Worksop Town Ladies outclassed Harworth Colliery as they cruised to a 4-2 victory in the final of the Women’s Shield – a scoreline which slightly flattered our opponents.
Town took a three-goal lead in the first half, with goals coming from an Ellie Chandler double and a Carly Rowlands header. Harworth pulled two goals back either side of a Leah Hardy strike, but the Tigresses kept possession to lift the Shield.
Worksop came out of the traps and had two early chances. Rowlands saw her volley caught before Hardy fizzed a shot across goal and inches wide of the far post.
Worksop took the lead six minutes in. Chandler picked up the ball deep into the Colliery half and proceeded to slalom her way through the centre, before eventually racing through and stroking her shot past the goalkeeper.
Two minutes later, Hardy put the ball in the back of the net after some great skill and a cracking finish. However, celebrations were thwarted when the Assistant Referee raised her flag.
Harworth almost got back on level terms before the 20-minute mark. Mollie Cartwright failed to clear her lines and Colliery nicked the ball off the tenacious defender. The number five was slipped through on goal, but she saw her shot superbly saved down low by Kathryn Wood.
On the half-hour mark, Hardy cleverly slipped the ball through to Chandler, who left her marker in the dust as she broke into the area and curled her shot in off the post.
Harworth almost replied instantaneously with a chance from the number nine. The ball broke free from a Tigresses attack and the ball was quickly played towards the right, where their key player took it past Stacie Sands before rifling a shot just wide of the far upright. She then went close once again moments later, but Wood was on hand again to save an effort from close range with her feet.
On the stroke of half-time, Worksop Town Ladies made it 3-0. Hardy drilled in a corner from the right, which went over the goalkeeper and into the path of Rowlands, who powered a header into the back of the net.
Harworth had a mountain to climb in the second half, and things almost got worse as five minutes after the restart, Worksop had the ball in the back of the net. Lisha Pearson’s fierce free-kick was too hot for the ‘keeper to handle as she spilt the ball into the path of Shannon Brooks who tapped home, but the linesman raised his flag for offside.
Chandler almost completed her hat-trick with twenty minutes to go. She weaved her way into the area and tried to squeeze the ball between the goalkeeper and the post, however the effort flew against the woodwork and out for a corner.
Colliery countered from this chance and pulled a goal back through their number 12. Harworth switched the ball from left to right where the number 12’s first touch took her past a Worksop defender, before rifling her shot past the ‘keeper.
In a total lapse of concentration from The Tigresses, Harworth could have shortened the margin to one goal. The defence switched off as they let the ball roll across the box to the number ten, who cut in and saw her effort pushed onto the post by Wood.
This woke the leaders up, and Hardy made it 4-1. The prolific striker tried her luck from the edge as she hit a shot on the swivel, and the ball flew into the top corner despite the ‘keeper getting fingertips to it.
With five minutes to go, Abbie Lister could have added goal number five after being threaded through by Hardy, but the defender smashed her effort into the midriff of the Colliery number one.
Worksop had two chances in added time. Firstly, Lister drilled Rowlands through, but she fluffed her lines as she fired high over the bar. Then, Sands showed a great turn of pace to beat her opponent to the ball before firing an effort from 30 yards which was pushed away to safety by the ‘keeper.
In the seventh minute of stoppage time, Colliery halved the deficit. A mixup between Wood and Cartwright meant the two clattered into each other, allowing the ball to trickle in.
It was too late for Harworth as the referee blew for full-time to confirm the Tigresses as the Women’s Shield Winners – congratulations to Rob and the team!
They followed this up a day later with an 8-1 victory over Penistone Church Ladies in the last league game of the season.
This meant the Tigresses finished third in the league with Leah Hardy topping the scoring charts after a hat-trick on the night.
By Devon Cash.