Lucy Webster’s second half strike seals all three points.Our ladies team recorded their first three points in the FA Women’s Premier League (Midland Division One) with a 1-0 victory over stubborn Steel City Wanderers at One Call Stadium.
Lucy Webster bagged the all-important winner with a cute low finish on 69 minutes, but Mike Wain’s team were indebted to goalkeeper Emma Gascoyne, who made some crucial late saves.
Backed by a healthy crowd of approximately 100, the Stagettes were determined to impress in their first match on home soil this term, and they dominated early on.
A goal almost arrived on the quarter-hour mark when Webster’s fierce drive was palmed across goal by the ‘keeper, but Claire Bratton’s last-ditch intervention denied Sheryl Gayle a simple tap in.
Gayle then tried her luck with an effort from distance, which was routinely saved, before Jemma Douglas went close with a low near-post shot on the half-hour mark, which had to be tipped wide.
The Stagettes, well on top at this stage, continued to be frustrated in their quest to find an opener.
On 32 minutes, Gayle jinked her way past an opponent to cut inside from the left channel, but her sweetly-struck left-foot shot clipped the outside of the post and went wide.
Daisy Pridden also went close with a dipping 35-yard free-kick that hit the crossbar and dropped fortuitously for the visitors to clear, before anybody else could react.
The one-way traffic continued after the re-start as skipper Stacey Bridge let fly with a speculative attempt from the edge of the area, which just cleared the upright.
Whilst the visitors’ threat was sporadic, they almost got their noses in front on 54 minutes. Maria Burns’ powerful close-range strike rattled the post and the ball spun across the goal-line, before it was fortuitously hooked away to safety.
The Stagettes soon regained their momentum and squandered another gilt-edge chance when Gayle broke clear into a one-on-one, but forced slightly to the right, she could only fire into the side-netting.
Finally, on 69 minutes, however, the pressure paid off as Webster worked her way into the area and sent a low strike beyond the despairing ‘keeper to give our ladies a lead they thoroughly deserved.
The emphasis was now on Steel City Wanderers to find an equaliser and they almost did so straight from the re-start as Lucy Barker galloped onto a great through ball, but saw her effort smothered by Gascoyne.
Gascoyne made another crucial save with just eight minutes remaining when she expertly re-adjusted her body in order to keep out a testing near-post shot by Wanderers’ striker Zoe Beresford.
The saves proved crucial as the Stagettes defended resiliently in the closing exchanges to record a morale-boosting and much-needed three points.