Smallwood. The debutant shaped as if to cross but instead slid a clever pass into the path of Moore’s perfectly timed run and the forward did the rest, finishing with a low shot to the front post. Knowle were able to bring on fresh legs in the shape of Katie Cook and Hannah Owen, and both substitutes continued in the same style as the players they replaced, working hard and pressing Kingshurst into mistakes. A true team effort from the Robins on a day where their organisation and application paid dividends. Excellent finishing gave them the lead and hard work ensured they didn’t relinquish that, the six nil win lifting them from the bottom of the table and giving them something to build on during the remaining games of the season.