Blackburn Rovers Ladies 4 (Westerman 44, Twohig 59, Manning 78, Weston 90)
Wolves Women 1 (Selmes 50)
Wolves Women were defeated away at Blackburn on Sunday, but were left feeling aggrieved by a catalogue of poor decisions by the officials.
Wolves started the brighter of the two sides, with Jamillah Palmer and Becky Hall combining to set up Amber Quick, whose shot went narrowly over on six minutes.
Wolves had a good chance to take the lead ten minutes later after the Blackburn keeper parried a free-kick out to Palmer, but her effort was well saved by Gemma Jackson.
Blackburn began to impose themselves as the half hour mark approached, with Wolves struggling to keep the ball out of their half as they battled a sloping pitch.
With five minutes to go until half time, Rovers came close to opening the scoring, as Nichol Forster hit the post with a header.
Wolves were finally breached on the stroke of half time when a soft free-kick was awarded on the edge of the box, and Vicky Westerman escaped her marker to head past Naomi Bruton.
Wolves were kicking down the slope in the second half, and made a great start, levelling the game on 50minutes. Striker Dani Selmes, pictured, raced after a lost cause, drawing the error out of the Blackburn defender, before rounding the goalkeeper to score.
The tempo of the game increased as both teams spurned chances as they looked to take the lead. Wolves cracked first, as Hannah Williams brought down a Blackburn player in trying to clear a corner. Nicky Twohig duly dispatched into the top corner, leaving Wolves with yet more work to do.
As the game entered the last 20 minutes, Wolves suffered another blow, as defender Layla Salter was taken off injured. Wolves Manager James Astle decided to throw everything at the game, going three at the back as he made a double substitution.
However things turned even bleaker for the away side with 15 minutes to go, with Palmer shown a straight red card for a late tackle. It was a harsh decision on the young winger, who made an honest attempt to win the ball. To her credit, she left the field of play without argument and Wolves set about finding an equaliser.
But Blackburn soon stamped out all hope of a comeback, with Eve Manning benefitting from a defensive mix-up to give Rovers a 3-1 lead.
Wolves tried in vain to find another goal, and Rovers took advantage of Wolves’ red card to make it 4-1 with seconds left of normal time. Wolves felt that there should have been a stoppage as Leanne Rimmer was left in a heap after some brave defending, however play continued, and Shannon Weston struck a wonderful 30-yard effort past Bruton to finish the game.
Wolves can be proud of their effort and battling, but were left to wonder how the game might have ended up, had Palmer stayed on the field.
Defender Lauren Walker picked the positives from a good performance. She said: “After our mid-week defeat to West Brom, we came out fighting and felt we showed a good account of ourselves against a very good Blackburn side.
“We kept a good shape and looked the brighter side in the first half, creating a handful of good chances.
“In the second half we again started well and got a well deserved equaliser early on.
“But then a combination of poor refereeing decisions and rash challenges led to a succession of goals which saw the game slowly creep away from us.
“The scoreline certainly didn't reflect the performance and I hope we can take the desire and passion shown today into our final game of the season on Tuesday at home to Derby and end on a high.”
Boss Astle was pleased with how his team played, but was keen to point out that the scoreline was no reflection of the game.
“With some choice words from players and staff post Wednesday's second half performance, we sat down and collected ourselves ready for another battle,” he said.
“It was a very bright start, and it was disappointing to go in conceding with two minutes of the first half left.
“We have witnessed very poor second half displays too many times and the girls were keen to fix this.
“It was a very determined and spirited effort, yet we conceded a penalty.
“Then having to chase to equalise we tried to pile on the pressure.
“A decision ending in a sending off for us was just too much and we got caught but, yet again, no one will appreciate how the players today gave it all which I was really pleased with.
“All people will see is a 4-1 loss which wasn't a reflection of the game.
“We now have our third game within a week Tuesday coming, and we all want to finish on a high and I'm sure if they give the same on Tuesday, it will be.”
Wolves Women play their final league game of the season at home to Derby on Tuesday night, with a 7.45pm kick off at Castlecroft Stadium.
Team: Bruton, Rimmer, Salter (Timmins-Ray), Williams, Walker, Morris, Quick, Large (Cook), B. Hall, Palmer, Selmes.