F.A Women’s Premier League Northern Division
Sunday 3rd March 2013
Wolves Women 2 (Salter 88, Palmer 90+1)
Preston North End Women 1 (Robinson 71)
Wolves Women produced a stunning late comeback to record only their third league win of the season this weekend.
Wolves went into this match as under-dogs, with Preston sitting second in the league table, but Wolves looked every inch their opponents' equals from the get-go.
The game sprung into life on fifteen minutes, as Becky Hall’s free-kick was beaten away on the goal-line by Preston’s keeper Alison Taberner, as Wolves began to out-play the visitors.
Wolves then went close twice in sixty seconds, as a corner was cleared off the line, before a Lauren Walker cross was fired goalwards by Philippa Wilson from six yards but again Preston somehow managed to clear the ball off the line to keep the scores level.
As the first half wore on Wolves played with more and more confidence; a Walker corner was headed narrowly wide by Wilson and crisp passing moves kept Preston at bay, with Wolves keeper Natalie Hall rarely called into action.
When Preston did find themselves with sustained possession, Wolves defended well as a unit; not allowing Preston to create the space to shoot, and showing the title chasers that Wolves were better than their league position suggests as the first half ended goalless.
Wolves started the second half well, with Hall heading over a Walker cross as Wolves looked to cap their superiority with a goal.
As the hour mark approached, Preston began to find their feet and pose a greater threat to the Wolves goal, with Natalie Hall producing a stunning finger-tip save to tip an effort onto the post to keep the game level.
Both teams then went close, with Becky Hall turning both of her markers with a superb piece of skill before racing through on goal, but Taberner saved well to frustrate the home side. Preston then hit Wolves on the break, capitalising on a defensive error, but Natalie Hall spared their blushes with another fine save to keep Preston out.
Despite creating more than their fair-share of chances, Wolves still could not find the elusive goal and were made to pay for their lack of cutting edge when Preston took the lead. Once again it was poor defending from a set piece which let Wolves down, having also cost them the game against Blackburn the previous week. Tiffany Robinson ran from deep to meet the corner and fire in past Natalie Hall to stun Wolves.
To Wolves' credit, from that moment on it was all one-way traffic as they refused to drop their heads. Wolves continued to find success down the left hand side, as Walker crossed for Hall, who brought the ball down for Amber Quick, but the midfielder could only fire wide as Wolves pushed for a goal.
With ten minutes to go, Leanne Rimmer curled a wonderful ball around the Preston defence for Quick, but Taberner made herself big and she saved well to keep the visitors ahead.
Then, with just two minutes left on the clock, a Becky Hall free-kick was met by substitute Jordan Timmins-Ray, whose driven shot was flicked home by defender Layla Salter.
Wolves then completed the comeback in injury time, when Becky Hall capped a magnificent individual performance by beating the offside trap and selflessly playing in Jamillah Palmer, who raced in to fire into an empty net to send both the players and the spectators wild.
Wolves held on to record the victory and earn a richly deserved three points to help push them away from the drop zone.
Manager James Astle was delighted with the result: “It is a tremendous turnaround following the two previous cup games," he said.
"Today was back to the league for the first time since November and I have nothing but pride and admiration in the way the squad played and battled. It wasn't pretty at times but this was a much deserved win. This helps us out massively looking at results elsewhere. We need to take what we've done today into the forthcoming home games to keep us mid-table."
Team: N. Hall, Rimmer, Salter, Williams, Walker, Morris (Timmins-Ray), Wilson (Moor), Quick, Hooper, B. Hall, Hewitt (Palmer)
Subs not used: Perks.
Pictures by Nigel Cliff Photography.