Toon on the brink as new signing bags hat-trick – All eyes on Sunday for Wor Lasses

Whisper it quietly or shout it from the rooftops, whichever is your want. But whatever way you chose to say it, there’s one fact that Sunday’s home victory over Liverpool Feds at Kingston Park confirmed. Wor Lasses are now just one win away from the FA WNL Northern Premier Division Championship and promotion to the FA Championship.

What a win it was in front of a magnificent record League crowd for The Lasses as an astonishing 4,256 cheered them all the way to an emphatic 5 – 1 victory and witnssed a hat-trick from January signing Paige Bailey-Gayle. An Easter eggstravaganza indeed! And with the news that Notts Forest had been held to a 1 – 1 draw by Derby County it was made all the sweeter.

It means that if United win their next game, at home to second bottom of the table Huddersfield Town Ladies, they will reach 55 points for the season which would be an unsurmountable gap for either Forest and Burnley to close.

Indeed both Forest and Burnley have two games each to play before The Lady Mags run out again at Kingston Park on Sunday 14thApril. Should they both drop any more points then United could run out for that game already ready to receive the League Championship Trophy.

Whatever the scenario it will and should be a magnificent occasion and one that no-one of Black and White persuasion should miss. 4, 256 is a wonderful achievement but it is perhaps a record that should only last one game!

Going into Sunday’s game perhaps the biggest worry was that there could be a FA WNL Cup Final hangover. The 2 – 1 defeat off Hashtag United at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road still fresh in most minds and a wound that needed to be healed.

Should we have been surprised that the hangover never lingered and Wor Lasses bounced back in such spectacularly stunning Sunday style? Not at all would be the honest answer as The Lasses got back on track for the #1 goal in a five-star celebration of what they are all about.

Becky Langley with her trusty lieutenant Andy Cook alongside her and all the other coaches had obviously done a great job in banishing all thoughts of the Cup Final and getting the focus, desire, commitment and togetherness re-established as United simply tore the visitor’s to shreds.

With all their eggs firmly in one basket United’s women responded in the manner we knew they would and served up a tasty Easter treat for the watching Black and White Army. The sun shone and everyone, except those in the Liverpool camp, lapped that up with a champagne performance from their favourites.

Any doubts that may have lingered in any one’s thoughts were dispelled after only 8 minutes. The imperious Charlotte Potts strolling from her own box to midway inside her own half before delivering a superb ball through the inside right channel for Paige Bailey-Gayle to race clear of The Feds defence.

Restored to the starting XI by Langley she showed exactly why as she homed in on goal and from a slight angle 6-yards out planted her right foot shot past the helpless Rachael Norney and into the far corner of the net to set The Lady Mags on their way.

Bailey-Gayle with her arms aloft in front of a packed West Stand.

The only slight surprise after that was how long the second goal took to come as United were in complete control of the game and having huge amounts of possession. But came it did on 33 minutes and in very similar fashion to the first.

This time it was Beth Lumsden back in the side after being cup-tied for The Final who was the architect. From virtually the same position as Potts had been in she lifted a great ball over The Feds defence that saw a foot race between Bailey-Gayle and Norney who came running off her line.

The United striker got to the ball first calmly rounded the stranded keeper and then fired the ball home into the empty net from 8-yards out. Another superbly taken goal from a striker that has been a big addition to Langley’s squad.

Deep into injury time, 3 minutes in to be precise, United went three-up. Elysia Boddy’s right wing corner was beautifully delivered. Hannah Greenwood rose highest and bulleted an 8-yard header past the left-hand of the diving Norney which nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

A very, very satisfying 45 minutes completed for a United side who were playing as brightly as the sun was shining on their return to their spiritual home. The fans relaxed and enjoying the afternoon as they hoped for more in the second 45 minutes. They were not to be disappointed.

On 53 minutes they went four-nil in front and it was a sweet moment for Bailey-Gayle as she netted a hat-trick. Potts played a short free kick to Liv Watt on the right. Watt’s ball down the line was perfect for Lumsden who found space to send a great cross into the heart of the Fed box.

Bailey-Gayle flicked it on and Katie Barker controlled it well at the back post before returning the ball to Bailey-Gayle. United’s centre forward’s first touch was sublime taking her past her marking defender and into space centrally 8-yards out as she hit her effort goal wards.

Norney got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out and Bailey-Gayle spun away in celebration with her appreciative teammates catching her and running the celebrations into an Easter Sunday blessing.

United were cruising and Langley rang the changes to give some of her players rests and other’s opportunities. Once of those being Jas McQuade who had perhaps been unlucky to lose her place in the first instance.

However, despite their dominance United did concede as Feds produced an excellent moment for themselves which certainly took United and the Kingston Park faithful by surprise. A long ball from the back saw Aleesha Collins time her run from her own half perfectly to beat the offside flag.

She sprinted away and cooly slotted the ball past the advancing Grace Donnelly on 78 minutes, showing great composure with her right-foot finish that temporarily halted the party mood with the stadium. But within two minutes United restored their four-goal advantage.

What a lovely goal it was. McQuade playing a short ball inside to skipper Amber-Keegan Stobbs and then continued her run into the box taking Stobbs’ delightful slide-rule return pass in her stride and delightfully dispatching it past Norney from 8-yards to complete the rout.

So, job done and a fortnight to rest up before what hopefully will be a celebration Sunday on April 11th against Huddersfield Town Women.

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