Wolves 3 (Joyce 5, Dermody 75, Riley 76) Hull 2 (Bott 44, Smith 73)
Wolves Women came from behind to beat Hull City Ladies in a five-goal thriller at Compton Park to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
Two goals in quick succession from Lauren Riley and Helen Dermody earned all three points for Dan McNamara’s side after Emily Smith had given the visitors the lead with 73 minutes on the clock.
Wolves matched the weather and enjoyed a bright start to the first half at Compton Park and within the first five minutes they took the lead. The old gold worked the ball out well to Laura Cooper on the right side and her pin point cross found the head of Leo Joyce who nodded in from close range – her second goal in two games.
McNamara’s side piled on the attempts from that point, with Beth Merrick and Cooper pinning back the Hull City defence – they swung in a handful of dangerous crosses to try add a second but to no prevail.
Joyce then had a chance to double her tally but scuffed the shot from close range. A great ball sprayed from the back by Anna Morphet found the feet of Cooper who drilled a low cross from the right towards the striker’s feet, but Joyce’s attempt dropped narrowly wide of the right post.
In the dying minutes of the first-half Hull won a free-kick deep in their own half. Liberty Bott lifted a deep cross into the penalty area, Shan Turner misjudged the cross and saw the ball loop over her and into the net, levelling the scores just before the break.
The second-half became a lot more contested with both sides battling hard in midfield and creating little chances, which led to Hull taking the lead. Emily Smith picked up the ball on the left and cut inside, and with some fancy footwork she opened up space inside the box, before curling beyond Turner into the right of the net, giving the away side the lead.
Looking to respond, Wolves pushed for an equaliser with Tammi George coming the closest with an effort which was beaten to a cross at the far post by the defence.
However, in the 75th minute the home side scored a two goals in quick succession to take the lead to flip the contest on its head. Dermody levelled the scores after Riley flicked on a cross to the feet of the Wolves captain for day, who smashed her shot low and inside the near post of Abigail Wallace.
Then, second-half substitute Riley added her name to the scoresheet and gave Wolves the lead a minute later. A brilliant deep pass by Cooper found the path of Riley who charged through Hull’s defence, and with the ball bobbling, she delicately dinked the ball past the oncoming Wallace scoring her first goal for the club.
A plethora of free-kicks from Hull in the final minutes added to a nervy ending for McNamara’s side who finished the match 3-2 victors.
Head coach Dan McNamara was disappointed by his team’s performance but was pleased with the result, saying: “It’s hard to put that match into words but credit to Hull City. For half an hour at the start of the match I thought we were absolutely unplayable but if you don’t take your chances then unfortunately it always gives the opposition an opportunity.
“It’s a disappointing performance from thirty minutes onwards for us but I say it week in, week out these girls don’t know when they’re beaten. To go on and get three points after being 2-1 down is absolutely superb. These girls are a credit to the football club and sometimes you’ve just got to win ugly and that was evident today.”
On his message at half-time
“I told them if you don’t take your chances then teams will punish you, especially at the level we play at. We can’t have five, six, seven opportunities on goal and not convert them.
“We’ve got young players who are finding their way, so we expect them to make mistakes but to go on and win the game with Lauren Riley coming off the bench and winning it for us, that was good to see.”
Praise for Riley and Joyce
“Leo [Joyce] has had a hard 90 minutes and a 70 against two good oppositions over the last four days and she’s still only 16 years-old so she’s finding her way. She popped up with a goal early on and she’s missed a couple of opportunities which I know she’ll be frustrated with.
“I knew the quality of Lauren [Riley], people have been after her over the summer, people want to take her on loan and there’s a reason why we didn’t let her. We knew there would be a time when we needed her and she’s come off the bench today and won us the game, she ought to be really proud of herself and I’m delighted for her.”
Wolves take on Burnley at the CKW Stadium in a fortnight. McNamara commented on the sporadic schedule before facing Burnley, he said: “The games come thick and fast and are intense, they take it out of you. We can head into the next 14-day period and just relax a little, get people back from injury, Amber and Jade are nearly there and should be ready for Burnley. The break has come at a good time for us.
“Burnley are another tough encounter. I know they’ve had a tough start, we were up there watching them a couple weeks ago and they’re still a great outfit with great players, as is every team in this league. It’ll be a great encounter we look forward to welcoming them and we’ll plan accordingly, kick on and hope to get another positive result.”
24/10 Burnley (H)
31/10 Sheffield (A)
5/12 Brighouse Town (H)
12/12 Loughborough Lightning (A)
16/1 Middlesbrough (A)
Wolves | Turner, Cooper, Cross, George, Holmes (Evans 90), Morphet, Dermody, Butler (Riley 56), Joyce (Dicken 68), Elsmore (Price 74), Merrick
Unused subs | Dickens
Hull City |Wallace, Blundell (Walby 30), Oxley, Dawson, Langford, Tanser, Martin (Bowman 83), Bott, Smith, Thompson, Ackroyd
Unused subs | Gray, Sellars
Report by Tom Alston