REPORT: Wetherby Athletic Ladies 2-3 Brayton Belles LFC
Battling Athletic Fall Just Short In Belles Rematch.
A superb second half display by the Tangerines saw Wetherby fall just short of pulling back a 3-1 half-time deficit in this rearranged County Cup match against Brayton Belles.
The original game had been abandoned after 80 minutes, with the Belles leading 2-1, following a nasty injury to Wetherby’s midfielder Jenna Catherine. However, just as in that game, Athletic’s improving side gave a good account of themselves in what Assistant Manager Steve Carmody commented was “...another good run out for the Ladies which shows we are heading in the right direction.”
With a strong wind blowing in their favour, Brayton launched their first attack soon after the match started and a free kick just outside the area saw Athletic’s goalkeeper Jane Potter show safe hands to collect.
With just three minutes on the clock, the Belles took the lead when pressure down the right side of Wetherby’s area saw a high ball arch over Potter’s head and into the far corner of the net.
Amie Slinger was close to getting the equaliser in the 11th minute when a hurried clearance by the Belles smashed into her midriff and wrong footed the keeper, however, the ball ended up stopping the wrong side of the post.
Wetherby were enjoying a good period of pressure and a superbly weighted flick by Jade Holt released Lucy Crann. Drawing the keeper off her line, Crann shot low past the custodian, but turned away frustrated as her effort just failed to hit the target. Minutes later, she hit a powerful half volley just inside the area, but this time the keeper managed to block and clear.
Chances were starting to flow for Wetherby and a pass by Rachel Carmichael allowed Nat Shaw to run down the left, putting in a good cross, the foot race between Crann and the keeper saw the custodian get to the ball moments before the striker.
Brayton doubled their lead in the 18th minute with a well worked goal. Moving the ball across the area, space appeared and a precision strike saw a low shot beat Potter into the corner of the goal.
Looking dangerous on the attack, Athletic got themselves back into the game on the 23rd minute when Slinger connected with Crann’s cross to divert the ball past the stranded keeper.
Forcing Wetherby to defend, Brayton started to get back on top and it took a brave block by Jemma Carmody to prevent a clear strike on goal, whilst minutes later interventions by Charlotte Frankland, Karen Nixon and Georgia Beer were also required to stop the visitor’s from shooting.
Athletic were being forced to play a counter attack game and a quick break through the middle saw Sam Budd pick out Crann. Turning her marker, she hit a fierce shot that canoed off the knee of a covering defender, removing the sting and the ball looped into the arms of the keeper, who winced in pain as she landed.
With seconds left of the half, Wetherby found themselves 3-1 down when a free-kick from just outside the area caught the defence flat footed and the attacker got to the ball before Potter to head home.
There was a different vibe about the home side as they kicked off the second half and within minutes, they had nearly pulled one back when Holt and Carmichael worked the ball to Crann. Twisting free of her marker, her shot wasn’t collected cleanly by the substitute keeper, who managed to deflect it just over the crossbar for a corner.
Wetherby surged forward again and Budd freed Shaw down the right wing, cutting in she rolled her cross into the middle of the area, but no orange shirt had gambled and Brayton were able to clear.
There was a heart in mouth moment in the 54th minute when a headed clearance by Frankland spun over Potter and bounced off the top of the crossbar before landing just behind the goal. From the corner, Potter produced a solid punch to clear her ranks, before a shot from distance flew wide of the goal.
It was game on again in the 58th minute when Crann got the goal she deserved. Picking up Carmichael’s pass in midfield, she went on a surging run before placing the ball wide of the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net.
Brayton nearly re-established their two-goal margin in the 67th minute when a superb flowing movement took the ball to the feet of their striker, just as she looked to shoot another well-timed tackle by Carmody put her off and she could only drill her effort wide of Potter’s post.
Since Wetherby’s second goal, the game had become a much more open affair and play was quickly switching between the two sides. Carmody and Beer both produced quality blocks to deny the Belles, whilst the visitor’s defence also prevented efforts from Crann and Carmichael from registering.
You sensed it wasn’t going to be Athletic’s day when a scramble just on the edge of Brayton’s area saw shots by Holt and Slinger blocked before the ball spun into the path of Crann, as she shot, her supporting leg seemed to give way and the ball cleared the crossbar by the narrowest of margins leaving the striker grounded and the Brayton defence heaving a sigh of relief!
The Belles showed why they are a dangerous team with nine minutes to go and it took a reflex save by Potter to turn a snap shot, after some lovely build up play, away from goal.
The match finished with a fine run down the left flank by Beer, however despite trying to break free from the attentions of two defenders, she was unable to get her cross in and with that, the referee called time on what had been a very entertaining game.
Congratulations to Brayton who progress to the next round, they have provided us with two games that has seen some quality football on display and we wish them well. Regarding us, another display that shows signs of cohesion and progression throughout the team. Hopefully we will be able to take this forward into the league games in a few weeks.
Report by Pete Arnett.
The Red Lion Wetherby Player of the Match (chosen by Pete Arnett): Difficult one this week as there were some good displays. Lucy Crann deserved her goal and it was good to see her return to the team following her back injury. Georgia Beer also looks like a good player and produced some solid defending, but for this one I thought captain Jemma Carmody shaded it. Some lovely blocks and well-timed tackles stopped the Belles in their tracks on multiple occasions and she was always providing support and encouragement for the youngsters that will pay dividends as the season progresses.
Post-Match Reaction from Assistant Manager Steve Carmody - “For the first 15-20 minutes we’ve not really been switched on well enough and have probably cost ourselves a couple of goals which has put us under pressure. We have fought back to 3-1 at half time and it’s fair to say that we dominated the second half and should have converted a few more chances then we did. It was a very positive second half and we got more physical than in previous matches and it was nice to see and hopefully we can take it forward into the next few games and build on it.”
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