TOP of the table Kendal Ladies put out a reshuffled squad which rose to the challenge against Didsbury in the Northern West 2 match at Queen Katherine School on Saturday and emerged with a 4-0 win.

Because of unavailability Kendal started without a couple of their regular play-making players, but it gave others in the squad the chance to shine.

Watched by a large following, they slotted in well in what was a fairly even, well-contested game against their competitive Manchester visitors.

There was pleasing movement and good link play as the Kendal side moved up the pitch together well on the difficult pitch, still hard underneath after the cold weather and with plenty of lifted ball about.

Right wing Kirsty Ormrod opened Kendal’s account from a well-worked move when she was well placed to find the net and just before half time Sarah Brooks dabbed one expertly in from a bit of a close-range scramble as Didsbury came under pressure .

The visitors responded by pushing up in numbers, trying to force errors, but despite a lot of ball they could not get on to the scoresheet.

Instead Kendal consolidated with further goals from Lou Whiteley, who showed poise to push her shot past the on-coming keeper and also player of the match Nicola Conway, who finished well for a deserved goal after going close several times.

A busy weekend lies ahead for Kendal with back-to-back feeder league games on Sunday and Sunday away to Chester and home to Crewe respectively.

* ADVERSE weather forced Kirkby Stephen to go into a tough Northern Women’s West 2 double header without any practice but they emerged with a 1-1 draw against Sale and a 4-3 victory over Chester.

Mel Earl’s graceful reverse-sweep strike after two minutes gave visitors Sales a rude awakening, but home keeper Nicky Longworth had to be on her toes afterwards, making important saves.

Sale eventually got the equaliser but Kirkby remained resilient if unable to take advantage of their penalty-corner chances.

Trying to shake off their weariness against Chester on Sunday, a Claire Smithson strike gave them the perfect start only for Kirkby to slip 2-1 behind by the break. Regrouping at the break, a much better second-half display followed to edge victory at 4-3 with goals from Jen Sayer and Debbie Barr, who scored twice including a penalty.

BARROW travelled to Ambleside in the Cumbria League with only a team of ten - three of them Windermere players making up numbers.

Despite being a player down, Barrow played well and took a first-half lead when a reverse-stick strike flew past Ambleside stand-in keeper Amanda Faulkner.

A goal-line save from Val Nicholls prevented Ambleside from falling further behind and the visitors levelled the scores when a Chelsea Daley strike from a penalty corner was deflected in by a Barrow defender.

Ambleside had a number of chances thwarted in the second half. A sweet Sheelagh Newell strike from a penalty corner drew a good save and tireless Donna Robinson saw a strong strike stopped by the keeper’s oustretched leg.

Ambleside should have had a penalty flick when the Barrow keeper lay on the ball, denying a certain goal. The draw leaves Ambleside in second place on level terms with Penrith, whom they play this week.