Ladies Lose Out In West End Thriller

Moors Ladies saw their winning start to the season brought to an end on Sunday as they lost to the odd goal in seven during a pulsating encounter with Sunderland West End at New Ferens Park.

Billy Shackleton’s side will rue a missed opportunity though, having raced into an early two-goal lead only for the visitors to fight back to claim three points and extend their own 100% start to 2023/24.

However, Moors – who were without a number of players for the fixture – will have taken enough from the entertaining encounter to continue with confidence in their first Premier Division campaign.

It was an astonishing start to the contest on Sunday as Courtney Mole fed a ball forward down the right and Caitlin Bates scampered onto it and lifted a delicious, lobbed finish over the keeper to make it 1-0 with just two minutes on the clock.

Things got even better shortly afterwards when Autumn Colledge brilliantly turned away into space down the left before clipping a wonderful shot over the West End keeper and into the far corner of the net to double Moors’ lead.

The dangerous Bates then hit the woodwork from a well-worked corner, with Drew Seymour just unable to force home the rebound as the ball bounced out off the bar.

Slowly but surely, the visitors grew into the game. Moors keeper Sophie Miller was becoming more active, and she was forced into an outstanding fingertip save to turn away a low shot from the West End forward.

The pressure kept on coming though and the away side did get a goal back on 34 minutes when a right-wing corner was brilliantly nodded into the net from six yards.

Momentum was with West End now and they were back on level terms six minutes before half time when Miller once again produced an excellent save to parry a shot only for the visiting striker to get to the rebound and finish clinically.

Moors were struggling to contain their opponents now and West End got their noses in front just before the break when a beautifully-placed curling shot from 22 yards flew into the corner of the net.

Bates could have levelled before the interval when she whipped a wicked free-kick on goal from the right of the area which cannoned off the bar and once again stayed out of the net.

However, Moors have shown their character on numerous occasions already this season and it was on display once more in the early part of the second half when they did grab the equaliser. Autumn Colledge lifted the ball forward for Bates, who bullied the defender out of the way before drilling past the keeper for 3-3.

Parity did not last long, sadly. A throw-in went to the byline inside the Moors penalty area and the referee spotted a shirt pull on the West End forward and pointed to the spot, allowing the visitors to move back in front with the successful penalty.

Moors continued to apply pressure as time wore on, but Sunderland West End defended with real determination to make it through to the final whistle and celebrate a fine victory.

“It’s disappointing to lose, especially in such a close game,” admitted Shackleton afterwards.

“But, overall, I think if you had offered us 12 points from the first 15 available this season we would definitely have taken it.

“We knew today was going to be tough; we’ve had to rotate and change shape a bit but, at the same time, we’re a good enough to cope with that and still pick up wins.

“The girls are in there gutted now, but also already keen to put it behind them and get back to winning ways as soon as possible.”

Full Time: Moors 3 Sunderland West End 4

Share this post