Bangor City Ladies 3 Runcorn Linnets Ladies 9

Lile Ashley delivered the perfect response to manager John Pickering's call for greater consistency in her performances with a hat-trick to take her pre-season tally to seven goals in four games.

Having flitted in and out last season, the young striker also provided four assists as Player of the Match in Sunday's friendly.

Despite the scoreline, praise has to be given to Bangor who pushed the Linnets hard all the way to the final whistle in Sunday's friendly, writes Neil Philip Thornton.

Ashley opened the scoring in the very first minute, taking advantage of confusion in the hosts' defence.

Almost immediately, it was two as Kim Roberts ghosted in unmarked to head home from an Ashley corner with less than two minutes on the clock.

That became three after 14 minutes as Chelsea Gillies scored from another Linnets set piece, corners in particular giving the home side problems throughout the first half.

This caused a bit of complacency among the Linnets ranks. Sensing the proverbial "cricket score" they let their guard down as Bangor pulled a goal back on 16 minutes.

Great work by Chelsea Gillies, following up on her own shot, gave Lile Ashley her second on 24th minutes. Becky Barker added a fifth in which Ashley was again instrumental.

On 38 minutes, the Gillies to Ashley partnership struck again as the young centre forward completed her hat-trick in fine style.

But Bangor were not done by any means, hitting the bar on 39 minutes before pulling a goal back in the 41st.

Manager John Pickering shuffled his pack at half-time, also bringing on young striker Aimee Dobinson for defender Mary Rossiter-Gurrell.

Bangor came out for the second half to immediately play a more intense, pressing game and subdue the Linnets' play.

This was rewarded with a third goal on 68 minutes but this was just the kick up the backside Runcorn needed as Dobinson broke away in the 71st and 81st minutes to secure her first goals in a Linnets shirt.

And saving the best to last, centre half Jo Finnegan waded in with a tremendous shot from the edge of the box to beat the home 'keeper in the 87th minute.

New signing Caitlin Gibbons, another young player, has responded well to her manager's advice in her first two games, while Lucy Wieland's work on the wings will surely reap more goals soon for the exciting player

Boss Pickering also praised the senior players for the encouragement they are giving to the younger players.

Gabby Evans made the trip after being out for seven months with a knee injury, This followed a return earlier in the week for Katie McNamara, back after breaking a wrist five minutes into her debut in June.

Beccie Woods-Hughes got in more minutes to help her recovery from an horrendous broken leg and with Tempany Carlson, new goalkeeper Alicia Mason and midfielder Chelsea Wharton due back, things are moving along nicely for the Ladies.

Preparations continue this Wednesday (Aug 23rd) at Cammell Laird in another pre-season friendly.

Runcorn Linnets Ladies: Pickering, Rossiter-Gurrell, (Dobinson 45), Finnegan, Hyland (Rossiter-Gurrell 67), Gibbons, Barker, Kennedy, Gillies, Roberts, Ashley, (B Woods-Hughes 67), Wieland.