Harrogate Town Girls U16s returned to league action for the first time in 2021 with a resounding win against Horsforth St Margarets.The weather was glorious with bright sunshine bathing Grange Park which further enhanced the sense of hope and excitement as grassroots football emerged out of lockdown.
After months of not being able to play together, Town exploded out of the blocks as Liv Johnson scored after just 54 seconds.
Horsforth came back strongly into the game but the Town defence stood strong and Town doubled their lead on 20 minutes, Niamh Tyssen's through ball finished with aplomb by Eva Jenkins.
It was soon three as Ciara Streatfield hooked in a cross from the byline which was volleyed home at close range by Jenkins.
Lucy Taylor, who had an excellent game, thought she had scored when a powerful strike which hit the underside of the bar and bounced down. It looked more of a goal than Geoff Hurst in 1966 but the referee waved play on.
With a full substitutes bench Manager Nic Streatfield made regular changes to help build up squad fitness. The changes did not affect the direction of the game though. Jenkins completing her hat trick from an assist by Maddie Ashby before Tyssen made it five, running on to a beautiful ball from the back from Robyn McKendrick.
Having been foiled a few times by Horsforth SM's excellent goalkeeper Lydia Corner got her reward with a fine strike nestling in the top corner.
Liv Johnson finished what she started with a powerful low strike from outside the area to wrap up a 7-0 victory.
The Horsforth team never gave up though and worked tirelessly forcing Town goalkeeper Taia Port into a couple of important saves, though it was Maddie Dennis who picked up the player of the match award.
Town U16s - Taia Port, Maddie Ashby, Lily Pritchard, Natasha Abbott, Olivia Delaney, Millie Watson, Lydia Corner, Bella Devereux, Liv Johnson, Eva Jenkins, Niamh Tyssen
Subs - Ciara Streatfield, Gabi Hall, Hannah McHugh, Robyn McKendrick, Maddie Dennis, Lucy Taylor
With their league season curtailed, it was an unhappy return to action for Bob Wilkinson's side who were defeated 3-0 by Altofts in their first of four friendly matches.
A trip to Hull United next Sunday provides another chance to regain match fitness and get back into the swing of things.