Adran Premier Report | The New Saints 1-5 Cardiff City
Cardiff City Women finished Phase One of the Adran Premier with an impressive 5–1 victory over The New Saints at Park Hall on Sunday afternoon.
Captain Siobhan Walsh continued her goalscoring form to put the Bluebirds ahead, before Danielle Broadhurst found the net to double the lead.
Phoebie Poole put City in the ascendancy just before the break, with Seren Watkins firing a stunning strike in the second period to add a fourth.
Midfielder Catherine Walsh, making her return from a long-term injury for her first game since 6 March 2022, headed home in injury-time.
Head coach Iain Darbyshire made two changes to the side that defeated Aberystwyth Town last time out, with goalkeeper Ceryn Chamberlain and striker Rhianne Oakley returning to the starting XI.
City started brightly, creating the first chance through a pinpoint corner from Watkins, which centre-back Bowen headed narrowly wide. In another positive attack, City top scorer Poole created space on the edge of the area, but saw her effort saved by Saints goalkeeper Sarah Parkes.
The Bluebirds continued to pose a threat, as a great turn from Lily Billingham in midfield saw her drive forward and play through Oakley, who was just beaten in a race to the ball by Parkes. The hosts replied with a big chance of their own, as Caitlin Chapman beat the offside trap and raced clear, only to be denied by a brilliant save from Chamberlain.
After sustaining a period of pressure from the Saints, City took the lead in the 31st minute through captain Walsh, who headed home for her fifth goal in her last three games. The Bluebirds found a second just four minutes later, with some brilliant build-up play, as Price found Oakley with a great ball over the top, who picked out Broadhurst in the box to net her seventh goal of the campaign.
Darbyshire’s side went close to adding a swift third, as an accurate ball over the top from Oakley found Poole, whose effort was just wide of the post. City’s front two posed a huge threat and combined once again, adding a third goal in the 45th minute. Oakley drove into the box and found Poole free at the back post, who finished calmly to send the Bluebirds into the break with a 3-0 lead.
City made a fast start to the second period, going close through the lively Oakley, who drove down the right and found Poole, whose close-range effort was blocked. The hosts had a chance to reduce the deficit, as the ball dropped to Danielle Staley in the box, who fired just over the woodwork. As Darbyshire’s side played with confidence, a fine move resulted in Oakley finding Danielle Green in space on the left, who forced a fine save from Parkes.
In the 84th minute, the Bluebirds added a fourth through Watkins, who capped a tireless performance with a goal. The midfielder drove forward, before striking brilliantly into the net from distance. Two minutes later, the Saints pulled a goal back through Helen Evans, who got the hosts on the scoresheet.
In a brilliant City away performance, midfielder Walsh, who found space at the back post, headed home from Watkins’ pinpoint corner in added-time to make a goalscoring return to the side.
FINAL SCORE: THE NEW SAINTS 1-5 CARDIFF CITY WOMEN
The New Saints: Parkes, B Lewis ©, Staley (Teare 58’), Platt (Gresham (58’), Lockley, Chapman, Evans, Redding, L Lewis, Ridge (Ashworth 89’), Williams. Subs not used: Rubin, Rathe.
Cardiff City Women: Chamberlain, Price, Power, S Walsh ©, Bowen, Green (Cook 68’), Watkins, Billingham (Pearce 68’), Broadhurst (C Walsh 76’), Poole (Atkins 68’), Oakley (Collie 76’).
After the final whistle, head coach Iain Darbyshire spoke to cardiffcityfc.co.uk:
“We’re definitely happy with that performance,” Iain began. “We knew this was going to be a tough game, TNS are in great form and have taken a lot of points recently. We knew we were going to have to be on the top of our game. They had a spell in the first-half when they were on top, but apart from that, I thought we were fantastic, controlled the game in both boxes and we’re delighted with the three points.”
Commenting on the goalscoring form of centre-back Walsh and the return of her sister, Catherine, from injury, Iain added: “Siobhan’s in the form of her life at the moment, she’s scoring every week! For Catherine to come back after ten months out with an ACL injury and pick up right where she left off before she was injured, she was joint top-scorer and doing that every week, so we’re delighted and happy for both of them. Hopefully, they can keep scoring.”
Captain Walsh, who put in a colossal performance in the City defence, said: “We knew it was going to be a difficult game. We set out to play our football and that’s what we’ve done. It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet, but I’m disappointed to let one in if I’m honest, because that’s my main priority is to keep them out.
“I’m very proud of Catherine. This is her third ACL injury and this is the first time I’ve actually watched her come from the injury, work hard all the way through and the end product is getting the goal, it’s perfect for her.”