Match Report by NUWFC Reserve Team Manager Gary Appleton
Sunday we played our neighbours Stoke City who are sitting just below us in the league. The game being a bottom of the table clash was never going to be easy but turned out to be a very hard physical game for us with Stoke concentration on late tackles and intimidation to win the points rather than football.
We started the game really bright and were clearly the better footballing side and with us deciding to take the game to stoke by playing 3 up front which was playing dividends with us creating lots of chances one of these we converted 10 minutes before half time from a rare header off Steph Shaw after good wing play and a pinpoint cross off Jade Blackburn.
Again we started the half strongly and with 5 minutes gone we were 2-0 up after great work from Jasmine Petre who held off 2 tackles turned and coolly slotted a pass through to Steph Shaw to power home her second goal of the game. This woke up a lack lustre Stoke side who obviously were told in the half time interval how to play the second half. After some ugly tackles and a few off the ball confrontations we started to lose control of a won game. Stoke managed to score 2 quick goals to level the scores and make the last 15 minutes of the the game uncomfortable to watch with the coaches more worried about the safety of the players and hoping the game did not end in a mass battle. The last 30 seconds of the game saw a blatant Newcastle throw in awarded to stoke and with our players contesting this with the referee Stoke took a quick throw in which caught us napping we only half cleared the ball to a stoke player whose hopeful lob back into our box sailed over our keeper Abbie Laidler for Stoke to take all 3 points when to be honest on the balance of play we would have been disappointed with one.
Positives to be taken from the game was the game all the squad should be proud the way they played but mainly the way they conducted themselves
NUWFC Reserve Team Captain Amy Perch ‘Last weekend the reserves took the long trip down to Stoke. Both teams appeared fairly evenly matched to begin with and it was difficult to predict who would get the break through. As it turned out, following a great passage of play, we managed to get the first goal and go in at the break 1-0 up. Shortly after half time we doubled our lead and were feeling confident that we could see the game out.
Unfortunately, we conceded an easy goal and then Stoke went on to score a second with an unstoppable finish from a corner. The game got a little out of hand in the second half with some dangerous tackles flying in from Stoke. It needed the ref to step up and take control in order to stop someone from getting hurt but she was keen to let the game flow and didn’t seem to want to get involved. Some of the tackles from Stoke were far beyond fair and towards the latter stages of the game we found ourselves having to concentrate more on keeping our cool and not reacting, than playing our football.
We were devastated to once again be beaten in the last minute of the game but we must look upon the last two games as a learning curve. I am proud of every single one of the girls who played last weekend and how the way we conducted ourselves was a credit to the club. We definitely won the moral battle but unfortunately that doesn’t bring home the points. Heads up lasses, we go again this weekend.’
NUWFC Goals by Steph Shaw