Goals from Sarah Wilson, Sarah Eadon, Megan Pyper and Stacy Crooks helped Newcastle to a 4-2 win over Bradford City in the final game of their Championship winning campaign
Goals from Caroline Omboyi and Kirsty Russell put the pressure on the Toon, who lost Carla Armstrong late to a terrible looking injury. But Newcastle were able to hold out for the win.
Newcastle started the brighter side, controlling possession and creating multiple chances. In the 4th minute midfield Charlotte Potts had the game’s first attempt on goal, but her 25 yard shot was fired well wide. Bradford registered their first attempt on 10 minutes, as striker Clare Fawcett fired on goal; her shot was easily saved by Newcastle ‘keeper Laura Wareham. Alice Teasdale was the next Newcastle player to take aim from long range, but her shot looped wide from 20 yards out.
Newcastle looked to have broken the deadlock on 13 minutes after midfielder Potts played an exquisite through ball to the feet of Sarah Eadon on the left wing. She switched the ball on to her right foot, before powerfully striking towards goal. Unfortunately for the home side, her strike passed the wrong side of the right upright. Newcastle fashioned another golden chance on 23 minutes. Sarah Eadon was once again played in behind the Bradford defence. Her cross was just millimetres from picking out Striker Stacy Crooks at the back post, but the prolific striker was unable to reach the header.
Luck seemed to be favouring Bradford as Newcastle came forward in wave after wave of attack. On the half hour mark, Potts once again took aim from 25 yards, this time her shot cannoned of the crossbar. A minute later Megan Pryor broke the offside trap, but she saw her shot saved by Bradford ‘keeper Melanie Garside-Wright. A free kick on 33 minutes caused the Bradford defence more problems. A wonderful ball in from Charlotte Potts just evaded the head of United Captain Sarah Wilson at the back post.
Just when it seemed the goal would never come, Newcastle took the lead in controversial circumstances. After another wonderful corner the ball fell to Sarah Wilson at the back post, her shot found the back of the net via a deflection or two. The Bradford defence claimed a handball by Megan Pyper as the ball headed goalwards, but the away sides protests fell on deft ears. Newcastle continued to create as the clock ran towards halftime. Stacy Crooks had the best chance of the lot, but her strike, destined for the top corner, was saved by the Bradford ‘keeper. Just before the half, Captain Sarah Wilson escaped a yellow card after a cynical challenge on a Bradford player.
Newcastle had looked to have made it two within seconds of the restart. Jess Havelock played a wonderful diagonal ball from the left-hand side. Sarah Eadon, now on the right wing, beat the right-back to the cross, but she was unable to keep her shot down from 3 yards out. Bradford then won a corner on 47 minutes, their first of the game. Left back Kerrie Zserdicky whipped in the cross, and centre forward Caroline Omboyi headed home to give the away side a shock equaliser.
Bradford’s joy was short lived, as Newcastle restored their lead less than 60 seconds later. Newcastle won a freekick just inside the Bradford half. Captain Wilson fired the ball into the box, where golden girl Stacy Crooks headed goalwards. ‘Keeper Garside-Wright made a decent save, but fumbled the ball into the path of Sarah Eadon, who hit the back of the net to put Newcastle back ahead.
Megan Pyper made it 3-1 on 56 minutes with the goal of the game. Jess Havelock’s throw-in found its way to the feet of Pyper on the edge of the box. She shifted the ball passed two defenders before placing a shot passed the diving ‘keeper. Minutes later the referee turned down two very good appeals for penalties for the home side. Firstly defender Emma Dobson slipped and seemed to handle the ball. In the aftermath of this incident, Pyper was brought down by two defenders, but the referee waved the appeals away. Pyper was played through once again on 60 minutes, as Stacy Crooks through ball found the striker. Pyper’s shot was well saved once again by Garside-Wright in the Bradford goal.
Bradford’s next chance came from a Newcastle corner. After the ball was cleared, Bradford countered in frenetic fashion. In a matter of seconds the ball fell at the feet of striker Omboyi who chipped and onrushing Wareham. Unfortunately for Bradford, the ball dropped the wrong side of the upright. Bradford nearly broke again two minutes later, but a last ditch tackle from Carla Armstrong saved a certain goa scoring chance. The away side had now begun to build pressure. They won another free-kick deep in Newcastle territory; however Paige Crosby’s ball evaded everyone.
After substitutions from both sides, Bradford won their second corner of the game. Another great cross from Crosby landed on the head on defender Kirsty Russell at the back post, who converted passed Wareham to make it 3-2. Bradford now believed they could get something out of the game, and began to push women forward. This allowed Newcastle to hit Bradford on the counter substitutes Charlotte Wilson and Jade Blackburn causing the tired City defence problems. Bradford had the chance to score on 84 minutes, as two Newcastle players lay injured, including the ‘keeper, Bradford played on but Russell fired wide from 20 yards out.
One of the injured players was Centre-Back Carla Armstrong, who had jammed her knee in a challenge. The defender was stretchered off in some pain and was taken to hospital, a terrible injury to end the season on.
