by Callum Doughty
Wolves Women 3 (J.Cross 21, o.g 38, Anslow 47)
Huddersfield Town Ladies 5 (Heckler 5, 12, Mallin 30, Sanderson 52, Whitham 56)
A battling performance wasn’t enough for Wolves Women as they were beaten 5-3 at Keys Park by Huddersfield Town Ladies. Wolves managed to pull themselves level despite being 2-0 and 3-1 down, but were unable to hold on for a point.
In what was a thrilling first-half, which saw five goals, Wolves started the brightest, but it was the away team who took an early lead.
A free-kick from the right-hand side was floated in and Wolves were unable to deal with it. The ball eventually fell to Huddersfield striker Emily Heckler who fired home to put the visitors ahead.
Huddersfield nearly doubled their lead through Sarah Danby not long after, but she shot wide.
Wolves then had three excellent opportunities to pull themselves level. Leanne Robinson fired a Billie Haynes cross over and then volleyed an effort just wide of the target. This came after Emma Cross saw an effort from a tight angle saved by Charlie Kenyon in the Huddersfield goal.
The away side then doubled their lead not long after. Heckler’s shot was saved by Issy Foster, but she was unable to keep out Kate Mallin’s rebound.
Wolves got themselves back into the game almost immediately, Natalie Widdal’s lofted ball over the top was raced onto by Jade Cross, who beat the Huddersfield goalkeeper to the ball, and was able to slot home from an angle.
Mallin restored Huddersfield’s two goal lead just a few minutes later. After a number of shots were blocked and saved, Wolves were unable to clear the ball away and Mallin eventually tucked the ball home to make it 3-1 to Huddersfield.
Emma Cross was unfortunate not to get a goal back for Wolves almost immediately, as her goalbound header was cleared off the line.
From the resulting corner Wolves were able to halve the visitors’ lead. A scramble in front of the Huddersfield goal saw the ball finally turned in, in what appeared to be an own goal.
Wolves were then level just minutes into the second-half. Jen Anslow’s floated ball in looped over the head of Heckler, who was now in the Huddersfield goal.
The second-half began very much the same way as the first, with Wolves on the front foot. However, just as in the first-half, Huddersfield delivered a sucker punch, putting themselves back ahead. A powerful long-range effort from Brittany Sanderson managed to find the bottom corner.
Huddersfield then restored their two-goal lead. Another long-range effort, this time from Danielle Whitham, found its way past Foster to put the visitors 5-3 up.
However, the home side didn’t let this deter them from their task. Haynes’ cross was almost parried in by the goalkeeper before Anna Price’s shot from distance was well saved.
Wolves were unable to create any more clear-cut chances but a smart save by Foster denied Huddersfield from increasing their lead late on.
Manager Tim Dudding said: “It was a frustrating game today. When we’ve got the game back to 3-3 and it’s there for the taking, we haven’t done that, and we haven’t used the momentum we’ve built up.
“Credit to the girls, though. It was another difficult and another odd game that they had to deal with and they deserve respect for trying to turn it around. We just need to keep believing and keep working hard and we’ll get there.”
* Next Sunday 19th November sees Wolves turn their attention to the second round of the Birmingham County Cup when they travel to Lye Town Ladies.
TEAM: Foster, Meeson, Anslow, Bavington (Bragan), Widdal, Butler, E.Cross, Price (C), J. Cross, Robinson, E. Cross, Haynes (Williams) SUBS: Glenny, McQuilkin, Whetton, Moran, Bate.
PICTURES: Mark Birchill