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Barnet 4 Colchester Utd 0
Barnet opened their Premier League Cup campaign with a comfortable 4-0 win over Southern Division opponents Colchester United at Hanwell.
An excellent first half hat-trick by Holly Sandow settled the opening group game in the Bees' favour against a U's side reinforced by loan players Emma Sherwood, Sian Larkin and Welsh international Kylie Davies. Colchester played a full part in an entertaining match, creating a number of good opportunities throughout, but could not cope with Sandow's pace and direct running and the precision service of the Barnet midfield.
In keeping with the attacking nature of the game, the visitors fashioned the first chance with a flowing move in the second minute which ended with Larkin drawing a fine save from Cherie Rowlands. Barnet then hit the bar with a Jess Trimnell header from a Cheryl Williams corner before Sandow netted from the next precision delivery after eight minutes.
The former Newquay and Bath City striker turned provider on the right, setting up Trimnell for a shot. Sherwood went close to equalising before Sandow,
beating the offside trap, rounded Nikita Runnacles and finished from a narrow angle to double the lead on 30 minutes.
Only an acrobatic save by Runnacles stopped Sandow from immediately increasing the lead when clean through. It was not until added time that Sandow completed her hat-trick with a low shot after shrugging off the last defender .There was still time for Larkin to go close to reducing the lead with a powerful shot which Rowlands pushed away with difficulty.
The visitors started the second half with real urgency and almost pulled a goal back when Larkin tested Rowlands again from distance and then Flo Gamby drove a fine 25-yard strike against the bar on 55 minutes. Helen Bass then failed to finish when a defensive mix up left her with clear shot from 25 yards.
Barnet responded by bringing on record scorer Stacey Sowden and she was a constant danger to the Colchester defence for the rest of the match. Runnacles allowed a 30-yard shot from Alex Keown to slip through her fingers on 72 minutes for Barnet's fourth but made a series of fine saves as Barnet finished strongly. The U's keeper denied Sowden twice with diving saves, pushed away a Williams drive and finished with a typically brave point blank block at a corner which cost her a blow to the face.
Barnet played really well throughout and deserved the win, with flowing passing movements and Williams and Kate Holmes pulling the midfield strings with great effect. Colchester were able to threaten the Barnet goal throughout and their young home grown players showed a lot of promise. They will surely get better as their new players bed in and, best of all for the Essex club, they are still in contention in the League Cup as the group format gives them two more matches to contest against Queen's Park Rangers and West Ham Utd.
Barnet: Cherie Rowlands, Alex Keown, Dee Smith, Kate Holmes, Leanne Reidy, Gemma Rudman, Katie O'Leary, Abbie Prosser, Holly Sandow, Jess Trimnell, Cheryl Williams. Subs: Zoe Lance, Sally Wade, Becky Hipgrave, Stacey Sowden.
Colchester Utd: Nikita Runnacles, Hayley West, Kat Parnell, Kylie Davies, Hannah Porter, Amelia Southgate, Emma Sherwood, Sian Larkin, Helen Bass, Maegen Doyle, Flo Gamby. Subs: Emily Heaslip, Lilly Mellors, Alex Shepherd.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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