Lions FC 8 (Hecher 9′, 44′, 51′; Connors 12′, 35′, 52′; Kirkup 72′; Gunston 85′)
Hat tricks apiece for Mariel Hecher and Shea Connors helped Lions comfortably account for QAS at Lions Stadium on Saturday evening as their march towards the NPLW title continues and in the process, recording their eighth straight clean sheet from eight consecutive victories in all competitions.
Hecher netted the opener inside the first 10 minutes when simply tapping in from close range from Connors run and cross from the right.
Connors doubled the lead a couple of minutes later when she picked up on a ball played into the box, beat her defender and finished neatly beyond QAS keeper Mia Bailey.
The visitors almost pinched one back a moment later though when Julianne Cruz forced a superb save from Coco Majstorovic as the Lions keeper was called into action and prevent a first goal against the hosts in seven league encounters.
A long-range free-kick saw Hecher fire just over the bar with the ball landing on the roof of the net before she turned provider for Connors on 35 minutes, playing the ball through for the Lions striker who cut back in on her opponent and curled a superb right-footed strike inside the far post.
The game was all but finished off close to the end of the first half when Lions won the ball off the QAS midfield with Megan Price then playing Hecher in on goal. The Brazilian made no mistake as she tucked the ball under Bailey to make it 4-0 going into the break.
Hecher notched up her second hat trick of the season on 51 minutes with a sublime long-range free-kick that floated over Bailey and into the back of the net and Connors secured a fifth hat trick and her 26th goal of the campaign less than a minute later when latching onto a through ball and calmly sliding the ball home.
Hecher almost grabbed a fourth goal soon after but was denied by a superb save from Bailey and midway through the half, both Amy Gunston and Rebecca Kirkup were guilty of missing a glorious chance each to extend the lead.
Kirkup made up for her missed opportunity though when she met Teagan Thompson’s cross on 72 minutes, firing in from some 8 yards out.
With QAS on the back foot for the majority of the half, the Lionesses went in search of more goals to add to their already impressive tally for 2021.
Captain Cannon Clough was desperately unlucky not to add her name to the scoresheet when hitting the underside of the bar from some 30 yards out. The ball bouncing the wrong side of the goal line before getting cleared away.
The scoring was rounded out with five minutes remaining when substitute Gunston swung a boot at a loose ball from a Lions corner that QAS had failed to clear, managing to guide in gently passed Bailey as it limped across the line to bring up Lions eighth on the night.
It proved to be yet another straight forward outcome for the hosts who now sit 10 points ahead of their opponents in next weekend’s fixture when the Lionesses head to the synthetic pitch at Wakerley Park to face Souths United.
Majstorovic (gk), Clough, McQueen, Thompson, Rink, Connors, Price, Hecher, Connors, Westland, O’Keeffe.
Subs: Shuttleworth (rgk), Teakle, Riding, Arendse, Gunston, Ward.
Bailey (gk), Fogarty, Vester, Gett, Taylor, Cruz, Cox, Utatao, Levin, Nielsen, Davem.
Subs: Burton (rgk), O’Donaghue, O’Grady, Hutchinson-Mitchell, Dennis.
Referee: Butrus Haidar