North End extended their lead at the top of the Northern Premier League with a convincing 7-1 victory over Derby County at Accross College.
Yasmine Swarbrick’s hat-trick was enough to convince manager Luke Swindlehurst that she deserved player of the match, whilst Gemma Watson added another two to her season’s tally.
An own goal from Sarah Morgan on the brink of half time and a late goal from substitute Ella Schickhoff capped off North End’s seven goals, and it was Natalie Reay that scored Derby’s consolation goal just after half time but it wasn’t enough.
Despite Swindlehurst’s side dominating possession in the opening stages, it was Derby that came the closest to breaking the deadlock. Reay was sent through one-on-one against Dan Brown in the PNE goal, but her low driven shot could not find its way past the onrushing Brown, as she poked it around the post.
Three minutes later and Derby’s pressure started to worry the home side. Melissa Johnson managed to squeeze in a shot after some static defending, but she could only find the post.
However, all of the possession from North End paid off on 20 minutes. Gemma Watson bided her time down the left flank to perform a few step-overs, Cecilia Webb stood off Watson and allowed her time and space to swing in a right footed shot over the goalkeeper.
PNE added their second 13 minutes later. Morgan and Webb were caught under some good pressure in the Derby defence from Swarbrick, and it was their mix up that led to an easy tap in for Swarbrick to double the lead.
This time it was Watson who was the provider, her cross in from the left wing could not find a white shirt but it was Morgan again that played a part in the goal as she came to collect Watson’s cross, but only to drop it into her own net.
Derby came out fighting in the second half and they were back in the game on 53 minutes through Reay. Her lob from outside the box found its way over Brown before nestling in the back of the net.
The celebrations did not last long though. Danielle Young’s aimed cross into the box was palmed away by Morgan, dropping to the feet of Swarbrick before tapping in to make it 4-1.
Webb had a chance to give Derby their second goal of the game with a header flying narrowly past the post from a corner kick.
On the 69th minute the scoreline was made more emphatic as Watson scored her second of the game and North End’s fifth. Her cut in from the left wing opened up enough space to move the ball on to her favourable right foot before striking the ball into the top right corner.
It was Swarbrick again who popped up in the right place at the right time to make it 6-1 and seal her first hat-trick for the club.
Substitute Schickhoff also managed to find the net with just three minutes of normal time left. Fellow substitute Paige Forster assisted Schickhoff as the ball landed at the young striker’s feet before applying the finish on her return to the first team.
With no other league games taking place, the 7-1 win takes North End three points clear at the top of the table, with both PNE and Derby playing the most amount of league games in the league table (14).
Manager Luke Swindlehurst was in a buoyant mood after the game, and speaking of the performance he said: “The performance was excellent, I think the girls from start to finish really showed our quality and the finishing was lethal.”
“I’m very happy for the girls because the work rate that they’re putting into every single game is phenomenal.”
Yasmine Swarbrick impressed her manager with a fine hat-trick that any striker would be proud of, and Swindlehurst praised the winger saying: “Yasmine’s been doing really well and I said to her she’s probably picked up player of the match today. She was just in the right place at the right time.
“She works her socks off and you know what you’re going to get from Yasmine no matter at what stage of the game.
“I couldn’t have asked much from her and she’s been rewarded with a few goals and she follows on from last week and the week before as well so she’s in really good form at the minute.”
PNE starting line-up: Brown, Forshaw, Stanfield, Carroll, Farrell, H. Forster (P. Forster 76), Walker, Young, Watson, Swarbrick (Turner 82), Makin (Schickhoff 73)
Unused subs: Riley
Derby County starting line-up: Morgan, Tinsley, Perry, John, Jeffery (Pashley 73), Griffiths, Reay (Ledgister 73), Ward, Johnson, Hughes (Grimadell 64), Webb