Hat-trick hero Barker 'ready for a battle' in the Women's FA Cup
Written by Joseph Nelson
Katie Barker scored yet another hat-trick on Sunday, helping Newcastle United Women cruise into the second round of the Vitality Women's FA Cup with a 5-1 win over Harrogate Town Ladies.
The number nine, who has been in scintillating form for the Lady Magpies this season, described the feeling of scoring her third treble of the season as "unreal" and outlined her desire to "score some more throughout the season."
United Women's impressive victory came following last week's disappointing extra time FAWNL Cup loss to Brighouse Town Women, and Barker highlighted the importance of bouncing back.
"It was a draining 120 minutes last week versus a team in a higher league," she said. "We had given everything but sadly we came up short, so to win convincingly this week was very important to everyone involved."
Becky Langley's side have been lauded this season for their determination and togetherness, but the area of their game that has attracted most attention is their goalscoring.
Speaking about the side's tally - which stands at 50 in 12 fixtures across all competitions so far this term - top scorer Barker said: "We aren't even halfway through the season yet and the amount we have scored is amazing!
"We train hard and have built an amazing understanding when we go forward. Kacie Elson and I have linked up multiple times this season, assisting each other and scoring lots of goals."
This weekend marked Women's Football Weekend - a Football Association-led movement which aims at improving the visibility of women's football across England, across all tiers - and Barker said: "Awareness and visibility are massively important. It was great to see loads of girls at the match and it's important that they have role models to look up to and inspire them."
The Women's Football Weekend only bolstered the significance of the cup fixture, and Barker expressed her pride in being a part of it.
"FA Cup games are always an amazing occasion," she said. "Every game we play, we want to win, and there is no better platform to give the best account of ourselves than one of the most historic sporting competitions."
Looking ahead to the second round draw, which saw United handed an away tie at Salford City Lionesses, Barker declared that the Lady Magpies will relish the test against a side who beat Alnwick Town Ladies 4-0 in their first round tie on Sunday.
"We are always ready for a battle, and we are buzzing just to be in the hat for the next round," she said.
Newcastle United Women return to league action on Wednesday evening, when they face Chester le Street Town Ladies away, before hosting Blyth Town Ladies in the County Cup on Sunday.
"It's a big week," said Barker. "We need to ensure that we are preparing well and recovering even better to give ourselves the best chance in both fixtures."
Photograph courtesy of Colin Lock/@Tyneside_NUWFC
"FA Cup games are always an amazing occasion. Every game we play, we want to win, and there is no better platform to give the best account of ourselves than one of the most historic sporting competitions."