“Those that saw the game will know that it was a difficult match,” remarked Irons Manager Jason Stephens following his team’s 6-1 victory, which was secured thanks to a hat-trick by Holly Turner, a brace by Kelly Wealthall and Poppy Binding’s excellent finish. Kate Newton’s goal after a quarter of an hour had given Ramblers the lead.
West Ham were up against an inspired opposition defence, particularly in the form of Leigh goalkeeper, Emily Mackler. She performed heroics to deny Andreya Ezikel-Meade twice and also Turner once before Ramblers went in front on the counter-attack. Maddie Archer’s lofted through ball was controlled by Newton and expertly steered into the bottom corner.
Finally, in the 26th minute, a precise finish from Turner breached the Ramblers defence. The forward was found by Wealthall, and she held off Megan Thomas to guide the ball inside the left-hand upright and out of the reach of Mackler.
Two goals in a minute set Leigh's efforts back, Wealthall racing clear to angling the ball into the bottom corner and then forcing Mackler to parry her header, with Turner on-hand to force home the rebound.
Wealthall struck again when holding off two defenders to convert a long through ball and with two minutes remaining, Binding travelled from the halfway line before cutting back to dispatch a 15-yard finish into the top corner.
That left just enough time for Turner to complete her hat-trick in the first minute of injury time from Kelly's cross.
“The grit and effort and determination to keep going won us the game,” Stephens declared. “We saw that from Leigh Ramblers for 70 minutes, and our players technically weren’t quite on it. There were some moments when it was frustrating, with the final ball delivery or some choices, but the girls kept going and came through in the end. Once we got one or two we relaxed and played our normal game.”
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