Adran Premier Report | Aberystwyth Town 0-5 Cardiff City
Cardiff City Women recorded a 5–0 win over Aberystwyth Town at Park Avenue in their final game of 2023.
A brilliant hat-trick from Eliza Collie, along with goals from Seren Watkins and Siobhan Walsh, saw the Bluebirds claim all three points.
Head coach Iain Darbyshire made one change to the side that defeated Pontypridd United in the Bute Energy Welsh Cup last time out, with Lisa Owen coming into the starting XI.
City started brightly and created early chances, as Mikayla Cook cut inside from the left and fired just wide. In another positive attack, Tija Richardson delivered into the area, with striker Collie almost heading home.
Wing-back Cook posed a real threat for City, driving into the area, before Mackenzie Olden had an effort tipped behind by goalkeeper Margot Farnes. From the resulting corner, centre-back Megan Bowen headed just over. As the Bluebirds continued to search for an opener, striker Olden beat the offside trap and struck powerfully towards goal, with her effort hitting the post.
Darbyshire’s side’s perseverance in attack was rewarded with the opening goal in the 30th minute, as Richardson won the ball back, leading to Collie finding space. The City striker looked up and picked out the bottom corner with composure to give the Bluebirds the lead.
Just four minutes later, City doubled the advantage, as Collie showed alertness to pounce on a mistake at the back for the hosts, racing through and finishing brilliantly. After a professional first half display, the Bluebirds led 2-0 at the break.
The Bluebirds continued to show their quality in the second period, adding a third goal in the 57th minute, as Collie broke forward and found Molly Kehoe, who was brought down in the area. From the penalty spot, midfielder Watkins clinically converted for her fifth league goal of the season.
Watkins was again involved, as City added a fourth in the 65th minute. A dangerous free-kick delivery from the midfielder was headed home by Walsh, who was perfectly positioned in the box. Collie then secured her hat-trick as she lifted the ball over Farnes and tapped the ball into an empty net.
The Bluebirds’ victory continued their unbeaten start to the league game and saw them end 2023 without losing an Adran Premier game.
FINAL SCORE: ABERYSTWYTH TOWN WOMEN 0-5 CARDIFF CITY WOMEN
Aberystwyth Town Women: Farnes, Gwilt (Sedgwick 67’), R Mathias, Duggan (Moralee-Hughes 46’), Isaac, Evans, Jones (Mason 46’), Scourfield, Jenkins © (Baker 86’), L Mathias (Wylde 68’).
Cardiff City Women: Chamberlain, Owen, Power, S Walsh © (Price 68’), Bowen, Cook, Beynon (Broadhurst 80’), Watkins (Adams 80’), Richardson, Collie (Oakley 80’), Olden (Kehoe 19’).
After the full-time whistle, head coach Darbyshire said: "Every time we come up here, it's a really physical game. I like the way they play and I like that they're willing to come at us and challenge us. I'm proud of my players for how they responded throughout the 90 minutes in keeping their heads and playing good football when we had to, but also being physical and winning every ball.
"We were dominant across the game and that reflects in the scoreline. We knew that for the first half hour, they were going to be physical and aggressive. I love that because I think it raises our level. Credit to Gavin Allen in the way he sets his team up and to his players for the way they buy into that."
Commenting on the performance of striker Collie, Iain added: "I'm very happy with her. We've had a few weeks where Eliza has been in and out of the team, because I knew that she could take her game to another level. That's the exact reason why she found herself on the bench for a couple of weeks, but what a response.
"All three goals, they were great finishes, so we can't ask for more. She just has to keep to that level now after Christmas, because we have other options who are ready to come in and play, those are the standards we set at the Club."
Centre-back Megan Bowen, who played a key part in another clean sheet for the Bluebirds, said: "I think we knew coming into the game against Aberystwyth that it was going to be more of a physical battle than a footballing battle. We were ready for that, we prepared for it in training all week. Some teams might think that we're just a footballing team, but I think we showed today that we can do the other side of the game as well and we came out on top.
"We've got the attitude of taking it one game at a time and that's how we perform every week. We were disappointed the last time we played Aberystwyth that we didn't get all three points, so today was a response to that game.
"Our defence is very solid and we've shown that this season. It's something we really pride ourselves on is our clean sheets. That's how we want to go forward, we want to make sure that the opposition don't have any chances."