Huddersfield Town 2 (Sowerby 1, Sanderson 45) Wolves 3 (Butler 31, Morphet 35, Dermody 54)
Wolves Women moved top of the FAWNL Northern Premier Division and continued their unbeaten start to the season with an impressive 3-2 victory away to Huddersfield Town.
McNamara’s side edged a topsy-turvy contest, which saw Ellie Butler and Anna Morphet turned the contest around following a tough start, but after the Yorkshire side fought back again, Helen Dermody ensured the points would return to the West Midlands with the winner after the break.
Wolves began the game with a turbulent start, which saw the hosts take an early lead. A ball over the top was collected by Lucy Sowerby who caught the back four off guard, cutting in from the right-hand side and hitting a strike to the left of Shan Turner, giving the home side the lead in the opening minute – Wolves’ first goal conceded in the league this season.
McNamara’s side reacted well however and controlled the game with Butler and Ali Miller proving to be dangerous outlets. Miller had two great chances in quick succession before Butler followed with an opportunity of her own, before levelling in the 31st minute.
Jamila Palmer cleverly intercepted a Huddersfield loose ball and drove towards goal before slotting Butler through, she charged through all that was left was to do was beat the goalkeeper and she coolly slotted home to level the score, scoring her first goal for the club.
Four minutes later and Wolves were in the lead. After Tammi George won a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the penalty area, Morphet stepped up and beautifully curled up and over the wall with power, crashing her effort into the top left of the goal.
However, the home side levelled the scores once more just before the half. Brittany Sanderson picked up a loose header on the edge of the box and sweetly struck a half volley, drilling into the bottom left of the goal.
McNamara’s side started the second-half strong and got themselves back into the lead thanks to Dermody. After George played Laura Cooper into space down the right wing, she found Dermody, who fired a first-time strike, arrowing into the left side of the goal.
At that point the game turned scrappy, with a lot of stoppages due to injuries and fouls, but in the 82nd minute Wolves almost got themselves a fourth. An aimed corner by Cooper found the head of Kelly Darby who nodded on a bullet header towards goal but was denied on the line by Serena Fletcher.
Huddersfield Town piled on the pressure in the 15 minutes of added time but Wolves defended in numbers and held out strongly to secure all three points.
Dan McNamara was proud of his team’s performance admitting it was a difficult place to come, saying: “You can see why this is a tough place to come, not many teams come here and win. The girls showed great character, they just kept on going.
“They’re tenacious, they’re aggressive in the right moments. We talk about being nice people but aggressive and I think they displayed that today.
“They had some really tough moments going 1-0 down just after coming off the bus, I thought we looked leggy but to come back from that and take the lead, to get pegged back again and to come up with a goal like they did I think they were tremendous.
“I think they show bags and bags of character week in week out and to come up with 16 points from a possible 18 is astonishing so I’m just really proud.”
On continuing their unbeaten run
“I’m proud of everyone involved, the staff, the players the people behind the scenes but we don’t think about that, I’m not interested in unbeaten runs, I’m interested in performances and getting points on the board.
“We’ve still got four points to go until we reach our target of 20 and people might say that sounds stupid but we’ve still got to get four points.
“I’m actually delighted the goal conceded record’s out the way. I felt that was just building pressure and we conceded two goals in six games which is ridiculous in itself so I’m glad that’s gone. We’re not thinking about records we’re just thinking about going again.”
On controlling the game second half
“I’ve felt over the past few years we’ve lacked the dark arts of the game and the girls are slowly starting to know what that looks like now.
“We have to slow the game down when we haven’t got the momentum. We have to take moments to try and take away the opposition building momentum and I thought they did that tremendously well today.”
McNamara’s side now have a week-long break before travelling to Community Drive to face Stoke City in a midweek fixture.
“We’ve got a free weekend again. We can go out watch some players, watch some games and then we’ve got a really tough game away against Stoke on Thursday night and it’s really important we go there and give a good account of ourselves and ultimately try not to come away with nothing.”
7/10 Stoke City (A)
10/10 Hull City (H)
24/10 Burnley (H)
31/10 Sheffield FC (A)
5/12 Brighouse Town (H)
Huddersfield Town | Flaherty, Stanfield (Marsden 95), Mallin, Griffiths, Stanley (Ibbotson 58), Montgomery, Sanderson, Sowerby (Elford 52), Marshall, Crossman, Fletcher.
Unused subs | Abbot, Davies.
Wolves | Turner, Cooper (Price 90), Cross, George, Palmer (Dicken 68), Darby (Elsmore 86), Morphet, Miller, Dermody, Butler (Joyce 72), Merrick.
Unused sub | Evans.
By Tom Alston