Northampton Town Women won 4-2 against Sutton Coldfield Town in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands at Sixfields Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Jade Bell scored a hat-trick whilst Alex Dicks scored the Cobblers’ other goal in front of 741 supporters.
Joint-managers Josh Oldfield and Liam Williams made one change to the side that defeated divisional rivals Leek Town in the FAWNL Plate first round last week, as Katie McLean replaced Holly Mayfield in goal.
The Cobblers made a positive start with a free-flowing passing move almost resulting in an early opener.
However, they were under pressure at the other end a few minutes later with Vicky Barrett blocking Sutton Coldfield captain Chloe Evans’ shot from the edge.
The visitors took the lead from the resulting corner, Chloe Finn converting Chloe Handy’s set-piece.
McLean caught Lois Jefferies’ curled effort from the edge of the box as Sutton Coldfield looked to double their advantage on the quarter-of-an-hour mark.
They did just that within a minute as Jefferies sprinted onto Finn’s through ball and dinked over McLean.
The Cobblers needed to respond, and they managed to improve as the half went on. TJ Warren headed Mia Richards’ deep corner into the side-netting as they threatened shortly after conceding the second goal.
Bell found the bottom corner one-on-one to halve the deficit midway through the opening period, and first-half substitute Dicks made an instant impact by tapping Bell’s low ball across goal in at the far post to equalise on the stroke of half-time.
Both Cobblers goals came either side of an important McLean save, the ‘keeper denying Jefferies as she broke through.
The hosts controlled the second half and almost turned the game on its head on the hour when Dicks controlled Richards’ low corner on the edge of the area and curled a strike off the inside of the post.
Bell put the Cobblers ahead for the first time in the contest going into the final 10 minutes, sprinting past the last defender, staying on her feet despite having her shirt pulled and slotting into the bottom corner.
The forward fired low across goal from Dicks’ lay-off to complete her hat-trick and seal all three points with three minutes of normal time remaining.
The Cobblers host recently-relegated Boldmere St. Michaels in their second midweek fixture of the season on Thursday. Kick-off at Fernie Fields Sports Ground is at 7:45pm, and tickets are available at ntfcdirect.co.uk and on the gate.
Cobblers: Katie McLean, Paige Ridley, TJ Warren, Vicky Barrett, Ruby Heselden, Zoe Boote, Annie Villamartin, Mia Richards, Fay Noble, Kim Farrow, Jade Bell
Substitutes: Holly Mayfield, Bianca Luttman, Rhea Patel, Alex Dicks, Ona Ndefo