Nottingham Forest advanced into the FAWNL League Cup on Sunday afternoon as they put on an impressive display against The New Saints.
Katie Middleton's hat-trick secured for The Reds in Wales as they continued their unbeaten start to the season and kept their third consecutive clean sheet at the beginning of the campaign.
Middleton bagged her first goal of the afternoon on 13 minutes after some great work by Viktoria Adam. Kelly Darby played a long ball over the home side's defence into the path of Adam who skipped inside the box. Adam then squared the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper into the path of Middleton and she tapped it over the line with ease.
Forest's advantage was doubled just after the half-hour mark as Adam and Middleton linked up again to disgruntle the opposition defence. It was a near-replica of the first goal as Adam danced past the green and white shirts again before knocking the ball back along the six-yard box to Middleton who neatly tapped it home for a second time.
Middleton came close to completing a first-half hat-trick two minutes later but a well-timed tackle deep inside the penalty area stopped her from testing Stacey Garnham after she had broken free.
Defensive duo Amy Dicken and Darby were called into action early in the second half as The New Saints began to test the Forest backline. Dicken headed away a first cross from the home side before captain Darby strongly cleared the second to safety.
Middleton wrapped up her hat-trick and the afternoon's scoring in the 64th minute. The crafty striker shrugged off two defenders before she slotted the ball past the onrushing Garnham into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the box.
Helena Constantinou came close to netting her first senior goal for the club after some good work from Sophia Bonser along the right. She cut the ball back to a waiting Constantinou on the edge of the area but her shot flew just over the crossbar.
Emily Hallam denied The New Saints a late consolation goal in the second minute of stoppage time as she made a strong save with her feet after Pennington broke free into the Forest penalty area.
Forest: Hallam, Dicken, Darby (c), Harkin, Worthington (Hewitt 60'), Griffin (Lee 60'), Constantinou, Sanderson (Bonser 69'), Adam (Griffiths 74'), Middleton
Unused subs: Thomas
Goals: Middleton 13', 32', 64'
The New Saints: Garnham, Taylor, Parkes, Anderson, James, Lewis, Davies, Morris (Pennington 60'), Bebbington, Bragan, Ridge
Unused subs: Davis, Ashworth, Griffiths, Jackson