Wolves Women continued their perfect start to the new FAWNL Norther Premier Division campaign with victory at Derby County on Sunday afternoon.
Amber Hughes’ first-half goal was the difference between the teams as Dan McNamara’s side put another three points on the board away from home.
Wolves started well, applying early pressure and controlling large amounts of possession, and after a brilliant diving save from Shan Turner to deny Derby an opener in the 25th minute, Tammi George connected with a Wolves free-kick but could only put her header wide.
Summer signing Helen Dermody was heavily involved in all the first-half action, creating runs into the box to set up her teammates as well as being vital defensively.
After all her efforts to assist her team, she was instrumental in Wolves’ only goal of the game in the 35th minute. Dermody’s initial shot was saved by Derby goalkeeper Charlotte Clarke but fellow newcomer Amber Hughes was quick to react and dispatched the rebound from the centre of the box.
Half-time | Derby 0-1 Wolves
Wolves came out brightly in the second-half, almost doubling their lead straight away when the ball was in the back of the net, but due to a foul on goalkeeper Clarke in the build-up, it was ruled out.
Despite continuing to apply pressure all over the pitch, Wolves were unable to find a way through the Derby defence and the game became very end to end.
Derby had a chance to equalise with an hour played however despite rounding Turner, Sophie Domingo’s shot was cleared away by the Wolves defence, who put their bodies on the line to continue their strong start to the season.
Full-time | Derby 0-1 Wolves
Wolves manager Dan McNamara praised his team very highly after their victory, saying: “I thought we were excellent, we put a game plan together and executed it fantastically well. I think we are very deserving of the three points. Derby are an absolutely quality side so they were always going to have their opportunities but I think we limited them to very little.
“We didn’t have a lot ourselves but the one opportunity we had is why we brought Amber in over the summer, she will take it and that is the difference between one point and three points.
“All the new signings have been brilliant, and let’s not forget the group of current players that I’ve had over the past three years that have grafted out there for us. They were all tremendous from start to finish.”
McNamara also added how important it was to bring players into his side that shared the same values as the group. He said: “We very much wanted to bring in the right people. We didn’t want the wrong characters coming into the group and I think you can see out there today that they’ve embedded themselves superbly and credit to them for the last two weeks.
“They are fantastic football players and that’s why we wanted to bring them into the club. What was really important to me was that their values matched ours as a club and as a group and the energy and tenacity they bring to the group is unquestionable.”
Looking ahead to the Black Country derby against West Bromwich Albion, he is taking a lot of positives from this game into Wednesday night.
He said: “We showed real resilience. There were times in the game when we were under the cosh and we had to battle, it wasn’t pretty. The games come thick and fast in this league and they are all quality opposition, the fact it’s a Black Country Derby adds to it.
“I hope there is a really healthy crowd there because we are looking forward to it.”
25/08 | West Bromwich Albion (H)
29/08 | AFC Fylde (H)
05/09 | Nottingham Forest (H)
26/09 | Huddersfield Town (A)
06/10 | Stoke City (A)
Derby: Clarke, Sims, McCue, Jackson, Miles, Formaston, Joyce, Domingo, Gilliatt, Michalska, Hamilton
Subs: Morgan, Fisher, May, Ward, Rai
Wolves: Turner, Darby, E. Cross, Morphet, Holmes, George, Dermody, Miller, Hughes, J. Cross, Merrick
Subs: Price, Palmer, Cooper, Joyce, Dicken
Report by Louise Golby