Our women’s team picked up the three points against Mansfield Town Ladies yesterday in their first home match of the new league campaign at Oasis Academy Winteringham.
Manager Hayley Cox made two changes to the team that suffered a last-minute defeat last week with Ellie Wilson making her first appearance of the season with Lily Jacklin dropping to the bench.
The visitors came into the match off the back of a 3-0 opening weekend victory and the Mariners went into it looking to put last week’s defeat behind them and Cox’s team started brightly. Moving the ball quickly, the first opening game five minutes in when Beth Wharton went through on goal only for defensive pressure to force her effort wide.
Two Town penalty appeals were turned down by the referee, the first in the 22nd minute when Wilson’s trickery got her behind the left-back before going down over a lazy challenge. That incident, along with another challenge on Wilson around ten minutes later, were waved away.
The third appeal, though, saw the referee point to the spot after a Mansfield arm stopped Wilson’s cross from the right. Eden Pedersen stepped up to slot the ball past Mansfield’s keeper to open the scoring.
Holding the lead at the interval, the Mariners started the second half strongly and went close following good play from Bethany Wharton shortly before Pedersen picked up a booking following a late challenge.
An injury to Alisha DeJonge saw Laura Robinson make her Town debut, joining the action shortly after the hour mark. The visitors pushed for an equaliser and looked dangerous from set pieces, flashing a header wide and utilising their height advantage to no avail.
In the dying moments and after resolute defence from the Mariners, Mansfield threw one last attack into our half in the 90th minute when a volley struck from the edge of the area hit Harriet Dalton’s arm. Complaints from Town fell on deaf ears and the decision stood with Mansfield’s number 21 stepping up to take the penalty.
The effort from the spot, however, hit the inside of the post and, after clearing the opposite one, Mansfield were only able to hit the side-netting with the rebound.
There was still time for Wharton to make her way into the referee’s notebook after giving away a free-kick, picking up a yellow for delaying the restart, but the Mariners held out for the three points – our first of the campaign.
Player of the Match – Danielle Brighton
Line Up – Chloe Gray, Harriet Dalton, Olivia Kershaw, Sophie Gray, Leah Wray, Eden Pedersen, Danielle Brighton, Pariss Welsh, Ellie Wilson, Bethany Wharton, Alisha DeJonge
Substitutes – Evie Revell, Saskia Rawbone, Laura Robinson, Jade Appells, Lily Jacklin
Eden Pedersen – “I’m happy to contribute with the goal but this win is from every single player out there, they all fought so hard for the shirt for 95 minutes, I’m so proud of every single one of my teammates.”
Danielle Brighton – “I’m so proud of everyone out there today and how we worked for each other, no-one shirking their responsibility on that pitch. Each week we are showing the other teams who we are, how we want to play football and that we are to be taken seriously in this league.
“Overall, we’re very happy with the first three points of the season, the work does not stop here and we will go again, go training and work on a few things. I’m sure the management have picked up on during this fixture to improve more so reading and looking forward to our next contest.”
Hayley Cox – “It was an outstanding performance from everyone in the team. They gave heart and desire throughout what was a game of two halves. We dominated the first half and could have maybe had another penalty but we have to shake that off and we kept pushing and managed to put one away to take a well-earned lead into half-time.
“Mansfield came out fighting in the second half, putting a lot of pressure on our back line. We had to change tactics slightly as we looked to stay more compact and then use our pace on the counter.
“We were disappointed at the awarding of their penalty but we were lucky that they struck the post and we picked up the three points.
“Chloe Gray was immense in goal again and the team will take great confidence from this result. We will look to use it to hopefully come away from our next match with something.
“We are starting to find our feet in this league after the jump up and it’s nice to see us competing at the next level.”
Grimsby Town Women’s next fixture is away against Chesterfield Ladies on Sunday, kicking off at 2pm at Chesterfield Panthers Rugby Club.