Stoke City Ladies 3
Wolves Women 1
Wolves Women failed in their bid to record back-to-back league victories as they were defeated away at Stoke.
Wolves made a superb start and should have taken the lead inside 30 seconds, as the ball ricocheted around inside the Stoke box, before going agonisingly wide of the post as Amber Quick tried in vain to convert a chance at full stretch.
Minutes later Dani Selmes was through on goal, only to be thwarted by the alert Stoke keeper. The home side then forced a wonder save from Wolves’ Natalie Hall as the game quickly settled at a high tempo.
Jamilla Palmer sliced an effort wide before Stoke took the lead against the run of play. A fierce effort from 15 yards had too much power for Hall, who was unable to keep the ball out as Wolves fell behind.
Wolves continued to press and take the game to Stoke. Anna Perks slid Palmer in with a neat through ball, but she could only fire wide. Stoke then hit the post in a rare first half attack.
Palmer saw another effort narrowly wide after the half-hour mark, before Selmes twice went close as half time approached.
Wolves ended up being the better side in the first half, but frustratingly found themselves behind at the break.
The second half started in the same vein, as Palmer cannoned a free-kick off the post, before equalising after a good team move. Palmer crossed into the box after a strong run, before the ball came back to her 12 yards out and she made no mistake with a firm strike to give Wolves a deserved equaliser.
Stoke refused to crumble as the game became a tighter affair, but Palmer was then forced off with an injury.
Wolves came under more pressure as the game wore on, with Perks making a stunning last-ditch slide tackle to deny the home side.
Stoke’s introduction of Chantelle Gallagher ultimately proved the difference, as the forward scored two quick goals in the last ten minutes to cruelly deny Wolves at least a point.
Wolves’ battle-weary players were disappointed at the final whistle, having worked incredibly hard to pull level against a physical Stoke side, only to see the game snatched away from them late on. Perhaps the difference between the two sides was clinical finishing, as Wolves could have been ahead at half time.
A crumb of comfort will be the performance of the players with Perks and Dominique Luke in particular putting in heroic performances in midfield.
Manager Trevor Mullings gave his thoughts after the match, saying: “I’m disappointed that we didn’t get at least a point from this match. We created chances, but we need to be more clinical in front of goal. After greater periods of domination, it is frustrating to come away with nothing to show for our hard work. However we can take positives from this - we carried on a lot of our good work from last week’s performance and now just need to build on this.”
Team: N. Hall, Large, Widdal, Palin, McQuilkin, Perks, Luke (Rimmer), Quick, Palmer (Timmins-Ray), Holmes (Williams), Selmes. Unused Sub: Waltho.