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Women's Football News
Brighouse Town travelled to struggling Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, knowing a point would secure the North East League Southern Division title, but despite their current league standing which Town boss Rob Mitchell described as 'a false position', Wednesday would prove to be no pushovers.
The game started well for Town who made good use of the quality surface to put together a couple of good moves but seemed to force the ball in the final third leaving everyone a little frustrated. At times the play seemed a little rushed as both sides looked to take the initiative but neither could make the breakthrough in the early exchanges.
Cue Sonni Sweeney, Town's top scorer who was looking in fine form and her movement was causing all kinds of problems. She managed to give her side the lead when Yasmin Ayub played a superb ball inbetween two defenders, Sweeney drew the keeper before expertly slotting in at the near post to give her side the lead and take her tally to 34 competitive goals for the season.
Brighouse failed to add to their lead despite controlling for long periods of the game. Wednesday themselves struggled to find a way past the Town defence who were looking organised and gave keeper Erin Boswell very little to do. Town nearly added a second when Sweeney's initial shot was spilled by the keeper but the in-form forward was unable to direct the rebound in to a team mate's path with the goal gaping. Jayne Smith also came close but miscued her shot from close range. Wednesday cranked up the pressures with a couple of corners in quick succession that were well dealt with by the Town defence.
Brighouse led 1-0 at the break against a youthful Sheffield side who, despite playing some good stuff, couldn't quite find an opening.
The second half was more of the same, plenty of good passing football without an end product and a lack of quality in the final third, Sheffield were now starting to counter really well but a change in system seemed to nullify the threat and give Town more attacking options themselves as Sue Elrington moved up front to support Sweeney.
The change also seemed to spring Kayleigh Bamforth in to life down the right with a couple of darting runs which were causing problems, the first of which saw Bamforth beat her marker in a race before rounding the keeper only to foiled at the last second by a recovering defender. The second saw a cross in to Sweeney who narrowly fired wide from close range.
Wednesday nearly got back in the game but with plenty of Town bodies back behind the ball a couple of close range efforts were blocked and once more dealt with. They then had their first real opportunity of the game and perhaps should have done better when a cross from the right was met by Danielle Harrison, the substitute smashing her effort just over the bar with some power. Town then began to run the clock down and keep possession until the final whistle sounded and Town could celebrate winning the title.
Manager Rob Mitchell said: "We got the job done against a very good Wednesday side who we knew would be no mugs, they play a good brand of football and were determined to get a result. I felt we forced the ball at times and looked very rushed, especially in the early stages, but our experience and quality ensured we came away with the win and ultimately claim the title.
"Massive congratulations to the team who have been superb all season and deserve all the credit. It's a very proud moment for me to be able to see all the hard we've done rewarded and I'm sure the girls will now no doubt look to complete the season on a high and remain unbeaten."
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