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Match Report: AFC Fylde Women v Huddersfield Town Women FC

Sunday 21st April 2024

FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division

Photo: Heather Watson - AFC Fylde Women

AFC Fylde Women secured their first league win of the season on Sunday with a 2-1 triumph over Huddersfield Town Women at Kellamergh Park.

In their final home game of the 2023/24 season, the Coasters entertained the Terriers in a highly competitive encounter between the division’s two relegated sides.

With both clubs playing for pride, Fylde showed their attacking capabilities with early goals from Karri Chan and Codie Thomas, before Huddersfield Town reduced the arrears after Rebecca Beresford netted from close range.

Fylde came close to extending their lead, only to be denied by the frame of goal on three separate occasions. As the Terriers probed for an equaliser in the second half, the Coasters had to defend resolutely to preserve their lead and claim all three points.

Over recent months, Jake Williams’s and Steve Mainwaring’s team have often struggled to translate their strong performances into positive results. On this occasion, however, the Coasters were rewarded with a morale-boosting victory to finish their home fixtures on a positive note.

Among the changes to Fylde’s starting eleven, Demi Devereaux returned in attack alongside Karri Chan, who deputised up front in place of the suspended Lois Moore.

Fylde started brightly and looked to exploit the spaces in behind the visitors’ defence. The game was only five minutes old when they broke the deadlock with their first goalscoring opportunity. Liz Craven’s lofted kick into the box found its way to Chan, who saw her initial attempt parried by Faye Hazelton, before Chan slotted in the rebound to register her first goal for the club.

It soon got better for Fylde as Codie Thomas grabbed a second on the quarter-hour mark. After some excellent build-play, Thomas controlled the ball on the edge of the area and fired inside the near post to make it 2-0.

Approaching the half-hour mark, the Terriers pulled a goal back when former Fylde player Rebecca Beresford rounded off a sweeping attacking move to finish from close range. After Kate Mallin carried the ball forward, Ashley Tiripike and Charlotte Gill combined well to set up Beresford, who swept home from six yards out.

With the visitors growing in confidence, Tiripike connected with a teasing cross into the box but could only steer her header wide of the post.

On the stroke of half-time, Sasha Rowe came close to scoring when her spectacular volley cannoned back off the crossbar. Although the follow-up found the back of the net, the goal was disallowed for offside. As a result, the Coasters went into the interval with just a one-goal advantage.

Half-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-1 Huddersfield Town Women FC

Moments after the restart, Fylde won a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the box. Rowe stepped up and floated in a delivery that struck the upright, before the Town defence could hook the ball to safety.

In the 50th minute, Holly Kelsh-Ridge was next to hit the woodwork as she unleashed a rasping drive that rattled the crossbar, before the rebound was scrambled clear.

As the second half progressed, the Terriers made more forays into the final third. Marshalled by Cath Hamill and Beth Strutton, the Fylde defence had to work hard to keep their opponents at bay.

The Terriers threatened again on the hour mark as Gill took aim from distance, but Craven was equal to it. Shortly after, Gill found herself through on goal, but her run was halted by the offside flag.

At the other end, Chan lifted a delightful pass over the top to find Kelsh-Ridge, whose shot was safely gathered by Hazelton in the Town goal.

The final quarter of an hour became a stop-start affair as both Gill and Francis-Jones had to be withdrawn due to injury. In the end, Fylde managed to close out the game to secure their maiden league win of the campaign.

Full-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-1 Huddersfield Town Women FC

AFC Fylde Women: Craven, Francis-Jones (85’ Rogers), Hamill, Strutton, Thomas, Rowe, Binks, Dale (78’ Whitaker), Kelsh-Ridge, Devereaux (58’ Samson), Chan

Unused substitutes: Maguire, Wood

Huddersfield Town Women FC: Hazelton, Stanfield, Ibbotson, Mallin, McMahon, Montgomery, Beresford, Gill (85’ Davies), Tiripke, Devins, Proctor

Unused substitutes: Franks, Lambert

Report by Scott Jones

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