Moors Ladies continued their impressive start to the NERWFL Premier Division season as they ran out 3-2 winners at Redcar Town on Sunday – but they once again did it the hard way.
Billy Shackleton’s side twice trailed in the game and were also reduced to ten players in the latter stages of the first half, but they still managed to dig deep to maintain their 100% start after three games.
Having enjoyed brilliant victories over Hartlepool United and Hull United, Moors made the trip to Teesside expecting another big test – and they were not left disappointed on that front.
Moors began the game on the front foot, with Caitlin Bates and Meg Foster both testing the home keeper during the early exchanges at Mo Mowlam Memorial Park.
However, it was the hosts who took the lead on 21 minutes when Moors keeper Sophie Miller produced a wonderful save to deny the first shot only for the follow-up effort to be diverted into her own net by Neve Jackson.
Beth Enguita, who was a constant menace to the Redcar defence on the Moors left, equalised in stunning fashion shortly afterwards. Bates showed good tenacity in midfield to play the ball out to Enguita, who cleverly turned past her defender before chipping a beautiful finish over the keeper to celebrate her first goal for the Club.
There was a real blow for Moors in first half injury time, though. Redcar seized on some hesitation in the Moors’ defence and Alice Welch-Davison tugged back the home forward inside the area in a bid to stop her from scoring. The referee awarded a penalty and showed the Moors centre-back a red card, compounded by the fact that the home side then converted from the spot to lead 2-1 at the break.
Some strong words in the dressing room during the interval provoked a big reaction from Moors, who came out looking more more determined in the second half and began to take control of the game.
The leveller arrived just before the hour mark when Bates whipped a dangerous free-kick from the right into the far post where it was bundled home for Jackson to open her scoring account for Moors.
Redcar began to tire but could have snatched the lead once again when a long-range effort looked to be sneaking into the corner of the net before a superb intervention from Miller to turn it round the post.
Moors continued to look the more likely to find a winner after that and it duly arrived ten minutes from time. The outstanding Shannon Reed took up possession from a throw on the left before turning skilfully inside and blasting an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
Shackleton’s side then worked hard to see out an extended period of added-on time to clinch their third victory in a row and join Sunderland West End at the top of the formative Premier Division table.
“We need to stop making games so difficult for ourselves,” admitted the Moors boss afterwards.
“The girls on the pitch, in the dugout and in the squad today have done themselves proud with the way they were able to fight back though.
“We would have definitely taken nine points from three games if you’d offered that at the start of the season and it’s very early days, but it shows we’re doing the right things at the moment, and we need to continue that.”
Moors now turn their focus to another big game at The Brewery Field this coming Sunday when they host fancied Alnwick Town in a 2pm kick-off. Admission is £3 for adults and free for Under-12s.
Full Time: Redcar Town 2 Moors 3
Moors: Miller, N Jackson, Welch-Davison, O Mole, Foster, Enguita, Reed, Drinkald, Hemmingway, Knox, Bates.
Subs: Saunders (46), McGovern (46), C Colledge (46), L Jackson (77), Seymour.