Sunday's return to League action saw the Coventry City Ladies hand Crewe Alexandra a 3-1 defeat. A dominant first half full of craft & ingenuity ended in a deserved 3-0 lead through goals from Nicole Tinto, Helen Dermody & Emily Hanson. Anne-Marie Atherton pulled one back for the visitors who never really looked like threatening Coventry's 100% home record.
Manager Paul Cudby commented after the final whistle "First half the players were terrific and played some fantastic football. We've scored some good goals & made Crewe look very ordinary. Second half though they came back into it, scoring and making things difficult for us but we still created several good chances. It was very pleasing to see the players get their first win of 2009 under their belts and hopefully this'll give us the impetus to kick on and keep working hard."
Coventry never really looked in any serious trouble early on although Crewe created the first clear cut chances. Adele Rogers handled well from Kat Spencer's ambitious lob & Natasha Lynch snuffed out a Michelle Saunders chance with a tremendous sliding tackle. Moments later the Sky Blues punished Crewe for gifting them possession from their own throw in. Dermody cut in from the left wing & unleashed a powerful shot across goal, Emily Riley could only push the ball out to Tinto who smashed her effort into the back of the net for a 13th minute lead.
Danni Saulter capitalised on a defensive mix up as Riley collided with one of her own defenders. The hard working forward chased down the loose ball on the byline and did well to even hit the post from an impossible angle. With just 20 minutes on the clock the Sky Blues went two up, Natalie Wilcox drove in a wicked cross, that was just too tall for Hanson in the middle, but fell to Dermody who had a tap in on the far post for her eighth goal of the season.
Hanson didn't have to wait too long for the chance to score a first league goal though, as the diminutive forward was on hand to blast home in the 35th minute from an almost identical position to the Sky Blue's opener. Saulter had taken possession &, deftly turning away from her marker, rolled a pass out to Tinto who pulled the ball back for Hanson to clinically strike through a crowded 6 yard box, seemingly putting the game out of reach for the overwhelmed visitors.
Much to their credit Crewe didn't roll over & looked like they could find a way back into the game after half-time substitute Anne-Marie Atherton's 54th minute goal. Coventry looked a shadow of themselves when they emerged for the second half & Atherton's run caught the Sky Blues cold. An excellent cross-field ball picked out the marauding winger & left her one on one with Rogers who got a hand on the shot but couldn't push it over the bar.
Whilst managing to limit the damage & keep Coventry out, the visitors were unable to create much themselves & as the end of the game approached Coventry began to re-assert their dominance. Katie Singleton was unlucky not to get on the score-sheet as her thunderous effort crashed back off the crossbar, Saulter & Kelly Henson both made the keeper work before Hanson was denied a second by the post.
The convincing win means at the halfway point of the league season Coventry control their own destiny. Derby's 8-0 mauling of East Midlands rivals Leicester keeps the pressure on the Sky Blues at the top of the table though as the Rams sit just one point behind with a game in hand. Coventry play a County Cup quarter final next week but don't have far to go after being drawn away to Coundon Court.
Team: - Rodgers, Wilcox (Cockayne79), Lowe, Henson, Lynch (c), Forbes, Tinto (Formaston 80), Ogle (Singleton 69), Hanson, Saulter, Dermody.
Subs Not Used: - Archibald.
Goals: - Tinto (13), Dermody (20), Hanson (35).
Bookings: - None
Sent Off: - None