09:22 15th May 2017
by Peter Westwood
Wolves Women secure promotion
Leicester City Ladies 0
Wolves Women 1 (E.Cross 48)
Wolves Women clinched the FA Women’s Premier League Midlands Division One title thanks to a nervy 1-0 victory over Leicester City Ladies.
With Loughborough Foxes topping the table for most of the season, Wolves finally took their place last Thursday evening, beating Loughborough Students 3-0 at the expense of captain Anna Perks, who broke her collarbone as the result of a tackle.
So Wolves went into this final game two points clear at the top of the table, knowing that a win would guarantee promotion, while Foxes were hoping that Wanderers would slip up.
Wolves started well with stand-in captain Vicky Brackenbury heading just over from a Jen Anslow corner in the first minute before Laura McQuilkin sent a shot just wide of the goal.
It wasn’t all Wolves though, with Leicester themselves looking to avoid relegation and putting up a strong fight.
Wolves were doing well from set pieces, with Anslow and Emma Cross both causing problems.
In the 29th minute Jade Cross came close with a shot which went just over the bar.
Then Leicester had a great chance just three minutes later after Claire Hakeman cleared with a diving header, and the resulting corner was saved well by Sophie Glenny in the Wolves goal.
As half time approached Wolves were battling hard, with Jade Cross involved in a goalmouth scramble and Anslow sending a free-kick just over the bar, but they couldn’t make the breakthrough and it remained
goalless at the break.
Wolves were straight out of the blocks at the start of the second half and their pressure finally paid off in the 48th minute. McQuilkin’s long-range shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced out to Emma
Cross who tapped it over the line to give Wolves the lead.
Wolves were trying hard to get a second goal, with Amber Quick, Jade Cross and Natalie Widdal all coming close. Leicester had their chances too, with a couple of free-kicks and corners, and Glenny was called
into action again to tip a shot over the bar.
In a tense finale substitutes Moran and Bragan both came close for Wolves before Amber Quick’s shot was saved by the keeper in the 89th minute.
Leicester forced two more saves from Glenny in stoppage time, but Wolves held firm to record a necessary victory with rivals Loughborough Foxes also securing three points.
The result sees Wolves promoted as champions back to the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division.
Manager Tim Dudding said: “It’s an incredible feeling, and one that’s been a long time coming.
“We’ve worked so hard over the season, and we’ve had to dig deep in some incredibly difficult times, but we’ve come out on top – as champions!
Captain Anna Perks said: “I’m so proud to have captained such a fantastic squad of girls. The strength and depth of our squad has been a major factor to the season’s success, as even with injuries the team has not suffered. We are now looking forward to a good rest and then putting the hard work in for next season in the Northern Premier League!”
TEAM: Glenny, Hakeman (Hewitt), Anslow, Butler, Brackenbury (C), Widdal, Whetton (Moran), Quick, J.Cross, McQuilkin (Bragan), E. Cross. SUBS: Gardner, James.
PICTURE COURTESY SIMON FAULKNER