Nottingham Forest Women 1-1 Burnley Women (FA Women’s National League Premier Division North) 19.12.21
Andy Cook’s Reds signed off from 2021 with a point at home to Burnley Women in the league on Sunday afternoon, ringing a few changes with what was an unusually depleted squad; three changes of Georgia Hewitt, Amy West and Alice Higginbottom came into the 14 player squad.
Racing out of the blocks as early as the first minute, the hosts would see an early corner reach Captain Lyndsey Harkin, only for her looped effort to hit Lauren Bracewell’s crossbar, with the Reds’ early pressure coming to nought.
The opener, in fact only goal of the first period, arrived after just fifteen minutes when a short corner from Becky Anderson was played to Amy West, and her whipped cross reached Rachel Brown who took delight in heading home.
The hosts had several more chances in what was a tight, first period, for both sides, Rosie Axten with the pick of the bunch when firing over from another Anderson corner, whilst the visitors would see an effort saved well by Emily Batty in the home goal.
Burnley would up their game in the second period, creating a number of early chances Batty being seen to parry an effort that was cleared off the line by Charlotte Steggles.
Within six minutes of the restart and proceedings had been levelled, Courtney Willis curling home past Batty with a left-footed shot; Bracewell would then keep the scores tied when she got down well to smother a chance from Naomi Powell, who got on the end of an Axten cross, before Burnley would see an effort wide from a quick counter-attack.
Alice Higginbottom and Hayley James both added further chances for the Reds, West also letting fly only for Bracewell to save well.
With both sides hunting a late winner, Steggles would produce a last-gasp sliding tackle, a quick, late break being thwarted, both sides settling for a point.
Reds boss, Andy Cook told nottinghamforest.co.uk after the draw: “It was a frustrating game.
“It was our highest output physically and we put in a lot of good work in terms of the high-speed running, but we’ve not really created anything clear-cut.
“The girls were brilliant in the final third and getting the ball into dangerous areas.
“Hayley James was fantastic on the right and Alice Higginbottom playing her first full 90 minutes was fantastic also.
“Browny (Rachel Brown), Roz (Rosie Axten) and Westy (Amy West) all had chances in the game, but we just weren’t clinical enough on the day.
“It’s a frustrating one, we’re disappointed to end the year on a draw after the run of results we’ve had recently, but we’re unbeaten in seven and take that positivity into the New Year.”
The Reds finish 2021 in fourth place, with twenty-one points from eleven games, eight behind leaders Derby County Ladies, with a game in hand.
Keep an eye on the Forest Women fixtures ahead of the New Year here and we’ll look to catch up with them ahead of that Vitality Women’s FA Cup clash against Manchester City Women in late January.
Forest: Emily Batty, Hayley James, Lyndsey Harkin, Charlotte Steggles, Georgia Hewitt, Becky Anderson, Amy West, Rachel Brown, Alice Higginbottom, Rosie Axten, Naomi Powell (Sophia Bonser 86).
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFCWomen the Reds celebrate their opener against Burnley.