Women’s football firsts run rampant at Roses

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Lancaster University’s Women’s Football Club (LUWFC) firsts capped off an outstanding weekend with a 4-1 win over their York rivals on Sunday afternoon. Despite the coveted Roses title already having been secured, Charlotte Egan’s side showed no signs of complacency in a resounding victory.

The home team asserted themselves on proceedings from the first minute and looked threatening, particularly from set pieces. Minutes after the York goalkeeper had palmed out a corner from under the bar, Penlyn Crawford beat the custodian to the ball from another to score the opener.

With York’s solitary attacking threat coming from their main centre forward in the first half, Lancaster were content to allow her to shoot from distance, though Katie McTague’s goal was rarely threatened in the opening 45 minutes.

Egan’s side looked to build from the back and put together a series of flowing moves, with left winger Jordan Williamson going closest as she saw a rising drive cannon back off the visitor’s bar. Williamson struck wide moments later, after the ball broke to her from a corner, as the home team continued to pile pressure on the White Rose outfit.

With Egan and Monica Crewe dominating the midfield in the first half, York struggled to keep possession over any sustained periods and chances were few and far between. To make matters worse, the visitors found themselves 2-0 down on the brink of half time via a Kaitlin Schultz penalty.

The American striker, who has been the team’s top scorer this season despite only arriving in Lancaster at the turn of the year, was bundled over in the box and stepped up to convert the spot kick. The goal sent the home side in two to the good at the break after a commanding first half display.

Egan’s team showed no sign of letting up in the second period though and went 3-0 up with the best goal of the game. After going close in the first half Wilkinson went one better and, after a driving run down the left hand side of the pitch, turned back on to her favoured right side before curling an exquisite shot in to the top corner of the net.

Lancaster’s relentless attacking verve continued for the remaining 40 minutes, as York were pinned back inside their own half. Egan continued to orchestrate from the middle of midfield, whilst Schmitz’ tireless running meant that the visitors rarely had time on the ball in their defensive third.

Much like the first half, York’s main threat came from their centre forward, whose presence disrupted the Rebecca Summerscales and Rona Edwards centre back pairing at times. The number 8 saw a rasping shot hit the bar, moments before one of her teammates hit the angle with a header.

However, it was Lancaster that scored the next goal as Schmitz secured a brace when the visitor’s goalkeeper once again failed to deal with a cross in to the box. At 4-0, victory was all but assured and a late consolation did little to dampen the spirits of the Red Rose team.

Celebrations got under way as soon as the full time whistle was blown and post-match Egan stated, “I’m so proud of what this team has achieved and how we play football, and so happy for the girls that they got to show what they were capable of to some amazing crowds”. Reflecting on the weekend as a whole she added, “For the girls leaving, and as my last game as captain and player, the wins were the perfect way to end an unbelievable three years.”

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