Huddersfield Town 4-3 Nottingham Forest
Kate Mallin, Lucy Sowerby (3)
Sowerby Hattrick Seals Incredible Cup Comeback
Lucy Sowerby scored a hattrick as Huddersfield Town Women came from 3-1 down at half time to beat Nottingham Forest Women 4-3 in the determining round of the FA WNL Cup.
After throwing away a two-goal margin against Fylde in the season opener a week earlier, the tables were turned as Town had to dig deep to overcome a talented and physical Forest side.
Isobel Sullivan did brilliantly down the Forest right before cutting the ball back between two Huddersfield defenders to lay it on a plate for Precious Hamilton was obliged in passing the ball home from eight yards out.
But this sprang Town into life. Sarah Danby spread the ball wide from the restart to find Kate Mallin. The winger, who scored the opener against Fylde last week, beat her marker with ease before floating the ball over the ‘keeper and into the back of the net from a tight angle.
The home fans then expected their side to go ahead, but the visitors struck in decisive manner again.
And Sullivan was at the heart of the attack once more. The attacking midfielder did brilliantly to get her shot away inside a crowded penalty area and Beth Stanfield could only help the ball into the back of the net as she tried desperately to prevent it from crossing the line.
For the rest of the first half, it was all Forest, with young goalkeeper Olivia Clark taking heavy fire in the Terriers’ goal. Then, sure enough, Hamilton got her second.
Sullivan swung a corner in from the right which was only half-cleared to the edge of the area and the striker fired a brilliant shot into the roof of the net to give the away side a two-goal lead at the break.
Spirits were not high in the Huddersfield camp, but whatever was said in the dressing room most certainly worked – and it was Lucy Sowerby who took the game by the scruff of its neck.
Having seen her captain Mallin make it two goals in as many games this season, Town’s no.14 decided to do the same.
The ball sat up perfectly twenty-five yards from goal and, after seeing her initial effort come crashing back off the post, was proactive in following her shot into the box and nodding home from close range.
From that moment on, there was only one team in the ascendancy.
Not content with grabbing one, Sowerby went in search of a second, which came shortly after.
The introduction of Laura Elford alongside Sowerby on the frontline gave the hosts a focal point to hit in the air, whilst also creating more space for her strike partner to run into – and they made great use of it.
Quick feet drew a foul on the edge of the area down the Huddersfield right as the hosts continued to apply growing pressure. With a host of bodies, Elford included, the defence failed to mark Sowerby and Sarah Danby’s pinpoint cross gave her the simple task of heading the ball into the back of net to tie the scores at three-a-piece.
Perhaps the only criticism of the Terriers’ attacking line is that they try to walk the ball into the net, taking too many touches in tight areas, but those opinions were quashed when Sowerby collected the ball just outside the area.
The crowd bade for her to striker first time, but Town’s top scorer danced beyond two defenders before firing a crisp left-footed shot beyond the despairing ‘keeper to complete a quite remarkable comeback.
For the remaining ten minutes, the hosts could, and probably should, have scored more with Elford and Danby seeing efforts curl just off target and, despite Hamilton’s speculative long-range effort with just minutes remaining, the win became a rather comfortable one.
Had Town crashed out of the competition, harsh words would have been shared in the dressing room, but instead they travel to Loughborough Foxes next Sunday in high spirits after another dramatic cup comeback as they look to pick up their first league win of the season.
Match report by Jack Walker
Match ball sponsor for the game was Nigel Wimpenny of Yorkshire Weed Control and he’s pictured with Sarah Danby