Welsh Women’s Premier League

Caldicot Town Ladies 1 Rhyl Ladies 5

NOBODY said life in the Premier League would be easy but, in the first 20 minutes, Caldicot Town Ladies looked to have little to be worried about, writes Bob Cypher.

In that opening spell, Town showed they have the skill and the players who can compete in this league, provided they put their chances away.

The fact that they didn’t take their chances was not lost on Rhyl, who narrowly escaped relegation last season.

Having survived the early pressure without conceding, the visitors asserted themselves and began to mount serious raids on Town’s goal.

Their own keeper had kept the score level, tipping a free kick heading for the top left corner around a post, and Rhyl looked a bit shaky at the back.

But then two goals before the break put them in the driving seat and Town were always playing catch-up.

After the break, and with Amy Sims at centre back replacing Shauna Pentney who was moved into midfield, the opening exchanges looked promising.

Town spent more time in the opposition’s half but the Rhyl manager urged his wingers forward and some trickery on the right produced the visitors’ third goal, closely followed by the fourth.

With the points virtually in the bag, Rhyl sent on a tall substitute who headed the fifth and they celebrated as if they had just won the league.

Shauna Pentney grabbed Town’s consolation, spotting the keeper off her line and scoring from just inside the opposition’s half.

Manager Luke Harris has always conceded that the Premier League will be no walk in the park, but he wondered if the occasion had got to his players.

“It was a frustrating start to the season,” he said.

“The first 20 minutes looked more than comfortable for us, completely controlling the game.

“But I’m not sure if it was the occasion that set in on us, or our fitness, but we took our foot off the gas and allowed them to start taking control.”

Now Harris and his assistant Ross Edwards will need to get the players settled and confident ahead of the next game when they travel to take on current Premier League champions Swansea on Sunday.

They will have two weeks off before welcoming Cardiff Met to Jubilee Park on September 24th. .

Harris will have some extra information on the Met players after eight of them played against Town’s development squad on the 3G pitch at Caldicot Leisure Centre.

After watching his team well beaten in a one-sided match, manager Gareth Crispin said it was a very disappointing start to the season.

“Despite losing heavily, players showed great character and resilience throughout the match against a team containing eight first team players.

“We’ll put that one behind us and it’s onwards and upwards from here."