Wolves Women 3 (McQuilkin 3, Selmes 18, Timmins-Ray 89)
Derby County Ladies 5 (Reay 5, 44, Johnson 8, 34 Newton 84)
Report by Matt Sacco
Wolves Women were handed a difficult start to life in the new FA Women's Premier League Northern Division, after a high scoring defeat at Derby.
Wolves started well enough; a fluid passing move gave debutant Laura McQuilkin space outside the box, and she had no hesitation striking form range, firing into the top corner to give Wolves the lead.
However Wolves’ lead lasted barely a minute, as Natalie Reay raced through on goal to calmly slot past the on-rushing Natalie Hall.
Derby pulled ahead three minutes later when Melissa Johnson cut in from the right-hand side, before smashing an effort into the net.
A frantic start to the game almost saw another goal before the fifteen minute mark, but Jordan Timmins-Ray could only head over from a corner.
Wolves pulled level on eighteen minutes after debutant Emma Cross saw her drilled effort spilled by goalkeeper Sharon Bill, leaving Dani Selmes to loft the ball over the sprawling keeper and into the net.
After a manic twenty minutes the game began to settle, but Wolves were unable to keep their short passing game up, and struggled to construct moves inside the Derby half. With ten minutes to go until half time, a defensive error allowed Melissa Johnson to double her tally for the afternoon and give Derby the lead.
Derby piled on the misery for Wolves on the stroke of half time, when Natalie Reay also grabbed her second goal of the game, latching on to a through ball to finish coolly into the corner of the net.
Wolves improved defensively after the break but once again struggled to create chances and keep the ball in the Derby half.
A spell of Derby pressure after the hour mark saw the home side hit the post, in-between some superb saves from Natalie Hall in the Wolves goal.
Derby finished the match as a contest in the eighty-fourth minute, when Cara Newton was allowed to run with the ball before beating two poor challenges to smash an effort into the top corner.
To Wolves credit, they showed their fighting spirit to come to life and rediscover their fluid passing game to carve out a consolation goal: Rebecca Large ran from inside her own half, before beating her markers to play in Timmins-Ray, who calmly finished beyond Bill.
Derby finished deserving winners and Wolves will be disappointed with their performance after a promising pre-season. In the end Derby were clinical with their finishing and Wolves lacked the confidence to play their new short-passing game.
After the match, Manager Trevor Mullings picked the positives from the game: “We started off with a well taken goal after 3 minutes and played some great football at times, but we need to be more consistent with our play. Derby are a good physical side and we presented a couple of goals to them. I’m happy with our work rate, attitude, playing to the end and scoring three goals, but we must improve”.
Team: N.Hall, Large, E.Cross, Perks, Salter, Rimmer, Palin, McQuilkin, Selmes, Timmins-Ray, Hooper. Subs: J.Cross, Morris
Wolves Women play their first home game of the season on Sunday 1st September against Blackburn at Castlecroft Stadium.