Match report by Oliver Eaton
It was a night to remember for the Terriers as they blew Sheffield FC apart with a 6-0 win at the ‘Home of Football Stadium; moving up to fourth in the league.
Goals from Laura Elford (2), Brittany Sanderson (2), Kate Mallin and Ria Montgomery meant Huddersfield Town Women secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season. It was also Town’s first clean sheet since the opening game against Nottingham Forest, and Becky Flaherty’s first this campaign. Huddersfield came into this game following a 5-1 win against Stoke City and were looking to continue their winning run against annual strugglers’ Sheffield FC.
Town started the game the brighter, having great success down the wings. Mallin created various chances in the opening half hour both for herself and for Lucy Sowerby in the box however most chances saw the ball go out of play or smashing onto the crossbar.
There were good runs from Beth Ibbotson, Georgia Marshall and Serena Fletcher who all created chances following winning the ball at the back. Northern Ireland international Flaherty, in goal, also made some brave saves with the best coming before the half hour mark when she bravely collected the ball from the on-rushing Sheffield attacker in a one-on-one situation.
Sanderson opened the scoring in the 37th minute. Utilising the wing again, former Sheffield player Brooke Marsden sent a dangerous cross into the box with Sanderson connecting with a diving header to break the deadlock. This goal clearly restored Town’s confidence as they went on to create more close chances throughout the first half.
On the stroke of half time Mallin broke through the Sheffield defence to face the goalkeeper one-on-one. There was only going to be one winner as Mallin tapped the ball to the goalkeeper’s right to score her fifth goal of the season.
The second half started with the hosts enjoying more possession and creating chances of their own however Town soon regained control with Mallin coming close to her second of the game when she attempted to chip the goalkeeper, with the ball going wide of the left post.
Sanderson scored her ninth goal this season with a good run past the Sheffield defence. Her shot slightly deflecting off the out-stretched goalkeeper. This goal ultimately killed off any hope for the hosts getting back into the game. Moments later Flaherty in goal made an impressive save as she pushed the ball over the bar with her fingertips.
Elford would score in the 70th minute. A Mallin cross was met by the Sheffield goalkeeper who palmed the ball to the floor, with Elford collecting the rebound and smashing it into the back of the net.
Her second, and town’s fifth came just five minutes later in spectacular fashion. Mallin’s attack was blocked by the Sheffield defence forcing her to pass the ball back outside the box to a retreating Elford whose first time shot cannoned into the top left of the goal.
A serious ankle injury to the Sheffield goalkeeper stopped play in the final moments of the game. However, Montgomery found the back of the net just minutes later when the freshly substituted goalkeeper dropped the ball following a shot. Montgomery just managed to tap the ball across the line as she fell over the keeper. The full-time whistle blew sealing all three points for the terriers.
Steve Appleton was pleased with the performance:
“The defenders deserve that tonight because they have put some good performances in so far this season. Six goals and a clean sheet is a good night’s work.”
“I’m really happy. The eleven players who started and the four players that came on have all contributed to a good performance tonight and that’s really important. Going into the game on Sunday, we’ve got two wins on the bounce, looking to make it three. We just need to keep putting ourselves under pressure to perform and so far, the last week we have done that and hopefully this continues Sunday.”
Huddersfield face West Bromwich Albion this Sunday away from home. Tickets are available for Huddersfield supporters to purchase from West Brom’s website to see the Terriers on the road again.