JESS DEAKIN REPORTS ON WOLVES WOMEN 0-2 WEST HAM WOMEN
The game people have been waiting for, the tie that some may say is the biggest fixture in Wolves Women’s history. A packed out New Bucks Head welcomed Women’s Super League outfit West Ham United, in the fourth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. Currently, West Ham sit seventh in their league having picked up five wins and seven losses. This puts the Hammers two divisions above Wolves, meaning they are a fully professional side, whose players are paid to play football and train full time. West Ham’s squad has an abundance of international talent, including Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold and England youth internationals Grace Fisk and Lucy Parker. It’s not only their players, who have represented at the highest level, their manager – Paul Konchesky – played for a number of top teams, including Liverpool and Leicester City.
Dan McNamara made four changes to the team that started in Wolves’ 2-0 defeat to Fylde back on the 8th January. Northern Ireland international Shan Turner returned to goal, as well as Laura Cooper, Anna Price and Ali Miller all dropping to the bench – being replaced by Tammi George, Summer Holmes and Beth Merrick. 16 year old Darcy Cartwright also joined the senior team, making her first appearance on the bench. Wolves were without star striker Amber Hughes, who is out with an ankle injury.
Wolves XI: Turner, Morphet, E.Cross, George, Gauntlett, J.Cross, Dermody, Holmes, Johnson, Toussaint, Merrick.
Substitutes: Cooper, Price, Elsmore, Thomas, Dicken, Miller, Taho, Cartwright.
West Ham XI: Arnold, Evans, Snerle, Atkinson, Longhurst, Parker, Filis, Fisk, Cissoko, Houssein, Flannery
Substitutes: Hillyerd, Smith, Shimizu, Stringer, Brynjarsdottir, Hayashi, Asseyi.
Wolves put out a fighting performance from the first minute, offering a more defensive display than what they’re used to.
West Ham started the game strong, with a large proportion of possession being in their favour. Kate Longhurst and Lisa Evans offered a fine display of football down the right wing – however youngster Katie Johnson was able to keep them both at bay. The togetherness of Wolves’ back line began to shine through, as they managed to keep the Hammers chances down to a minimum.
Wolves’ first chance of the game came in the fifteenth minute, as Beth Merrick found herself in space, and went on a storming run down the left hand side, however the ball was intercepted by French international Hawa Cissoko. The Hammers had their best chance of the half, a matter of minutes later, as Evans received the ball just yards away from the goalline, but was unable to convert and sent the ball over the bar.
Centre backs Emma Cross and Anna Morphet managed to keep the home team in the game, continually dealing with the threat of West Ham’s attacking players, as they cleared shots from Mel Filis, Evans and Longhurst within quick concession – keeping the scoreline level heading into half time.
West Ham came out fighting in the second half, gaining a corner after just seconds of play, however Maz Gauntlett was able to clear the danger and sent a fantastic ball up field for Destiney Toussaint to run on to.
Shan Turner’s experience began to shine through, making three saves in a matter of seconds, successively seeing out the danger of the Hammers attacking abilities. After a tough start to the second half, Wolves began to grow into the game, showing some promising pieces of play.
Konchesky made his first change at the hour mark – with Filis making way for Viviane Asseyi. Another two changes were made not long after, this time it was Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Kirsty Smith coming on, replacing Lucy Parker and Lisa Evans. Wolves also made a change, as forward Maz Gauntlett made way for Ali Miller.
Substitute Brynjarsdottir made an instant impact, as she capitalised on a defensive mistake, sending the ball to the left of Turner and into the back of the net. The goal came at the wrong time for Wolves, who were beginning to show some positive signs at the other end of the pitch.
West Ham’s second came just six minutes later. Longhurst made an impressive run down the wing and sent a strong cross into the box – unfortunately, Johnson’s attempt to clear, ended in the back of the net – extending the visitors lead.
After a fighting performance throughout, Wolves saw themselves on the end of a narrow defeat, and exit the FA Cup in the fourth round.
Wolves Women are back in league cup action on Sunday 5th February, this time welcoming Huddersfield Town to Telford. Season Ticket Holders can attend free of charge on presentation of the smartcard.
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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.