If ever there was a way to sign off a memorable historic year for The Lady Mags this was it. A special performance from not just a special set of players but also their excellent backroom support staff and management.
Head Coach Becky Langley had talked before the game about how her she sets new priorities every week for her charges and every week her ambitions are just to win the next game. She certainly got that and so much more with this powerhouse performance.
Flashback a week and perhaps one of only two blots on the 12-month landscape was a heavy but justly undeserved 5 – 1 home defeat at the hands of Wolves Ladies in the Vitality FA Cup 3rd round.
For 45 minutes Langley’s side matched a side comfortably top of the division above them, a division this Newcastle side are striving to join. The second half was perhaps a lesson on how much further they still have to go. But it was a massive learning opportunity.
Would confidence be affected? Did doubt creep in? Not a bit of it in what was a clinical display of hard-nosed professionalism for a side who are aiming for exactly that.
When you consider The Lasses kicked-off the calendar year with a 10 – 0 demolition of FC United of Manchester and ended it with a 9 – 0 battering of Merseyrail it’s easy to see why many see this as a team going places.
Also back in January they lost a third round FA Cup tie against higher league Ipswich Town in front of a then record crowd of just over 2,700 as they turned out at Kingston Park for the first time.
A record that did not stand long as 22,134 poured into St James Park in May to see The Lady Mags defeat Alnwick 4 – 0 only to have that smashed last month with an incredible 28, 565 last month against Barnsley in the FA Cup 2nd round tie.
Even on Sunday in freezing cold conditions and with the small matter of a FIFA Men’s World Cup Final as a distraction they still pulled 363 fans. It might not sound much but given the day and circumstances it still smashed all the other crowds in the division that day.
As to the match itself. Well, it’s far to say Merseyrail came with a game plan that was virtually extinguished on 30 minutes and completely snuffed out on 40. Ellie Dobson heading the first goal home and Kacie Elson smashing in the second after a great run.
Elson added a second just before half-time and The Lasses trooped off three goals to good. Would they settle and see out the rest of the game? No was the emphatic answer. With Georgia Gibson pulling the strings Newcastle really went to work in the second 45.
The tireless and fearless Lasses No. 9 Katie Barker returned to scoring ways in superb fashion netting a hat-trick, Dobson grabbed a second and the magnificent Charlotte Potts nodded in another.
The scoring was completed by substitute Lauren Robson as United saw out the game and the year very much on cloud nine. I mentioned only two blots. Langley might disagree with me and think there have been more.
But you’ll have ups and downs in any season and the only other blot for me was not getting the automatic promotion place at the end of last season although no-one can criticise or complain with the amount of effort that went in.
So, will it be promotion come May of 2023. One thing is for certain these Lasses and everyone connected with them and that includes their fantastic fan base will leave no stone unturned in the search for progression.