Wolves were beaten 3-2 by Stoke City in the second round of the FA WNL Cup in a hard-fought battle at Clayton Wood.
Two goals from Jamilla Palmer were not enough to progress in the cup, with Meg Bowyer, Faye McCoy and Abby Hunt all on the scoresheet for the opposition.
After a bright start from the away side, goalkeeper Maddie Elbro misjudged a dangerous set piece from Bowyer which found its way into the back of the net and granted Stoke with the opener five minutes in.
Wolves came close to finding an equaliser almost instantly, with Billie Haynes and in-form Jade Cross linking up brilliantly before Haynes’ strike narrowly missed the target.
After a flurry of dangerous attacks, Dan McNamara’s side found their equaliser after 38 minutes, when Cross’ dangerous cross found Palmer who unleashed an emphatic strike to beat the onlooking Charlotte Clarke in goal.
Just moments into the second-half, Wolves had the chance to put themselves in front. Palmer was once more the focal point of the attack with her powerful effort saved, only to fall to Cross who struck the woodwork on the rebounded effort.
Chances to go in front continued to come in abundance thanks to the vision of Shannie Jennings and Courtney Jones who continued to provide those around them, Haines coming close once more with her strike nearly creeping under the crossbar with just under an hour played.
However, it was Stoke who went in front against the run of play with 15 minutes left after Cassie Hyde went to ground in the Wolves box, with McCoy scoring the subsequent penalty.
The home side extended their lead in the 85th minute with Hunt rounding off the scoring for the Potters.
Wolves were granted their own penalty in injury time after Cross was brought down before she could put the ball into an empty net, allowing Palmer to score from the spot before referee Mike Mooney blew the final whistle.
Dan McNamara praised his sides valiant effort against tough opposition, but insisted his team needed to be more clinical if they were to win the game.
He said: “I thought we were absolutely fantastic. We stuck to a really good game plan that we had worked on all week but, ultimately, we didn’t take our chances and it sent us out of the cup.
“I think it shows the difference in levels. They get one opportunity and they score; we get several and unfortunately, we weren’t quite clinical enough. There’s a lot to learn from but I thought we were great.
“On the balance of things, I’m really proud of them, it was a tremendous performance against a really good Stoke side who are going to go far this season.
“We’ve got an FA Cup game against Fylde next week at home, so that will be another stern test. The games are coming thick and fast and we’re enjoying it. We’re putting in good performances and competing, so were looking forward to it.”
Next up, Wolves Women host Fylde Ladies in the second round of the FA Cup, 1pm kick-off on 1st December. League action returns the following weekend, facing Birmingham and West Midlands Ladies away from home on 8th December.
01/12/19 | Fylde Ladies (H)
08/12/19 | Birmingham & West Midlands (A)
15/12/19 | Long Eaton United (H)
12/01/20 | Lincoln City (A)
02/02/20 | Burton Albion (H)
Wolves: Elbro, Buck, Price, E. Cross, Wilson (Walker 78), S. Jennings (Dicken 87), Jones, Haynes (Barnett 58), Bramford, J. Cross, Palmer.
Stoke: Clarke, Hudson, Hyde, Hunt, Richardson, Bowyer (Brown 51), Gibson, Kivel, Garner (Pemberton 80), Baptiste (Hughes 66), McCoy.
Report by Jack Shannon