Following on from an unbeaten series of pre-season fixtures, Cardiff City LFC brought their winning form into the FAWNL. Less than two minutes after the season started, Ellie Sargent was brought down in the penalty area. Chloe Lloyd calmly stepped up and fired the ball into the top corner, bagging the first goal of the season for the FAWNL Division One South West.
Portishead retaliated, forcing a save from the Welsh number one, Laura O’Sullivan only a couple of minutes later.
After the early goal and shots at either end, Chloe Lloyd fizzed a ball into the Portishead penalty box from the right wing, but Cardiff failed to convert.
Portishead looked again to punish the Dragons, with a shot from distance that looped in over O’Sullivan’s head levelling the score at 21 minutes thanks to Tamzin Hayward.
A few nervy minutes ensued, with the Possets being forced to make quality saves as Cardiff piled on the pressure. Ellie Sargent again created a goalscoring opportunity, which Ingrid Aadland slotted in at the far post. 2-1 to the hosts, 25 minutes gone.
Again Portishead retaliated, forcing another great save from the Wales keeper who came off her line and touched the ball out past the post. Cardiff seemed to relax into the game a little, with a few minutes of relative calm. However, at 35 minutes with some quick, simple and effective build up play from Cori Williams on to Libby Piggot, Ellie Sargent carried the ball up the left wing, with a rapid and skilful run which culminated in Cardiff’s third goal of the day.
This wasn’t enough for Sargent, clearly, who scored a screamer from distance only three minutes later and completed her hat-trick only 42 minutes into the game. Just 7 minutes separated Sargent’s first and third goals.
Cardiff were forced to an early substitution at 44 minutes, replacing Chloe Lloyd with Ruby Scahill after Lloyd was on the receiving end of a particularly hard challenge. The Dragons went into the break with a comfortable 5-1 lead.
Scahill made an immediate impact in the second half, forcing a corner from clever attacking play. What ensued was a sustained period of domination from the Dragons, peppering the Possets goal area with shots but unable to find the back of the net – though they did hit the woodwork on more than one occasion and had a goal ruled offside.
Twenty minutes into the second half, some slack defending from Cardiff gifted the opposition with a chance, but O’Sullivan saved at full stretch to deny the visitors a second. After another save by their keeper a couple of minutes later, Cardiff dominated the game, with sustained pressure in the final third but unable to convert their chances until Cori Williams found the bottom right hand corner.
More attacking play (and a few more offside calls) from Cardiff City LFC saw the game mostly played in Portishead’s defensive half. At 75 minutes Emily Poole drove through the defence, cutting into the middle and lay off a curling shot which found itself just the wrong side of the post.
Although Portishead looked to apply pressure, it was quickly mopped up by the Cardiff defence, who were excellent at providing quick transitions to set up chances on the counter-attack. It looked as though both teams were seeing out the game in the hot August sunshine, when Kelly Isaac soaked up distribution from the Portishead keeper, sidestepped a player and fired a shot back, only to hit the woodwork.
One minute later, Emily Poole linked up in the box with Cori Williams, who used her strength to hold off the Portishead defence and slot the ball home in the bottom right-hand corner for a classy finish.
Final score: 7-1 to Cardiff City LFC
Player of the match: Ellie Sargent
Cardiff City LFC:
Chloe Lloyd – 2mins
Ingrid Aadland – 25 mins
Sargent – 35, 38, 42 mins
Cori Williams – 71, 84 mins
Portishead Town Ladies FC:
Tamzin Hayward, 21 mins