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Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 Manchester City 4
Wolves Women and Manchester City shared eight goals in a thrilling encounter for the neutral at Wolves' new home at AFC Wulfrunians.
The home team raced into a three-goal lead in the the first hour of the match only to be hit by three City strikes in ten minutes The Northern Division newcomers took the lead again with under ten minutes remaining, only to be hauled back once more late on. Wolves will be very disappointed to have let slip a victory against opponents from a higher level which seemed theirs for the taking for most of the match, but in many aspects of the game they had performed very well.
Wolves started brightly and took the lead when Dani Selmes was clipped by City keeper Danielle Brown having been played in by Jamillah Palmer. Selmes converted the spot kick in the 12th minute. The two Wolves attackers were a constant threat backed up by a midfield which won the majority of loose balls, led by Anna Perks and Amber Quick who frequently found telling angles for passes. Apart from a dangerous left wing raid from Sarah Danby well covered by Kelly Pinner, City offered very little in attack for the first 40 minutes.
By then Wolves had doubled their lead with a low drive by Palmer through a crowd of players just after the half hour. Brown kept the score down with two fine saves, from Palmer at the near post then a tip over from a long range effort from Quick. Wolves fully deserved their two-goal lead but were given a warning just before the break as home keeper Natalie Hall was twice tested, firstly holding on to a low drive from Sarah Buffel then a long range effort from Lindsay Savage.
City started more brightly after the break but soon Wolves were threatening again. Lauren Walker had a low free kick turned again the post by Brown then Palmer struck the other post after a fine run. It was Selmes who gave Wolves a three-goal advantage with a superb curling shot from the edge of the area on 58 minutes after winning the ball in a duel with Lynda Shepherd.
Finally City clicked into gear and started to find space on both flanks with they exploited to devastating effect. A low shot was turned in by Amanda Goodwin on 65 minutes, then substitute Krystle Johnson reduced the deficit to one with a super strike from 25 yards into the top corner after a fine run through midfield. Another excellent team move then allowed Buffel to level with a powerful diving header from a perfect right wing cross by Johnston on 75 minutes.
Wolves recovered from these setbacks to grab the lead again on 81 minutes with a fine opportunist goal from Palmer, racing through the centre to beat the advancing Brown to the ball for her second goal of the afternoon.
However, City always looked threatening and grabbed a late equaliser. Hall managed to tip a long range Savage effort on to the bar at full stretch but the rebound fell for Charlotte Farrell to nod home from close range on 85 minutes.
Both teams looked for the decisive strike but had to settle for a draw after a fine contest. Wolves will surely be unhappy at letting a three-goal lead slip but there was much to admire from a team deprived of the experience of Becky Hall with an ankle injury and still adapting to the Premier League after five years absence, not least the all round play of Selmes and Palmer who shared the four Wolves goals. City got out of jail, so to speak, with some excellent goals of their own and eventually showed some of the qualities which won them their place in the National Division this season.
Wolves Women: Natalie Hall, Kelly Pinner, Lauren Walker, Hannah Williams, Layla Salter, Anna Perks, Jordan Timmins-Ray, Amber Quick, Dani Selmes, Philippa Wilson, Jamillah Palmer. Subs: Channelle Hooper, Becky Hall.
Manchester City: Danielle Brown, Charlotte Farrell, Kelly McLellan, Nicola Worthington, Lynda Shepherd, Chelsea Nightingale, Saffron Jordan, Sarah Buffel, Lindsay Savage, Amanda Goodwin, Sarah Danby. Subs: Rebecca Lee, Krystle Johnston, Carly Bayley.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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