Wolves Women 4 (Palmer 1, 77, Timmins-Ray 48, Selmes 90+3)
Leeds United Ladies 3 (Hugett 12, 61, McIver 27)
Wolves Women came out on top in an entertaining seven-goal League Cup tie at Castlecroft Stadium.
Wolves got off to the best possible start when Jamillah Palmer took advantage of a poor backpass to round the Leeds goalkeeper and slot home as the home side pressed the visitors early on.
Wolves continued to lead from the front, but a dubious penalty in the twelfth minute brought Leeds back on level terms when Carey Hugett fired past Natalie Hall.
Hall produced a superb save to keep the score level two minutes later as Leeds began to take control.
Wolves struggled to get in to any sort of rhythm after the penalty, and found themselves 2-1 down before the half hour mark. Abbie McIver used her searing pace to cut inside from the left wing and fire past Hall into the bottom corner and put Leeds ahead.
Wolves felt they should have had a penalty of their own six minutes later when Palmer was bundled to the floor, but the referee waved away the protests.
Another fantastic save from Hall kept Wolves in the game, before Palmer sent a free-kick narrowly wide of the near post on the stroke of half time.
Wolves came out for the second half a different side, and were desperately unlucky not to level the game within a minute of the restart. Jordan Timmins-Ray saw her shot beat the keeper but knocked away from the goal, before Rebecca Large hit the post and Dani Selmes then see her follow-up cleared off the line.
Wolves did however get the equaliser they deserved just a few minutes later. Dominique Luke drove forward with the ball before a Layla Salter ball saw Timmins-Ray turn and shoot into the bottom corner to level the game. The goal gave Wolves the confidence boost they needed, and the side began to play the flowing football that they have demonstrated since the start of the season.
Less than a minute later Wolves could have taken the lead, but Large chose to shoot when better options were available. Five minutes later Selmes ran at the Leeds defence before playing the ball wide to Large, whose inch-perfect delivery was headed narrowly wide by Luke.
Despite Wolves’ pressure and dominance, they fell behind just after the hour when Hall dropped a cross, tainting an otherwise superb display, with Hugett firing in the rebound from 12 yards.
Wolves Manager Trevor Mullings reacted by bringing on striker Chloe Dodd for her senior debut, and pushing Palmer out wide into her more usual role.
And with 13 minutes to go Wolves drew level. Palmer raced onto a through ball, showing good strength to hold off her marker before firing an audacious effort around the keeper with the outside of her foot.
Hall raced off her line to keep Leeds out with ten minutes to go as both sides threw caution to the wind in search for a winner. Selmes came close to notching the winner with seven minutes to go after a smart turn beat her marker, but she could only fire over from the edge of the box.
Just as the game looked set for a draw Wolves broke forward, with Selmes expertly beating the offside trap to fire the ball past Sian Binks and seal all three points in what is a group game.
Leeds will feel hard-done by, having led for most of the game, but Wolves’ second half performance merited the victory, and the girls now have that much needed win under their belts to boost confidence.
After the game, defender Leanne Rimmer gave her reaction. She said: “I’m disappointed with what happened in the first half. We started well but after the penalty we gave the ball away too easily and we were to slow both in and out of possession. We were much better in the second half, we fought harder and our passing was of a higher quality. We fought right until the end and I feel the win was deserved.”
Manager Trevor Mullings had mixed feelings over the performance. He added: “After a promising start in the first half, we gave a very poor performance, not getting close to or closing down our players. We gave Leeds too much respect and presented them with their two first half goals. In the second half we showed our creativity, and showed more fight and determination - we didn't let Leeds have it their own way and we responded positively. We need to build on this and take the second half performance into the league.”
*Wolves’ next game is away at Preston on the 6th October.
Team: Hall, McQuilkin, Widdel, Perks, Rimmer, Salter (Holmes), Luke, Timmins-Ray (Palin), Large (Dodd), Selmes, Palmer.