Southport knocked Pilkington out of the LCFA Challenge Cup yesterday in a 3-1 win away from home. The two teams last met at the start of February in a league match which ended 4-1 to The Pilks, but the St Helens team couldn’t find their usual form against The Yellows at Ruskin Sports Village on Sunday.
Southport had been knocking on the door from the start of the first half and it didn’t take long for them to find the back of the net. They opened the scoring through a calmly finished shot into the right corner early on in the game by Charlotte Ross.
As the first 45 minutes went on, Pilkington started to gain some momentum as Southport’s backline were put to work after quite a relaxed start to the half. Bec Birchall’s volley on goal went over the bar while Tamika Hunter-Barnett denied Emma Donegan’s long-range shot on target.
Just two minutes before half time, Abi Ashton found the equaliser for The Pilks thanks to a long ball pumped forward from their own half. Ashton looked unlikely to get to the ball first, but she sprinted past her marker and drove it into the bottom left, allowing her team some breathing space going into the break.
As the match resumed, Southport was the more dominant team from the very beginning of the second half. They were awarded a free kick in the 60th minute in a very inviting central position just outside the penalty box, which was hit sweetly by Ashleigh Bibby up and over the wall and past Lia Pierce to make it 2-1.
As torrential downpour and gale-force winds suddenly swept across the ground, play began to slow down as the players were struggling to keep on their feet. May Mallon had a chance to tie the game once again as she chased for a free ball in the penalty box, but Hunter-Barnett raced forward and parried away the skipper’s effort from point-blank range. All hope was lost for Pilkington as Jess Hassall then slotted it past the keeper to put the game to bed.
It was a game to forget for The Pilks, who have been in great form in recent weeks in the Liverpool Women’s and Youth League. Southport now await confirmation of their next opponent as they progress through to the quarter finals.