Gornal 1 Stourbridge Ladies 4
By Richard Clark
The Glassgirls produced a superb performance to stun local rivals Gornal at Mile Flat.
Dani Ranger struck twice, with Amy Botfish and Jo Smith (pictured) also on target as Stour took the game to their second-placed opponents, whilst the home side could only muster a late consolation as the Glassgirls back-line stifled them at every turn.
Botfish went close twice in the early stages with shots off target, with Gornal's keeper saving a free kick from Smith low down at her near post. At the other end, Paige Bennett was out smartly to save with her legs from former Stour striker Sarah Lojko as she took advantage of a rare lapse to chase onto a through ball.
Stour took a deserved lead with 18 minutes played as Ranger nipped behind the home defence, rounding Gornal keeper Flori Buioca before steadying herself and firing into the unguarded net.
As the game opened up, both keepers were called into action again. Bennett again using her legs to good effect before Buioca did likewise to divert another Ranger effort away from goal.
With the interval approaching, Gornal began to exert pressure and Bennett had to be agile to tip a shot wide, with Charley Callear clearing off the line from the resulting corner.
Stour thought they had a second goal just before the break when Stacey Barbaccia's shot was tipped onto the post by Buioca before she grabbed the ball as the Glassgirls appealed that it had crossed the line but the officials deemed that Buioca had done enough and Stour had to make do with a single-goal lead as the teams turned round.
But the second half was only a few minutes old before Stour did have a second. Ranger battled for the ball in the six yard box and somehow managed to squeeze it past Buioca, possibly with the help of a touch from a defender.
And it was three very soon afterwards as Botfish maintained her record of scoring in every game since signing with a stunning lob on the turn from 30 yards that dipped and flew into the top corner.
Stour were now in control, and Buioca did well to save from her feet as Botfish looked to add a fourth from close range. The home side were largely limited to breaks as they tried to chase the game, but centre-backs Dani Norton and Callear dealt with everything thrown at them, whilst Bennett did well to push as hot from Rachel Letford wide of the post.
The Glassgirls grabbed a fourth goal, and effectively sealed the match, fifteen minutes from time as Smith seized on a loose ball in midfield to try a speculative effort which crept past Buioca and into the bottom corner from fully 40 yards.
Letford had another sight of goal only to fire well wide, and Bennett saved well at the second attempt from Lojko's free kick, before Letford finally netted a consolation in added time, firing home a cross at the far post.
Stour move up to fourth as a result of the win.