Burton Albion Ladies claimed their first three points of 2018 with an emphatic 6-0 victory over Rotherham United.
A hat trick from Jordan Atkin, a Jemma Grimadell brace and a goal from Lily Cocking rounded off an impressive performance.
Emma White, Demi Greenan and Yasmin Harris returned to the first team, while Amy Parkes made her debut for the Brewers.
The attacking midfielder was involved in the action from the off as she collected a pass from Grimadell. She tried to play it over the top to Atkin but it was just too heavy.
The Brewers began to take control of the game, attacking in waves, and they reaped their rewards in the 15th minute.
Grimadell got her first of the calendar year with a low drive into the bottom right corner and just three minutes later had one disallowed in a carbon copy move.
However, the chance to double Burton’s advantage came when top goal scorer Jordan Atkin rolled the ball past the ‘keeper in a smooth counter attack by the hosts.
They were forced into an early substitution when White – who had been controlling the middle of the park, as the holding midfielder – got injured on the half hour mark.
The Brewers went into the half time break two goals to the good, having had a handful of opportunities to extend their lead through Harris and Atkin.
They continued to press the Rotherham defence as there were chances for debutant Parkes, Harris and O’Connor to gain a three-goal advantage, but it wasn’t until a double substitution from manager Jack White that the goals flooded in.
Lily Cocking – who had only been on the field of play for seven minutes – bagged her first goal for the senior team. It fell kindly to her in the box and without hesitation, she sweetly struck an effort which buried past the ‘keeper.
Two minutes later Grimadell added a fourth. Hayleigh Sutton’s corner caused confusion in the box, leaving the ball to fall for Atkin who tried her luck. Two deflections later, it dropped into the path of Grimadell who made no mistake, poking it beyond the helpless goalkeeper.
After having a tough start to 2018, without having scored a goal, the Brewers found their free-flowing football and enjoyed the afternoon – along with Atkin who went on to complete her hat trick in the last 15 minutes.
White said following the game: “It was a good performance from all of our players and we thoroughly deserved the win. Recent results have been going against us but I thought that we played well at times in those matches despite the final outcome. Morale within the squad has always remained high and the attitude at training has been first class. It was only a matter of time before we got a result like today’s.
“Bringing in players like Amy Parkes, Emma White and Hannah Baines has increased the quality within the squad and it’s been nice to see all the other players working hard to raise the overall standard. I’ve said from day one that we’re happy to give youth players a chance in the team if we feel that they’re ready, so I am very pleased that Lily Cocking has come in today and scored.
“But it’s not just about the players I mentioned. All of the 14 players we used today should be very proud of themselves and I assure you that they are looking forward to next week’s match already.”
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