by Peter Westwood
Lye Town Ladies 1 (Bate 63)
Wolves Women 8 (J.Cross 22, 40, 59, 71, Criddle 25, 31, Anslow 51, Lal 86)
Wolves Women advanced to the third round of the Birmingham County Cup after a convincing 8-1 victory over Lye Town Ladies in their rearranged fixture under floodlights at Lye Town FC.
Wolves started well and had an early chance after a corner from Jen Anslow found Kirstie Bavington but her header went wide.
They kept up the pressure with Anslow and Charlotte Criddle both going close from free kicks, and finally broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute after a lofted ball found Jade Cross, pictured, who raced into the box and shot past the keeper.
They doubled their lead just three minutes later as Jade Cross turned provider for Criddle to make it two.
Criddle added her second goal in the 31st minute after she got on the end of a through ball from Bavington to give Wolves a 3-0 lead.
Wolves peppered the Lye goal with shots and in the 40th minute caught them with a counter attack as Jodie Bragan found Jade Cross, who hit the ball calmly past the keeper for her second and Wolves’ fourth.
Caretaker Manager Steve Cullis rang the changes at the start of the second half, bringing on Under 18s players Aimee Taylor and Rachael Howard along with stalwart Natalie Widdal.
Wolves continued to press, but Lye had a rare chance in the 48th minute after a free kick was deflected and the shot bobbled but was saved by Issy Foster.
In the 51st minute Wolves were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. The keeper was unable to hang on to Jen Anslow’s shot, making it 5-0 to Wolves.
Their sixth goal came after some lovely passing play which ended with Jade Cross scoring to complete her hat trick.
Lye got a goal back in 63rd minute as Wolves were caught out with a ball over the top when Rhiannon Bate chipped over an onrushing Foster to make it 6-1.
Wolves got a seventh goal in the 71st minute as Jade Cross took the ball around the keeper and shot into an empty net for her fourth of the game.
Cross was then replaced by Under 18s player Nikki Lal who got on the score sheet herself in the 86th minute, running past the defence and coolly slotting home to round off an impressive 8-1 win.
Caretaker Manager Steve Cullis said: “I was pleased for the players as it's been a difficult couple of months and I think first and foremost it's nice to see them playing the football I know they’re capable of.
“I’m really proud to see some of the players I’ve coached at a younger level breaking through to represent the first team and I think they’re going to be there to stay. The hunger to play is what we want for the club and they really showed that tonight.”
Wolves now progress to the third round of the County Cup which will see them play host to Sutton Coldfield Ladies at Hednesford Town FC on Sunday 14th January.
This Sunday 10th December they turn their attention to the FA Cup, travelling to Brighouse Town Ladies for their rearranged second round fixture.
Wolves Team: Foster, Hakeman (Widdal), Anslow, Price (C), E.Cross, Butler, Whetton, Bavington (McQuilkin), J.Cross (Lal), Bragan (Taylor), Criddle (Howard).
PICTURE COURTESY OF MARK BIRCHILL