Huddersfield Town Women 2-1 Nottingham Forest Women (FA Womens National League North) 18.10.20
Buoyed by last weekend’s seven-goal demolition of bottom club Loughborough Foxes, Andrew Cook took his FA Women’s National League North table-toppers to joint-second Huddersfield Town Women and the Stafflex Arena on Sunday, victory for the hosts would move them level with the Reds.
Bringing Sophie Tudor back into the starting line-up the Reds were seen to kick-off this tough fixture and endured a hard fought, opening quarter within which they fell behind after thirteen minutes, the hosts taking the lead through defender Beth Stanfield.
Kate Mallin was already proving a thorn in Forest’s sides and it was her probing run that led to the opener, firing a low cross across goal which landed nicely for Stanfield to open the scoring and put the visitors on the back foot early on.
After scoring the opener, Town continued to press, domination play throughout the first period and making their table-topping counterparts chase the game whilst creating plenty opportunities themselves, Laura Elford and Sarah Danby probing away.
A half-hearted appeal for a penalty to the home side was waved away by the referee just before half-hour mark, a cross from Mallin striking the arm of the Forest defender before Forest make some inroads on the hosts’ goal, Georgia Hewitt and Hayley James both having efforts on target, Bethan Davies holding firm in goal.
As the first-half came towards its conclusion, both sides continued to probe away as first Lucy Sowerby tried her luck for the hosts, then, moments later, both James and Rebecca Rayner did the same for the visitors at the other end.
However, in the closing minutes of the first-half, another defender, this time Forest’s Charlotte Greengrass, levelled proceedings. Having given away a free-kick Rayner stepped up to float a cross towards the back post where Greengrass met the ball with her head, calmly nodding in the equaliser – Greengrass then had a second goal disallowed on the interval, her closer-range ruled offside.
Momentum was carried on into the early stages of the second period for the visitors as Rosie Axten, Mai Moncaster, Rebecca Rayner and Hayley James all had opportunities to put the Reds in the ascendency, all to no avail.
The Terriers pairing of Mallin and Elford, often causing trouble in the first, continued that vein in the second as well, the pair linking up well on a number of occasions whilst the Reds, and particularly Rayner, continued with their own, respective agendas.
Heading into the final twenty, Terriers threat continues to come via Mallin, she having been a constant danger throughout this league fixture and it would be she who’d restore the home sides’ lead with six minutes remaining.
Another Town attack results in the back being fired into the Forest box and there, continuing the damage she’d inflicted most the afternoon, was Mallin to fire hard and true past Aguuire. It proved to be final offering in terms of goals, a tight affair resulting in three goals, two of which came for the home side as they notched up a hard-fought win.
The 2-1 loss was to be a first defeat of the season for Cook’s charges, however, with a vastly superior goal-difference at present, the Reds hold onto the top spot with AFC Fylde joining them after they took apart Derby County 4-1, the three side on thirteen points apiece.
Next up for the Reds, a visit from Hull City Ladies next Sunday, KO 14:00
Forest: Aguirre, Greengrass (Middleton), Harkin, Johnson, Hewitt (Naylor), James, Tudor (McKechnie), Moncaster, Brown, Rayner, Axten.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFCWomen Charlotte Greengrass celebrates her goal.