Our Women’s team fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat courtesy of a 90th minute goal against Rotherham United Women on the opening day of the 2023/24 East Midlands Women’s Premier Division season.
Manager Hayley Cox introduced two debutants to the starting eleven with Sophie Grey making her debut after her summer transfer from Harworth Colliery Ladies. Pariss Welsh made a return to competitive league football after some time away following a stint at local rivals Grimsby Borough. Another two summer arrivals were named on the bench in Jade Appells and Sakia Rawbone. Lily Jacklin’s strong form in preseason earned her a starting place as one of the three attackers.
Rotherham started the better of the two sides and had the first shot on goal after eight minutes. An attack down the Grimsby left ended with a shot being fired wide of the target.
The hosts continued to attack but the Grimsby defence and midfield were producing a compact display not giving the home side anything more than a few speculative long-range shots on goal.
In the 27th minute, a battling Eden Pedersen won the ball in the centre of the park, she found Bethany Wharton with a pass 55 yards out, with time to turn Wharton saw the Rotherham goalkeeper off her line and unleased a wicked drive which crashed off the underside of the bar, seemingly bouncing over the line, celebrations where cut short and appeals denied, as the referee waved play on with game remaining goalless.
The first half then petered out with few chances for either side, Rotherham had more possession of the ball but were unable to work any openings against a strong Town defence.
Grimsby turned to the bench at the break as Evie Revell took the place of Jacklin. A tactical tweak which saw the Mariners gain more possession and territory in the game. The wiry Alisha DeJonge continued to be a menace to the Rotherham back line with some last-ditch tackles only stopping clear one-on-one opportunities.
Rotherham still remined dangerous going forward, the Millers had a close-range header sail wide of the mark before a fantastic save from Chloe Gray kept the scores level.
With the clock winding down the referee signalled for five minutes of added time with both teams fully deserving of sharing the spoils but that wasn’t to be.
A loose ball picked up in midfield was struck hopefully from some 30 yards out, a fortuitous deflection saw the effort bounce beyond the reach of the Gray who had not put a foot wrong all game giving the hosts a late lead.
The Mariners pushed for an equaliser in the final stages of proceedings with stoppage-time substitute Jade Appells seeing a volley go just wide of the target. Rotherham hung onto their slender lead taking all three points in the season’s curtain raiser.
Grimsby Town Women are back in action on Sunday for their first home game of the new season against Mansfield Town at Oasis Academy Wintringham, kick off 2pm.
Chloe Gray, Darcie Proud, Olivia Kershaw, Sophie Gray, Leah Wray, Eden Pedersen, Danielle Brighton, Pariss Welsh, Lily Jacklin, Bethany Wharton, Alisha DeJonge
Subs: Evie Revell, Saskia Rawbone, Harriet Dalton, Jade Appells.