Wolves Women 2 (J Cross 33, Morphet 52) Birmingham & West Midlands 0
Goals from Jade Cross and Anna Morphet gave Wolves the perfect start to 2020 as they saw off Birmingham & West Midlands Ladies by two goals to nil.
Chances were few and far between in the opening stages as both teams looked to gain control of affairs, however Jamilla Palmer’s strike, which rustled the side-netting early doors, gave a warning to the opposition of the sort of game they were in for.
The game began to open up as the half progressed, with both teams coming close to breaking the deadlock. Palmer’s excellent delivery from left was nodded marginally wide by the opposition’s defender to give the visitors a scare, before Cross’ placed effort, when played through on goal, rolled narrowly past Turner’s left post moments after.
Wolves made a mess of clearing their lines on the half-hour mark, presenting White with a great opportunity to give the opposition the lead, but her shot marginally evaded the bottom-left corner.
Birmingham & West Midlands Ladies were made to pay for not taking their chance as Cross avenged her previous miss by firing Wolves in-front with a superb strike from range, which proved too hot to handle for the goalkeeper as the ball sailed into the top-left corner.
Wolves were given the opportunity to double their lead from the spot following the awarding of a penalty early into the second period. The opposition’s defender was adjudged to handle the ball inside the penalty area from a corner, and Anna Morphet made no mistake to give Wolves breathing space as she converted emphatically.
What followed was a scrappy affair as Wolves battled their way to a huge three points against their main rivals for top spot. Lowri Walker capitalised on a goalkeeping error, but from a tight angle could only hit the post with her effort, whilst Cross and Anna Price also both came close to hitting number three for the hosts in the final moments but marginally failed to hit the target on both occasions.
Dan McNamara’s side had to settle for just the two in the end, however the two was enough to kick-start a prosperous and hopefully successful 2020 for Wolves Women.
Manager Dan McNamara stressed his pride of his team’s character post-match. He said: “It was a massive test of our character at times today, but a huge, huge step forward for the girls.
“We knew it was going to be tough for us today against a great outfit. It wasn’t great from us today from the standards we’ve set ourselves this season, but I was really proud of the heart, desire and determination to not concede. A massive victory for us.
“It was our first game in just under a month, so we knew how difficult it was going to be. Courtney Jones was struggling from 60 minutes onwards and we had injuries and niggles to deal with throughout which on another day we would have taken off. The girls gave me everything and were just outstanding.
“We knew that today we could really put our grasp on first place and move away from the opposition. It was a huge win and we’ll enjoy it tonight before we turn our attention to Lincoln where we’ll need to put in another big performance.”
Next up for Wolves Women is another league fixture, this time away from home as they travel to the Sun Hat Villas & Resorts Stadium to face Lincoln City on 12th January. They then return to Castlecroft on 19th January to continue their Birmingham County Cup journey with the visit of Stourbridge, 2pm kick off.
12/01/20: Lincoln City (A)
19/01/20: Stourbridge (H)
02/02/20: Burton Albion (H)
09/02/20: Leicester United (A)
19/02/20: The New Saints (H)
WOLVES: Thomas, Glover (Price, 64’), Cross, Buck, Morphet, Jones ©, Jennings, Walker, Barnett (Haynes, 60’), Palmer, Cross.
Unused Substitutes: Bruton, Bramford, Dicken, Wilson, Widdall.
BIRMINGHAM & WEST MIDLANDS: Turner, Steele, Liooiard, Rioen, Scott, Travers, Dickinson, White, Lundie, Rogers, Bacciochi.
Substitutes: Kirk, Weston, Grove.
By George Coombes