Town Survive Late Onslaught to Stay Joint Top
Huddersfield Town Women claimed a vital 2-1 win over Stoke City with a determined performance at the Stafflex Arena.
Coming into the game off the back of a brilliant 6-2 win against Hull City Ladies on Tuesday night, Town wasted no time at all in taking the lead as Lucy Sowerby continued her goal scoring form with a long ranged strike from 30 yards out, firing the ball over the poorly-positioned Stoke ‘keeper.
The visitors were clearly reeling from their 2-0 defeat to West Brom on Thursday night and failed to recover from the early setback as Katie Nutter made it two in the 8th minute.
Kate Mallin’s long-range effort came crashing back off the woodwork and Nutter was the only proactive player – following the ball into the box to nod home from inside the six-yard box.
There were twelve goals in the two fixtures between Town and the Potters last season – with the Terriers claiming 4-1 and 4-3 wins – and this one looked as though it would follow suit.
As the game progressed, Stoke City began to apply pressure and came extremely close to pulling a goal back when Natasha Tezgel’s header was brilliantly cleared off the line by Beth Stanfield.
The away side were by far the better side through to the half time whistle and were unlucky not to have registered in the opening forty-five, but got their just desserts with less than two minutes of the second half played.
Good wing play forced a corner which was pinpoint for the head of Tezgel who made no mistake this time – thundering her header beyond Olivia Clark in the Huddersfield goal.
Town’s no.1 had missed the last two matches on international duty with Wales, but was immediately reinstated between the posts for the visit of Stoke and didn’t have too much to deal with from open play.
For the majority of the final half hour, play from both sides was scrappy as neither team managed to grab a hold of proceedings until Abby Hunt thundered a header against the post with little over fifteen minutes left after Mallin missed a guilt-edged chance to wrap the game up.
Then, with ten to go, a club first. Town’s Lauren Griffiths was guilty of foul language and received the first ever sin bin at the Stafflex Arena, meaning she went off until added time.
Despite all their hard work to get back into the contest, Stoke lacked the needed quality in the final third and Town held on for the three points which keep them joint-top of the league.
Up next for Town, it’s the visit of table-toppers Sunderland, who should make the journey southward in high spirits after their 9-1 home win against Hull. The Black Cats pipped the Terriers to second place by a single point in 2018/19 and a win a piece in the contests last term point to another close encounter next Sunday.
Match report by Jack Walker.
Photographs courtesy of John Early / HTAFC.