ALICE Belcher’s hat-trick helped Knowle Ladies claim a sensational 5-0 win against previously unbeaten Leamington Lions to move top of the West Midlands Regional Women’s Football League Division One South.
Belcher doubled Knowle’s lead before then adding her side’s third and fifth goals with Poppy Wheatstone also netting twice in a huge win for the home side.
The result means Knowle sit top of the league – one point clear of Leamington – having won five of their six matches so far this season.
And the Robins stamped their authority on the game after just six minutes when Wheatstone fired them into the lead from Annie Stanway’s through ball.
Knowle quickly doubled their advantage when Belcher grabbed her first of the game from close range after Natalie Gibson’s long range free-kick bounced off the underside of the crossbar.
And Belcher soon had her second of the afternoon when she played a neat one-two with Jess Barlow on the edge of the penalty area drilling her shot across the keeper and into the net.
The home side then scored their fourth goal when Wheatstone robbed a Lions defender high up the pitch before slamming an unstoppable effort into the goal from a tight angle.
And Wheatstone spurned a glorious chance to complete her hat-trick in the second period after Belcher beat three defenders before squaring to Wheatstone who was unable to make clean contact with the ball.
The visitors were much-improved in the second-half and were denied a goal when Knowle goalkeeper Katy Smirthwaite made a smart save low down to her right to keep the host’s clean sheet intact.
Belcher completed the scoring – and her hat-trick – when some fine work from Emma Shaw fed Gibson who in-turn picked out Belcher who raced through and found the top-right corner from 12-yards out.
Knowle Ladies are in FA Cup action this weekend when they travel to Netherton United – appearing in the first round proper for the first time in the club’s history.