Connors Nets Hat Trick As Lions March Onwards

Lions FC          7 (Connors 56′, 62′, 65′; Clough 60′, 90′; Riding 73′; Ryan (OG) 74′)

The Gap FC     0

HT 0-0


Six goals in 18 second-half minutes which starred a nine-minute hat trick for Shea Connors, saw the Lionesses run rampant over The Gap FC with a 7-0 success at Lions Stadium on Friday evening.

A goalless first half was largely dominated by the hosts as chances were few and far between.

Connors thought she’d opened the scoring as early as the 6th minute only to be denied by a raised flag for offside after finding the back of the net from Cannon Clough’s ball into the box.

Later in the half, Amy Gunston was desperately unlucky not to open the scoring. Georgia Rink’s cross met by Gunston’s header which skimmed the underside bar and hit the post before bouncing harmlessly away.

Lions Coach Rob Askew made two changes at the break with Teagan Thompson and Megan Price replacing Rink and Tara O’Keeffe. The changes seemed to spark the home side into life and the deadlock was finally broken on 56 minutes when Connors floated an effort to the far post which caught Gap stopper Zoe Ryan a few yards off her line. The ball drifting in over her head and nestling into the far side of the goal.

The lead was doubled on the hour. A corner played in was met by the knee of Clough with the ball again looping high over Ryan and into the goal.

Connors then struck twice in three minutes to secure her second hat trick in as many games. Her second of the night coming from fellow American Clough’s cross to the penalty spot where Connors was on hand to fire home with a powerful finish.

Connors hat trick arrived soon after when Thompson did well to steal the ball from her opponent, make her way to the byeline and cut the ball back for the Lions striker to guide home from close range.

The hosts added their fifth and sixth goals in the 73rd and 74th minutes.

Mariel Hecher touching a ball inside for Tegan Riding who spectacularly lobbed the ball high towards goal from 20 yards out. Ryan could only back peddle as the ball dropped just under the bar leaving the Gap stopper helpless.

Ryan was then guilty of gifting Lions sixth. Substitute Rebecca Kirkup crossing the ball in too close to the goal only for Ryan to punch the ball into her own goal when attempting to clear.

The hosts had further chances to add to their tally as they continued to dominate the Gators.

Riding was put through one on one with less than 10 minutes remaining but Ryan was able to get a touch on Riding’s shot to deflect the ball just wide.

Connors thought she’d added a fourth to her name to once again be denied by the offside flag from the Assistant Referee. This time she may have felt hard done by with a Gap defender making a touch on the ball as it was played through.

Riding headed over minutes later from a Connors cross before Clough wrapped up the scoring at the death when heading home from another Lions corner.

Connors hat trick moves her to 17 league goals for the season as she leads the golden boot race in the NPLW. A very impressive return from her 8 games this season.

Next up for the Lionesses is a trip to high flying Brisbane City next Saturday.

Team line-ups:

Lions FC:

Majstorovic (gk), McQueen, Clough, McQueen, Ward, Hecher, Riding, Connors, O’Keeffe, Gunston, Westland, Rink.

Subs: Shuttleworth (rgk), Thompson, Kirkup, Price.

The Gap FC:

Ryan (gk), Wallace, Cybulski, Stephenson, Amajouyi, Beaumont, Lay, Liell-Cock, Palmer, Persson, Allen.

Subs: Roach, Calvert, Moy, Foster, Eason-Coutts, Tallon.

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