Preston North End Women produced a five-star display against Bury FC Foundation to progress to the next round of the Lancashire FA Women’s Challenge Cup.
PNE made it back-to-back wins after last weekend’s win against Accrington Stanley by beating the Shakers 5-2.
Goals from Freya Hunt and Olivia Askam in the first half were followed by a second half brace from Lucy Swift and a Katie Woodhead penalty, as things look to continue to fall into place nicely for the women’s team.
In the first few minutes, North End dominated possession and had some chances that they were unfortunate not to take advantage of.
A lot of the chances came from build-up play from the back and work their way up the pitch towards the goal, as quick passing play helped them to keep possession.
Early opportunities fell for Lucy Swift, who was playing very well and causing all sorts of problems for Bury’s defence from the first whistle.
Good passing from the home side caused the visitors to look unorganised at the back, as attack after attack from the girls shows their ability.
One of those chances was a shot by Woodhead, which caused the ‘keeper to pull off a very good save halfway through the first half.
North End then had several corners in succession but initially couldn’t capitalise.
But not long after in the 30th minute, Hunt did head home from a corner as the girls deservedly took the lead, and the resulting celebrations demonstrated the team’s belief and togetherness on the pitch.
Just on the stroke of half-time, Askam doubled the lead with a solo goal, creating the chance herself and placing the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0 going into the break.
The Lilywhites continued in the same goalscoring vain in the second half, as only twelve minutes after the restart, Swift finally got the goal she deserved after being unfortunate not to score in the first half.
Bury did have some good spells of possession, and at times put North End’s defence under pressure, testing their solidity but they managed not to concede and stay on top.
For some spells, Bury kept possession well and worked well as a team on the pitch.
But PNE kept up their fantastic showing as Swift struck again to increase the winning margin, finding the back of the net with a very well-placed strike that went beyond the outstretched goalkeeper.
There was another opportunity to add to the scoreline soon after as a tough tackle on Swift in the box saw the referee award the Lillywhites a penalty. There was plenty of disagreement from Bury’s players, but the referee held firm on his decision.
Yet again, Woodhead stepped up to take the penalty, and she was cool calm and collected once more as she scored to put the girls five up.
Fresh legs were sought as Lucy Swift was replaced before she had chance to claim her hat trick, while goalkeeper Rose Stuttard moved into attack as the versatile player showed her class and knowledge of the game.
Bury started to find their ground a little bit more in the last 20 minutes, having had some good chance before finally breaking down PNE’s defence and getting a goal back.
With only ten minutes left, the game got a bit more even between the two teams; both having chances as the game went back and forth in an entertaining watch.
Bury managed to get another goal just before full-time with the game ending 5-2.
First team coach Nigel Greenwood was pleased to see the team claim back-to-back wins.
He said: “The performance just carried on from last week to be honest, we set off really smartly.
“The one touch football from the back was fantastic. The play from the back helped us keep possession and score five goals.
“The two midfielders Freya Hunt and Katie Woodhead ran the show in the first half, I think that is where we set the basis to win in the first half.”
North End are still transitioning into a team after the mass recruitment of new players in the summer.
Nigel added: “[It’s taken] a bit of time to work as we brought two squads together and saw signs of us getting together.”
Follow the PNE Women on Twitter by clicking here.