Preston 4 (Jones 26, Grocott 27, 57, Savage 70)
Wolves Women 2 (Luke 38, Selmes 55)
Wolves Women fell to defeat in the League Cup group stage in an entertaining game at Preston.
The opening ten minutes saw a frantic pace set as both sides looked to attack and find an early goal. Wolves had the first real attempt after a quarter of an hour after good wing play from Amber Quick. Quick cut in from the left hand side to play in Summer Holmes, but Holmes dragged her shot wide from 20 yards.
Minutes later Jordan Timmins-Ray raced down the right wing, but her deep cross narrowly evaded Quick at the back post.
Wolves were masters of their own downfall on 26 minutes, when a defensive error allowed Paige Forster to slip in Sophie Jones who found the bottom corner of the net to give Preston the lead.
Less than two minutes later, Preston doubled their advantage when Jones turned provider to set up Becky Grocott, who finished well for a two-goal lead.
Wolves’ woes deepened when midfielder Summer Holmes was forced off with an ankle injury after the half-hour stage, however, Jamillah Palmer’s introduction added pace to the visitors’ attack.
Wolves got a foothold back into the match on 38 minutes when Leanne Rimmer’s superb ball over the top was met by Dominique Luke, who beat the keeper to the ball to nod into the net.
Minutes later, Palmer raced through on goal but was denied by a contentious offside decision, as Wolves looked to level the score before the break.
Natalie Hall was forced into a great save to deny Preston from a free-kick as half time approached, before Palmer fired wide after Timmins-Ray’s mazy run had worked an opening.
The second half saw Wolves start on the front foot, Palmer running at goal before firing straight at the keeper as the home side struggled to keep the visitors at bay.
Wolves were rewarded for their efforts on 55 minutes when Dani Selmes, pictured, pulled Wolves level after Luke’s left wing cross evaded the Preston defence.
Just two minutes later, Wolves saw all of their hard work undone as Grocott was allowed time and space to fire at goal from 20 yards and Hall was unable to keep the ball out.
Luke came close to levelling matters again but she was unable to convert a Palmer cross as Wolves tried to fight their way back into the game.
However Preston put the contest beyond Wolves’ reach on 70 minutes when Laura Walker set up Keeleigh Savage. Savage was allowed the time to take two touches, before she fired over Hall to seal the win and a place in the next round of the cup for Preston.
After the game, Manager Trevor Mullings thought his side deserved better. He said: “We deserved more than the final score suggests.
“We played better as a unit, both offensively and defensively.
“However, we must retain the ball better when we are higher up the pitch. Once again sloppy mistakes gifted the opposition goals.”
Team: N. Hall, Large, Rimmer, Perks, McQuilkin (Williams), Widdal, Luke, Quick, Timmins-Ray (Berry), Holmes (Palmer), Selmes.