COVENTRY Ladies moved six points clear at the top of the Women’s Premier League Northern Division thanks to a comfortable 4-0 victory at Stoke City Ladies.
Craig Nicholls’ side made it 20 consecutive wins in all competitions thanks to a brace from Amber Hughes and further goals by Helen Dermody and debutant Danielle Selmes.
The win pushes the Sky Blues six points ahead of Sheffield FC Ladies in second position but the Blades have two games in hand over their rivals.
“It was a good professional performance on a heavy pitch,” said Nicholls. “We created some really good opportunities and were clinical with the four goals.
“It was good for Amber and Helen to continue their goal-scoring form but I’m also very really pleased with Danielle’s debut performance and goal.
“Another clean sheet is also excellent and shows how solid we are and how we have a determination to not concede goals, it’s a testament to our hard work.”
The Sky Blues went into Sunday’s game in confident mood after last weekend’s victory over Oxford to progress in the Women’s FA Cup, where they will meet Stoke in the Fourth Round.
Hughes almost bagged an early goal but her effort was blocked on the line and moments later Ashleigh Neville headed narrowly wide of goal.
With 11 minutes on the clock the hosts took a deserved lead when Hughes barged past her marker before slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
And three minutes later the lead was doubled when Hughes bagged her second with a superb volley which dropped in off the underside of the bar.
The home side continued to threaten before the break and Dermody mate it 3-0 with a sweetly struck free kick from 30 yards out to put the Sky Blues firmly in control.
Stoke rarely threatened in the opening period but improved after the break however Sue Wood was alert to any danger.
And shortly after the hour mark the result was put beyond any doubt after Hughes turned provider to set up Selmes who headed home for her first goal for the club.
The work rate and grit of the hosts made it difficult for Stoke to break them down as they searched for a consolation goal.
A superb move allowed the home side to create another chance as the clock approached 90 minutes. An excellent lofted pass from Maz Gauntlett released Neville down the left and she drilled the ball across the face of goal but striker Destiney Toussaint could not quite connect with the ball properly.
Helen Dermody looks to win a header. (s) Photo by Clive Jones