Veterans Romy Scheele and Nicole Barber each scored hat tricks en route to a 7-2 St. Marys Chargers drubbing of Southend – a team based out of London – in LAWSL action last Thursday.
Chargers, motivated by their early-season victory over St. Columban, came out firing on all cylinders at the DCVI field, forcing a hard-fought corner within the first minute.
Scheele took the corner low and hard, which took a skip off a defender and into the net for the team’s second goal, courtesy of the own-goal, of the season.
However, that was just the start of the flood as the girls proceeded to slot home three more within the first 15 minutes – Barber’s first on a beautiful cross from Michelle Anderson, Scheele’s second off of a pass from Heather Haanstra, and finally Barber’s second from another Scheele corner.
Southend’s defence had no answer for the Chargers within the first half hour as the team’s high intensity play and creative passing allowed the midfield of Lauren Aarts, Katelyn Bender, Laura Van De Walle, Julia Van De Walle, Heather Haanstra, Eline Haanstra and Scheele the opportunities to create numerous further chances offensively.
However, the high intensity finally started to rear ugly consequences when the Chargers grew tired with 15 minutes to go in the first half forcing the four-man defensive unit of Karen Brinke, Michelle Anderson, Chelsea Coghlin and Alanah Delaney to stifle numerous opportunities that resulted from increased Southend pressure as they found their feet in the match.
Lara Middleton, who showed up ready to play in her usual midfield position, was forced into net, and performed superbly, especially considering such short notice. Middleton aggressive nature and good communication to the backline allowed Chargers to enter the break with a 4-0 lead.
While the girls knew that the game was theirs up to this point, they also knew they couldn’t allow Southend a sniff of the scoresheet for fear of allowing them to build any sort of momentum in the match.
As the second-half whistle blew, it was apparent that St. Marys’ fatigue was still present as the London side was able to keep the ball in the Chargers’ end for the first 10 minutes. This constant pressure was finally too much for the defence as a Southend winger broke down the line and made an incredible shot from the sideline that curled into the far top corner of the net, closing the gap to 4-1.
Revitalized by the loss of the team’s shutout streak, which had reached 145 minutes at that point, the offence went back to work carving out chances.
The combination of Aarts, Laura Van De Walle and Nicole Barber on the left side of the field caused defensive confusion and as they crossed the ball to the right side towards Katelyn Bender and Julia Van De Walle, a Southend defender committed a hand-ball foul within the penalty area. Scheele promptly slotted home the penalty, all but solidifying the result.
The home team’s momentum continued as Michelle Anderson was moved to the front where she utilized her blazing speed to open the field up for the attacking midfielders. This tactic reaped early benefits as Anderson carried the ball to the end line, bringing two defenders with her, and then passing it to a wide open Lauren Aarts whose terrific strike found the far mesh, bringing the tally to a cool six goals.
Not long after, Barber scored the second Chargers hat-trick of the game with another beautiful strike off a corner kick. This tally was the last nail in an already sealed coffin.
The win lifts St. Marys (2-0) to sole possession of second-place, behind the leaders Nairn United, who have played four games versus the Chargers’ two.
“The girls played the best game I have ever seen them play,” said coach Aaron Wybrow. “From start to finish, they played as a team, they moved the ball well, and they were able to put the ball in the net – especially from set pieces.
“Everyone on this team is incredible to work with and coach, and it is a pleasure to watch them play. This is just the start of the season – I can’t wait to see what they do next.”
Chargers continued LAWSL play on Tuesday, June 3 with a trip to the Hellenic Centre in London to face the West End Blues. Home fans are encouraged to come along and cheer on the girls as they continue their incredible level of play.