Preston North End Women secured a 2nd place finish in the FA Women’s Premier League with a 5-0 win over Bradford City Women at the UCLan Sports Arena on Sunday.
A hat trick from Gemma Watson and goals from Katie Anderton and Beth Stanfield made sure that PNE would achieve their highest ever league finish and points tally in the FAWPL.
PNE started the better of the two teams and went ahead on eight minutes when Beth Stanfield headed in her first goal of the season from Alison Taberner’s free kick. Taberner floated the ball to the back post and Stanfield beat her marker in the air to head in via the post for an early lead.
The first half was dominated by PNE as they created chance after chance with Laura Walker coming closest to extending the lead with a long range shot that dipped over the bar.
However it wasn’t long until the lead was extended when Gemma Watson picked out the run of Katie Anderton and the former Blackburn Rovers midfielder slotted the ball past Carrie Simpson for 2-0.
Just before half-time PNE were awarded a penalty after Jodie Redgrave handled Alice Forshaw’s cross, much to the annoyance of the Bradford players. Gemma Watson stepped up to take the penalty and placed it out of the reach of Simpson to all but seal the 3 points.
Watson scored her second goal five minutes into the second half with a lofted strike over the Bradford goalkeeper from 35 yards out. Simpson failed to react to her clearance going straight to Watson and watched it fly over her after just two touches of the ball.
Her hat trick was sealed on 68 minutes with a magnificent individual effort that was the best of her three strikes. She brought the ball down on the edge of the area and took it past two defenders before smashing it past the stranded Simpson to make the scoreline 5-0.
The action wasn’t over as Bradford were reduced to 10 players late on after a strong penalty appeal was turned down. Bradford’s Charlotte Stuart was shown a straight red in the midst of the appeals for dissent.
The final whistle followed ten minutes later and saw PNE finish 2nd in the league to end a successful season which included a first ever Lancashire County Cup trophy.
PNE: Brown, Stanfield, Taberner, Bayley, Forshaw, Walker, Charlesworth (Foster 59), Cleaver-Kane (Hutton 70), Anderton, Watson, Savage (Grocott 74)