COVENTRY United Ladies got their new year off to the best possible start after putting on an eleven-star show to defeat Premier League Southern Division basement side Plymouth Argyle.
Ashleigh Neville scored four and Helen Dermody bagged a hat-trick as Coventry ran riot at Packington Lane to record a convincing 11-0 win on Sunday in what was a truly professional footballing display.
Neville returned to the side after missing out on United’s 4-0 victory over Forest Green Rovers and started the avalanche after 18 minutes when she finished off a free-kick from Dermody.
Nikki Miles headed home another Dermody free-kick, before Neville then controlled an Annabel Johnson cross before turning away from her marker and firing a close range drive into the top left-hand corner.
In a rare forward foray, Plymouth threatened through Danielle Salt’s long-range attempt but there was worse to come for the visitors.
Three goals up by half-time, Michael Foy’s troops stepped up several gears after the break, with Neville tapping in her third from Dermody’s corner.
By finishing off Hughes’ assist on 56 minutes, Dermody continued her consistent sequence of scoring in the 2015/16 campaign.
Neville completed her scoring midway through the second half, while Maz Gauntlett was next to get in on the act with her sixth goal in the league, after collecting a clever ball over the top.
With 15 minutes remaining, Dermody struck her hat-trick with two goals in quick succession, with Hughes’ shot then ensuring a new landmark for Coventry United by taking the score into double figures for the first time in the club’s Premier League history.
There was still time for Hughes to apply the coup de grace with almost two minutes left on the clock to ensure a great start to 2016.
“We’re still buzzing with the result,” said skipper Natasha Lynch. “It was down to the desire shown by everyone involved with the club to go and show the rest of the league that we are here to challenge for that top spot.
“After the Christmas break everyone was eager to get back to business and really kick on with the second half of the season and on Sunday we were clinical in front of goal and kept it solid at the back when needed.”
With no other games in the Premier League South Coventry climb up to third with an eleven-point gap to close on leaders Brighton & Hove Albion. Foy’s side will seek the same response against C&K Basilidon in the FA Cup this Sunday.