Warrington Wolverines 1-4 Stockport County LFC - SSE Women's FA Cup
A tradition for the side over the past few years continued as the opening game of the season took place in the FA Cup. The Hatters were hoping to improve on the previous year, when they suffered a shock defeat to Bootle.
It was a good start, with County having the early possession, Chloe Mapp got one on one with keeper early on, but putting ball wide. County continued to pile on the pressure for 25 minutes, having a number of close range efforts, most falling to Mapp and Brusell.
The build up of possession was voided by a surprise goal for Warrington on the 29 minute mark as the Wolverines' striker went around Blackett and tapped into an open goal, giving the home side the lead.
The Hatters continued to press however and a number of chances falling to Mapp, Brusell and Jones just before the break gave the girls in white some hope. Following an attack from the hosts,
Clare O'Reilly picked up the ball from a stray pass and pushed down the left, before cutting inside to play the ball towards the penalty spot where Chloe Mapp rushed onto it. The ball trickled past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net to make it 1-1 at the interval.
HT: WWFC 1-1 COUNTY
In the second half, the Hatters really increased the pressure a level, getting in behind with the pace of O'Reilly, Jones and Wilson. O'Reilly was particularly effective on the left, playing balls into the box with high frequency.
One of those crosses, knocked back to the edge of the box by a defender, was picked up by Jade White who beat the defender and struck the ball into the top left, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Another cross, this time from the right, was whipped in minutes later as Nicola Connor outjumped the Wolverines' defenders and headed the ball (although I've been reliably informed by a number of players that it was a glancing shoulder). This header went up and over an out of position goalkeeper, who clawed to keep the ball out but was unsuccessful - giving County a two-goal cushion.
Katie Brusell then put the final nail in the coffin, as she put the ball in the net from close range, to make it 4-1 to the Hatters.
Another interesting tidbit of information from the dying minutes of the game. Abi Hayes, who typically plays as a CB for the Hatters, was placed on the right of a front three amd created a real nuisance of herself to the opposing defenders, coming close a number of times, as as well putting the ball in the net (only to be disallowed for a foul).
FT: WWFC 1-4 COUNTY
On the whole, a strong showing in the FA Cup. I'm sure Ronnie, the coaching staff and girls will be looking at the cup draw very closely to see who we're drawn against next. We'll let you know as soon as we find out!
Team: Blackett, Wilson, Hancock, Connor, O'Reilly, White, John, Jones, France, Brusell, Mapp.
Subs: Hayes, Webb, Wardle
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