Cardiff City Ladies recorded their first three points of 2024 with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Billericay Town Women at Newport Stadium.
Goals from Chloe Lloyd and Ellie Sargent gave Fern Burrage-Male’s side a two-goal lead at half-time before Maya Lane netted a consolation goal for the visitors in the later stages of the game.
It was Billericay who started the brighter of the two sides. They thought that they had the lead after just four minutes, only for Karesha Iton’s close-range finish to be ruled out by the linesman’s raised flag.
Cardiff grew into the game as the half progressed and came close to an opening goal on a number of occasions. The returning Cori Williams sent a header just wide of the Billericay goal before a dangerous Chloe Lloyd free kick narrowly evaded Ellie Sargent at the back post.
The Dragons would have their opener just minutes later, however, after they were awarded a penalty when Karesha Iton felled Ruby Scahill in the area.
Chloe Lloyd stepped up to fire past Alex Baker in the Billericay goal to give the home side the lead.
Cardiff weren’t finished there and doubled their lead on the stroke of half time. Ruby Scahill was once again involved – breaking down the left hand side before finding Ellie Sargent in acres of space. The forward took her time before coolly finishing beyond Baker to make it 2-0.
The hosts began the second half in the same way that they had ended the first – Ellie Sargent almost added to her tally for the afternoon with a dangerous shot across goal before an ambitious volley from Emily Poole flashed just wide of the post.
Keeper Laura O’Sullivan was called into action just moments later, tipping a powerful effort from Che Thomas over the bar as Billericay searched for a route back into the game.
The visitors would have just that with a little under 10 minutes remaining on the clock when substitute Maya Lane fired into the corner to pull a goal back and set up a nervy end to the match for the hosts.
Cardiff would weather a late flurry of Billericay attacks to secure their first three points of the year and their first win on home turf in 2023/24.
Fern Burrage-Male’s side are next in action away to Chatham Town Women next Sunday (11th February).