by Callum Doughty
Wolves Women 3 (Jade Cross 3, Anslow 44,77)
Middlesbrough Women 4 (Birtwhistle 4, Scarr 57, Owens 65, Foster 88)
Wolves Women fell to a second successive defeat after they were narrowly beaten 4-3 by Middlesbrough Women in a closely fought encounter at Keys Park.
Wolves will consider themselves unlucky to lose, especially after leading twice during the game.
The home side had a dream start as they took the lead just three minutes into the game. Andrea Whetton, Emma Cross and Jade Cross combined in a free-flowing move which resulted in Jade Cross, pictured, being through one-on-one with the goalkeeper and she kept a cool head to finish and put Wolves in the lead.
Wolves’ lead was short lived however, as Middlesbrough hit back almost immediately. A free kick was floated in from the ‘Boro left-hand side and Anna Birtwhistle rose highest in the box to head home.
Despite the two early goals, there was very little in terms of clear goalscoring opportunities for the rest of the half. Middlesbrough were reduced to shots from distance as the Wolves defence held firm.
Just as half-time was approaching, Wolves retook the lead through left-back Jen Anslow. She found herself in space on the left wing and her cross-come-shot looped over the head of Middlesbrough goalkeeper Laura Wareham to give Wolves a 2-1 half-time lead.
The second-half began very much the same as the first, with both teams creating a number of chances but nobody was able to take advantage.
Middlesbrough Women pulled themselves level just before the hour mark as a long ball over the top found Emily Scarr and she was able to tuck the ball home.
Then less than ten minutes later, Middlesbrough took the lead for the first time in the match. Wolves failed to clear a cross from the left flank which lead to a goalmouth scramble before Bianca Owens appeared to turn the ball home and put Middlesbrough in front.
In an attempt to get back into the game, Wolves’ manager Tim Dudding made two substitutions first replacing Claire Hakeman with Laura McQuilkin and then bringing off Whetton for Courtney Jones.
Wolves then pulled the scores level as Anslow’s cross-come-shot again looped up in the air and over Wareham in the Middlesbrough goal, giving her a second goal of the game.
With ten minutes remaining of normal time, both teams were pushing to find a winner and Wolves looked the most likely to nick a late goal.
However, it was the away side who put themselves in front in the 88th minute. A hopeful ball forward from defender Emma Foster was unfortunately misjudged by Issy Foster in the Wolves goal, the ball flew over her head and bounced over the line, much to the delight of the Middlesbrough players and bench.
Wolves assistant manager Tom Davies felt Wolves deserved at least a point: ‘’A draw would have been fair. It was a hard-fought game and it’s sickening to lose it in the manner that we have.
‘’The only thing is we need is to stay more compact and try and concede less goals. We’ve started to score more goals, and going forward we’re looking really good so we just need to try and work on our defensive shape.’’
* The defeat leaves Wolves Women still without a point in the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division after two games. Next Sunday 3rd September they host Liverpool Marshalls Feds Ladies in the FA Women’s Premier League Cup. The game will be played at Hednesford Town FC, Keys Park with a 2pm kick-off. Admission is £2, or £1 for Wolves season ticket holders and concessions.
Wolves Team: Foster, Hakeman (McQuilkin), Anslow, Bavington, Widdal, Butler (C), Whetton (Jones), E.Cross, Robinson, J.Cross, Haynes (Simpson).
PICTURE: Simon Faulkner