Sheffield FC Ladies 0-2 Nottingham Forest Women (FA Women’s National League North) 27.01.22
Goals from Grace Walters, and Sophia Bonser, made it two wins from two, six points in five days, for Andy Cook’s Forest charges, as they prepared for the visit of Manchester City Women, in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, with a comfortable, 2-0 league win, away to Sheffield FC on Thursday night.
Prior to the game the Reds announced the arrivals of two new players to the club, Cook strengthening up top with the additions of Charley Docherty (attacking midfielder) and Tamara Wilcock (forward), the pair joining from another Yorkshire club in Sheffield United.
Both players went straight into the match-day squad, taking their place on the bench, with both coming on for the final twenty minutes and putting in cameo appearances that could easily have yielded a goal apiece.
The reason in which Cook has brought in the two new players, he said that: “We wanted to add strength in depth to the forward line.
“We’ve got almost two players for every position in defence and midfield, but we’ve had injuries in the forward department.”
As for the game itself, away to Sheffield FC, saw a result which would see the Reds back into fourth place in the table, five points behind leaders Derby County Ladies (AFC Fylde Ladies and Wolverhampton Wanderers Women sandwiched between).
Mai Moncaster would register the first, real attempt on goal, just after ten minutes, but her strike was held well by the home ‘keeper, Annie Rushton-Butters, Forest being seen to dominate the early possession.
Chances continued to flow as well, with a couple of quick-fire opportunities just after the twenty minute mark, first Katie Middleton would see an effort blocked after a burst into the box, then Bonser would try her luck from range only to her effort drop just past the post.
Five minutes before the opening goal arrived and Georgia Hewitt would have the better chance of the opening half hour, she breaking clear and taking aim from an angle, only for Rushton-Butters to get down well.
Then came the opening goal, and, following a corner from the right, Walters would fire one home into the bottom corner; advantage Reds, and one they never relinquished.
Just prior to the interval, Bonser would see herself denied from close range, but it mattered not, the Reds going in a goal to the good at the halfway mark.
The hosts though, they weren’t done, and would be seen to come out fighting in the second, Niamh Reynolds having to clear an effort off the line in the early stages of the half after a quick burst into the Forest box.
Shortly after a triple change from the visitors, the hosts would see another chance come to nothing, Emily Batty gathering well, whilst at the other end, Hayley James, who’d just come on, would see an effort saved before Cook proceeded to bring on his latest signings, Docherty and Wilcock, with twenty to go.
Bonser, who’d had several chances already, made a pacey break on the left, shaking her marker well, and crossed for Alice Higginbottom, but her effort is deflected wide of goal, before Wilcock tried her luck with ten minutes remaining.
Receiving the ball in the area, the new signing turned well, and would hit a low shot across goal, the effort flying agonisingly wide of Rushton-Butters’ far post, before Bonser again would try her luck, this time off a free-kick after Middleton had been brought down thirty yards from goal.
The killer second finally arrived with five minutes left of normal time; and it would be Bonser who’d land a deserving goal, just reward for her evening’s efforts.
Linking up well with second half substitute, Rosie Axten, Bonser would be played in with the final ball before calmly finishing across the home’ keeper to wrap up the second win of the week for the Reds.
There was still time for Docherty to get a taste of attacking action before the final whistle blew, she being seen to loop an effort goal-bound, it unfortunately coming back off the crossbar, and the follow-up, from Bonser, is cleared before she could get a good hold of the ball.
The damage was already done however, and Forest can now look towards Saturday’s home game, at the City Ground, against Manchester City Women, in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, boosted by two, quick-fire league victories.
A point worth noting from the opposition that, from their match squad for the game, eleven of their players were eighteen and under, six of whom started the game.
For tickets to Nottingham Forest v Manchester City (1pm KO) at the City Ground on Saturday, click here, and to read our previews ahead of the game, from Andy Cook and from Charlotte Steggles and Becky Anderson visit our Women’s Football archive.
Forest: Batty, Harkin, Hewitt (Axten 56), Cook (James 56), Middleton, Moncaster, Arber (Wilcock 70), Reynolds (Docherty 70), Walters (West 56), Bonser, Higginbottom.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFCWomen a good nights work for Forest ahead of Saturday’s cup tie.