Two minutes into the substantial amount of injury time, Bradford won another corner, their third, having scored from the first two. The ball was played in by Zserdicky, but claimed well by Laura Wareham. There was just enough time for Newcastle to receive a penalty in the last minute of injury time. Jess Havelock went on a typical mazy run, only to be tripped by the tired Bradford defence. Stacy Crooks stepped up to fire the penalty home via the ‘keeper, to score Newcastle’s 4th, and her 39th of the season.
This win brings to a close a wonderful league campaign for Newcastle United. The final game of the season is in the County Cup, where Newcastle United play Newcastle UnitedReserves on Monday 23rd April, 7pm KO at Blue Flames Sports Club, Whitley Park.
Best wishes go out to Carla Armstrong, and hope she makes a quick and speedy recovery.
NUWFC XI – Laura Wareham, Courtney Lock, Jess Havelock, Carla Armstrong (Alice Stroyan 87), Sarah Wilson ©, Charlotte Potts, Jess Foster, Stacy Crooks, Megan Pyper (Jade Blackburn 67), Alice Teasdale, Sarah Eadon (Charlotte Wilson 67).
Women of the Match – Sarah Wilson
Newcastle United Women’s Football Club Reserves 3 v Lincoln Ladies Reserves 0
NUWFC Goals by Steph Shaw (2), Amy Perch (1)
Reserve Team Manager Gary Appleton said “At last we have got the result our performance deserved from the warm ups before the game, to the team talk before the kick off, this was a game that coaches dream off because watching and listening to the teams attitude and the togetherness of these players before the game gave us coaches that feeling that you don’t get very often in football of ” WE ARE GOING TO WIN TODAY ” they give us the confidence to say and feel that, and the team did not disappoint from start to finish there was only going to be one winner so well done to every one today and lets take the same fight and attitude into our next game and as the coach i can only wish for the same feeling on Monday 23rd April”.
NUWFC Reserve Team Captain Amy Perch said “We are absolutely delighted with the three points today – The team showed great character and never stopped grafting. Not only was this our biggest win of the season but just as importantly, our first clean sheet. A brilliant effort from all involved, we’re pleased to be finishing the season so strongly.
Match report by NUWFC Player Steph Shaw
Newcastle went into today’s game not really knowing what to expect, having suffered defeat against Lincoln the last time. Newcastle were without key players Hannah Marshall, Cara Moran, Ellie Hall and Lauren Davison from the squad. As a result, Newcastle were down to the bare minimum, 11 players, which included goalkeeper Michaela Raine playing right-back. Coach Adam Shaw was also missing due to other commitments.
The first half, in fairness to both sides, was a very equal half, with Lincoln probably having the most of the opportunities; however, it was Newcastle striker Steph Shaw had the first chance of the game. Shaw had a one on one opportunity but placed her shot just wide of the upright. Lincoln then had several golden opportunities, a few one on one chances, and they hit the post, but could not get back on level terms before half-time. The Newcastle back four did very well all half (and all match,) getting first to the ball in the air and getting stuck in. Although Lincoln should have arguably put a few opportunities away, chances were cut down dramatically from the hard working back four.
At the other end, Newcastle’s midfield created some good chances for Shaw and Jasmine Petre, playing in some superb balls over the top and around their defence. Sam Campion and Miriam Neaimeh were strong in the centre, and Steph Lorraine was a constant thorn in the Lincoln side, running down the right wing, whilst providing great support at the back for Michaela Raine.
In the second, an early goal was just what Newcastle needed, and demoralized the Lincoln side. The goal came about from another great ball played in from the midfield, to which, Shaw got herself in to a one on one situation. Shaw took the ball around the keeper and placed it home for the 1-0 lead. This goal set the standard for the rest of the game, and Lincoln seemed defeated from this point on. Newcastle continued to pile the pressure on, but made sure that they stayed strong defensively, Amy Perch guiding the back four. Kayleigh Appleton got stuck into every tackle and not much got past her on the left hand side, the same with Robyn Parker.
The second goal came soon after the first. After some great closing down from Jasmine Petre, the Lincoln ‘keeper kicked the ball out, but not far enough, reaching Shaw. Shaw took it past one defender and slotted it past the keeper to make it 2-0. This goal could not have happened if it wasn’t for Jasmine’s constant hard work at closing down. By this point, Lincoln were down and out of the game. With only ten minutes to go Newcastle were comfortable and just trying to see the game through, creating one or two more chances if they could. Michaela Raine took her place in goal and swapped with Abigail Laidler.
The third and final goal came in the last 10 minutes. Leo Kennedy had done some great running down the left wing, and this time she took the ball past the Lincoln right-back, who was too slow with the tackle and brought Leo down for the penalty. Captain duties, Amy Perch stepped up with confidence to the ball and hit the ball comfortably past their keeper, a shot that she couldn’t even dive to attempt a save.
All in all, a great result for the team. The reserves seem to have found their feet at last, and are playing well. It is just a shame it is so late on in the season.