West Women bounced back following their 10-0 defeat to Burnley with a last gasp 3-2 win at home to NWWRFL Division One North Champions Sir Tom Finney.
Manager Paul Caddick was forced into a re-shuffle with the absence of several key players but was boosted by the return of Captain Shaun Edmondson who had suffered an Achilles injury in the warm up the previous weekend. There was also the return of striker Demi Noon who’d suffered an ankle injury in the pre-season opener against Bolton Lads & Girls. In addition, Caddick handed debuts to Anna Carson-Parker and Chaneece Reeves with Emily Croasdale on the bench as West switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
On a windy day both sides started nervously as they tried to figure one another out with the visitor showing their champion pedigree in the opening moments. However, it was West who created the game’s first chance when a good drive down the left by Jamilla Hodges saw her burst into the penalty area and fire a hard shot into the keeper’s hands after 12 minutes. Three minutes later a terrific pass from the right by Ellie Caddick picked out but her effort on goal rolled wide of the post.
West continued to search for an early goal as Reeves played in Hodges who saw her low curled effort flash just wide of the post on 17 minutes. On 22 minutes Elizabeth Livesey saw a hard free-kick from 40 yards well saved before a low corner from Caddick picked out Noon at the near post but she fired just wide.
West created two further chances late in the half as Edmondson and Reeves combined with the former firing into the keeper’s hands. Debutant Carson-Parker came close at the end of the first half when she headed another Caddick corner just wide of the post but it remained scoreless at the half.
The second half was just two minutes old when a wonderful pass from Edmondson played in Reeves and she did superbly to draw the keeper and finish coolly under her into the bottom right hand corner amidst complaints of offside from the visitors. The lead last just two minutes however as Samantha Ball brought Sir Tom Finney level with a close range free kick after a trip at the edge of the area by Debbie Price.
West failed to be put off their stride as Hodges was played in by a terrific through ball, before bursting into the box, drawing the keeper only to see her dink fly agonisingly wide of the post on 56 minutes. Hodges would again come close 11 minutes later when she fired another effort into the side netting at the near post as she continued to terrorise the Tom Finney back line.
West rang the changes it was two substitutes who combined as Jess Hartley played a superb hard low cross into the path of Croasdale at the far post and she poked it into the bottom right hand corner. This time the lead lasted just eight minutes, as Sir Tom Finney were awarded a free kick in the exact same position following a second trip by Price; two black marks in an otherwise solid performance for the full back. This time Ball picked the other corner as it flew over the head of Jefferson and into the top corner.
The crowd of 40 would be sent home happy however, and with a grandstand finish, as Reeves collected the ball at the edge of the area, turning and curling a ball into the top corner to hand West an 87th minute winner and a deserved three points.
Team: Jefferson, Price, Joyce, Livesey, Carson-Parker, Caddick, Bracegirdle, Edmondson, Hodges, Reeves, Noon.
Subs: McFadyen, Hartley, Croasdale, Turner.
Goalscorers: Reeves (47, 87), Croasdale (71)