West Bromwich Albion Women 0 Wolves Women 3 (Hughes 9, George 29, J Cross 90)
Jade Cross scored her 150th goal in gold and black as Tammi George’s 35-yard screamer along with an Amber Hughes opener saw Wolves take all three points and secure bragging rights in the latest Black Country derby.
Wolves took the lead early in the contest in Sutton Coldfield through Hughes as the forward calmly slotted the ball round West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Poppy Bastock to give the old gold the start they would have wanted against their local rivals.
Not long after, Wolves keeper Shan Turner was put into action as she confidently saved a shot from a Baggies effort. The visitors kept pressing and making promising passes into the final third, and although West Brom sat deep to begin with, they were struggling to defend effectively.
However, midway through the first-half, West Brom almost equalised as Evie Gallop’s effort hit the crossbar and a George effort at the other end of the pitch minutes later forced Bastock down low to make the save.
But just before the half-hour mark and out of nowhere, George fancied her chances from distance and struck the ball high into the air, over Bastock, and into the back of the net for Wolves’ second.
As the half progressed, West Brom pushed higher up the pitch, but couldn’t find the chance they needed to reduce Wolves’ deficit going into the break.
Half-time | West Brom 0-2 Wolves
The girls in gold and black attacked straight from the first whistle of the second-half, creating several chances and getting forward on the break – just like they did before half-time.
Beth Merrick, one of Wolves’ form players following several key performances in recent weeks, came close to scoring her side’s third, but her free-kick clattered back off the bar.
As the game progressed towards the final whistle, both teams began to tire and the chances were few and far between, but the players continued to battle it out.
But it was the home side who took control of the game in the closing stages, putting Wolves to the test, but Wolves struck a hammer blow to the Baggies in the final moments.
The visitors went on the break and after a scramble in the box, Jade Cross got the last touch to notch her 150th goal for the club and put the finishing touches to a memorable evening.
The three points secured back-to-back Black Country derby wins for Wolves, while pushing Dan McNamara’s side closer to the top of the FAWNL Northern Premier Division.
Full-time | West Brom 0-3 Wolves
Dan McNamara was very proud of his players as they secured another three points to extend their unbeaten league record. He said: “I’m delighted. Tonight, was about winning and that was it.
“I don’t think it was our finest performance of the season. I think we lacked quality in certain moments but after a lengthy layoff in the league, to come back and to respond like they have done is a credit to them.
“I think we were excellent in the first-half, we probably could’ve nicked another one, and the second-half was just about managing the game.
“It was tough on Sunday [against Derby County], mentally and physically, so we just talked about managing the game and playing a bit more on the counter-attack. We managed to come up with that killer third goal in the end, so we showed real quality.”
On Tammi George’s stunner
“I didn’t expect a goal from 35 yards, but we know how key she is to the way we play. She’s a big part of our style of football and credit to her for everything that she’s doing to make herself better and improve.
“I don’t want to individualise, the girls all pulled together today. The togetherness in the group is what is getting us through at the minute because these are tough fixtures.”
Wolves’ trip to AFC Fylde on Sunday will provide another tough test as they face the team currently sat at the top of the league table, despite dropping points against Burnley.
McNamara added: “Tomorrow is all about resting and recuperating the best they can do. Fylde have had their own tough game tonight, so we will be ready for whatever they throw at us.
“The rest of this season now is just about enjoying it.”
30/01 AFC Fylde (A)
06/02 Hull City (A)
13/02 Huddersfield Town (H)
20/02 Boldmere St Michaels (A) BCC
27/02 Nottingham Forest (A)
West Brom: Bastock, Brown, George, Walklett (Dugmore 65), Greaves, Gallop (Congrave 85), Robinson (Mahmood 65), Embley, Stamps, Davies, Green.
Wolves: Turner, E Cross, Darby, Morphet, Merrick, Price (Holmes 58), Cooper, George, Miller, J Cross, Hughes (Gauntlet 69).
Words: Meg Garbutt