Port Vale Ladies enjoyed a convincing victory on Sunday, hammering Sutton Ladies FC 6-0 with a hat-trick from Meg Baldwin.
The win was the Vale’s first in the league this season. Having started the campaign with a bang with convincing FA Cup wins over Lye Town and Knowle FC, they have been frustrated in the West Midlands Regional League with nine defeats from nine in their Division One North campaign.
Their Sutton Coldfield-based opponents also looking for their first league points but Mollie Garner put Vale in front on five minutes before Baldwin netted her first two minutes later in the game at Bentilee’s Discovery Academy.
Nat Barrington added a third, on 16 minutes, before Kim Cartlidge put the Vale in total commend on 22.
Baldwin then completed the convincing victory with goals on 82 and 90 minutes to clinch her hat-trick.
Joint-manager Ash Thompson, who took over with Dave Wright in the summer, said: “This could have been a banana skin for us had we not gone into the game with the right attitude.
“The way we looked at it is we were both on zero points so it could have gone either way. But to be 2-0 up after ten minutes settled us down. Conditions weren’t easy with the strong wind but we did what we had to do.
“That win’s been coming because there have been a few games we have lost by the odd goal which we didn’t deserve to lose.
“So, it does get harder as that goes on and you do put more pressure on yourselves. But being 4-0 up by half time eased a lot of pressure and we were able to give a few of the girls a run out.
“We are putting the foundations down for next season.
“If anyone goes down this year it will be the bottom side so that win was big for us. We play them again at their place a week on Sunday.”
Baldwin takes the headlines for her hat-trick but Thompson was pleased with the all-round team performance.
He said: “Meg’s played for me for a few years, from when I was at Stone. She took her goals well, showing quality and confidence but the front three ( Baldwin, Cartlidge, Garner) played well and all scored.
“We were also really pleased to keep a clean sheet, that’s a massive lift for us.”
The Vale are due to play Sandwell at home this Sunday. The team, who usually play their home games at Community Drive, Norton, or Dimensions, will confirm venue and kick off time closer to the game.
Port Vale: Ellie Walchester, Paige Williams, Hayley Mason, Dani Howard, Simone Kelsall, Julia Kendrick (Cap), Nat Barrington, Shannis Stanley (Charlotte Glover, 33), Meg Baldwin, Kim Cartlidge, Mollie Garner.
Subs: Sarah Kerfoot, Macey Williams, Olivia Brookes, Nat Pagett.