Emily Ridge faces a big call after her final heroics
The New Saints Ladies goalscoring legend Emily Ridge admits she may have to reconsider retirement after ending the season with a hat-trick to help the Saints win the Tom Farmer Cup.
The 27-year-old forward and record appearance holder for TNS Ladies, led the way as Lawrence Wilson’s side routed Shifnal Town Ladies 9-1 at Shrewsbury Town’s Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Ridge, who joined the club in 2008, has bagged 15 goals this season from just 20 starts to add to her goal haul from over the last decade.
Kim Bebbington, Laura Morris and Laura Pennington added to the handsome win with braces of their own.
But after her hat-trick display, the striker admitted she had been thinking about hanging up her boots – but may be persuaded to stay on after more heroics in front of goal.
“It’s been an up and down season, but we always like to have fun and win the County Cup to end the season on a high,” said Ridge.
“I’ve not had the best season for scoring, but I’m getting a bit old now! I thought it was going to be my last season then you go and have a game like that and you think ‘Have I got one more season in me?’
“I don’t know. The main thing is the team got the win. I’m so happy for the girls.
“Loz was here last year and I think he learned a lot from former boss Andy Williams. He’s done a really, really good job here. We’re all learning together.”
Boss Wilson, in his first season in charge at the Park Hall club in Oswestry, admitted his side began by showing signs of nerves at the home of Shrewsbury Town but quickly settled into their grove after Kim Bebbington’s opener.
The Saints finished eighth from 11 teams in the National League Division One Midlands table.
But their dominance of the County Cup shows no signs of easing with an 11th success continuing the recent tradition after Wilson took the reins from former boss Williams.
Wilson said: “It was a very good game. The girls started off a bit nervous but once we got the first goal it all clicked.
“To score nine goals, I can’t fault it. It’s a great result for us. I call Kim the Dave Edwards of the team. She always pops up with a goal! It just settled our nerves.
“It’s been hard work from the girls this season. I cannot fault any of them. They’ve given 100 per cent, that’s what I wanted.
“They can go celebrate, enjoy themselves for six weeks and then back for pre-season in June!
“I’m elated for the team, not just the players, I thank all my coaching staff. I appreciate everyone’s help.”
Saints were 4-0 up inside 27 minutes and looked set to go into the break 6-0 to the good but Jenna Boddison managed to pull one back on the stroke of half-time.
Ridge completed her treble to take home the match ball just after the break before further efforts from Bebbington and Pennington wrapped up an impressive final success.