Cardiff City FC Women defeated Rhyl Ladies 5-0 in the Welsh Premier Women’s League at Cardiff International Sports Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Lisa Bird opened her third spell with the Bluebirds by completing a hat-trick after 29 minutes. It took City until 78 minutes to score again when Catherine Walsh slotted a fourth and three minutes later, Lucy McDonough added a fifth.
Joel Hutton made four changes to the side from last time out, as Ceryn Chamberlain, Danielle Green and Daisy Connolly entered the starting XI, while Bird made her return debut.
The game’s opening opportunity went the way of the visitors, five minutes in and Chamberlain pressurised Emily Bentley into shooting wide from close range. However, the hosts responded strongly and seven minutes later, Bird headed past Amy Webster to break the deadlock and start her third spell as a Bluebird in style.
After 17 minutes, the Lilywhites went close again, as Ashleigh Mills’ free-kick struck the crossbar, before Candice Nellist fired wide. Shortly after, Bird broke away down the other end and her lofted attempt from just outside the area flew astray of goal.
Two minutes later, Bird received another opportunity and took it to seal a brace. Lisa Owen paced into the area from the right and passed across goal for the forward to tap home.
As the half-hour mark approached, Alana Murphy sprinted along the left flank and towards the area, but opted to offload to Bird on the edge of the box, whose shot was saved. However, one minute later the forward made no mistake in securing a hat-trick by finishing after her initial close-range shot was parried by Webster.
It took nine minutes for Murphy to come close to her ninth WPWL goal of the season, as she shot wide from the right edge of the area while under pressure from the onrushing Webster. With three minutes of the opening 45 remaining, Bird volleyed over from Kanisha-Mae Underdown’s corner and the final action of the half saw Danielle Broadhurst strike wide from Underdown’s delivered free-kick.
The game tightened after the interval - but City still managed to add two further goals late-on. Substitute Catherine Walsh’s effort from within the area was deflected wide by a covering defender and shortly after, the forward got her name on the scoresheet. The 24-year-old went one-on-one with Webster and coolly slotted her eighth WPWL goal of the campaign.
As the match entered its final ten minutes, Caroline Gardner produced a shot from inside the box that was destined for goal, but superbly cleared by Hannah Daley. Then one minute later, substitute Lucy McDonough caught Webster in possession and successfully tackled before finishing into the empty net, opening her WPWL scoring for the season.
Cardiff City deservedly took three points from this clash and secured their third victory over Rhyl in their third encounter this campaign.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY FC WOMEN 5-0 RHYL LADIES
Cardiff City FC Women: Chamberlain, Owen (McDonough 59’), Green, Daley, Connolly, Griffiths, Broadhurst, Underdown, Bird (Gibbs 69’), Atkins, Murphy (C. Walsh 46’). Subs not used: Legall, S. Walsh.
Rhyl Ladies: Webster, T. Nattrass, Sands, Bentley (Dickens 75’), A. Mills, Roden, Stopford, King, Gardner, Nellist, R. Nattrass. Subs not used: N/A.