JESS DEAKIN TALKS ABOUT WOLVES WOMEN AND THEIR VICTORY AGAINST WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Just our fourth home game of the season sees us welcome local rivals West Brom Women to the New Bucks Head for a midweek derby. Last season, Wolves had a 100% record against the Baggies in the league, winning 2-0 at home and 3-0 away. It wasn’t just these two occasions that Dan McNamara’s side beat them last season, as the sides met in May, battling it out to be crowned Birmingham County Cup champions. Goals from Amber Hughes, Maz Gauntlett, Anna Morphet and Tammi George that day, led the team to their second piece of silverware of the year.
This season, West Brom sit eighth in the league with two wins, two draws and three losses. Shannon Stamps could be Wolves’ biggest threat of the evening, as the forward has four goals in her last seven appearances for the Baggies.
Dan McNamara made two changes to the team that started in Wolves’ 1-0 win against Boldmere on Sunday, with Anna Morphet and Beth Merrick returning to the starting lineup, replacing Ria Elsmore and Laura Cooper.
Wolves XI: Thomas, Morphet, E.Cross, George, Gauntlett (Miller 71’), J.Cross (Cooper 90), Dermody, Hughes (Dicken 90’), Holmes, Johnson, Merrick.
Unused subs: Price, Elsmore.
Wolves came out as winners on Wednesday evening at the New Bucks Head, as goals from Anna Morphet, Jade Cross and Amber Hughes were enough to claim all three points over rivals West Bromwich Albion.
The first chances of the game came from the home side, Helen Dermody and Maz Gauntlett’s efforts were both dealt with by the Baggies back line. The girls seemed to be progressing into the game nicely, however their ruthlessness in front of goal was not at the standard it needed to be.
West Brom had a very small amount of possession during the first half, with Shannon Stamps looking their most promising player on the ball. Our midfielders, Tammi George and Summer Holmes were battling to take control, but it was ex-Wolves player Kate Evans who managed to get the ball up field for Albion. A moment of pressure by the visitors came in the 29th minute – Morphet was there to deal with their threat, calmly dribbling past Albion’s player and releasing the ball into the midfield.
It was West Brom forward Phoebe Warner who was able to take advantage of Wolves’ wobble. Firing a ball past Bec Thomas and into the corner of the goal, on her first attempt. A superb finish that gave the visitors the lead that many would say they did not deserve.
The girls in old gold responded well to Albion’s goal, as birthday girl Beth Merrick provided a collection of fantastic crosses into the box from the left hand side – forwards Gauntlett and Hughes were unable to capitalise.
Just seconds before the half time whistle was blown, referee Ryan Dobson awarded a penalty to Wolves, after he noticed a handball in the box. Set piece superstar Morphet was the player to step up, firing the ball into the top corner – sending keeper McKenzie Haydn-Jones the wrong way. The two sides headed into the break level, however it was Dan McNamara’s girls who had the better of the chances.
Wolves came out for the second half just as they did in the first, this time playing with much more confidence on the ball, not letting the occasion play on their mind. By this point, George and Holmes had full control of the middle of the park, winning lots of battles and sending the ball out wide to Cross and Merrick.
A through ball for Hughes had the potential to put us into the lead, but it was Haydn-Jones who reached it first. It took Wolves just twelve minutes to get the ball into the back of the net – this time it was lifelong supporter Jade Cross who was first to the rebound, after Gauntlett’s initial shot was saved.
Throughout the second half, Albion had a very small amount of possession in front of goal, all of which was dealt with by Emma Cross, Morphet and young star Katie Johnson. The visitors’ best chance of the final 45 minutes came from a set piece, after winning a free kick as Evans was brought down, it was swiftly headed away from goal by Wolves.
Ali Miller came on to replace Gauntlett in the 60th minute, she looked promising for the final half an hour, providing an additional threat to the visitors. By this point in the game, Wolves were very much in control and could have been winning by more than just one goal.
Their hard work was rewarded in the 85th minute, a low cross was sent into the box and it was Hughes who was there to convert, netting her ninth goal of the season.
The game finished 3-1, in favour of Wolves.
Manager McNamara described the occasion during a post match interview as “Amazing, absolutely amazing. The girls were fantastic, absolutely fantastic. We dominated the game from start to finish.”
ARTICLE BY JESS DEAKIN
My name is Jess Deakin, I’m 15 years old, and have been a season ticket holder at wolves for 7 years. For the last 4 seasons, I’ve been following Wolves Women which is where my passion for women’s football began.