AFC Fylde 1-1 Huddersfield Town
by Jack Walker
Huddersfield Town Women played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with AFC Fylde Women at Kellamergh Park, stretching their unbeaten run to thirteen matches.
Heading into the game on the back of a 12-match winning streak, the Terriers made a positive start against their FA Women’s National League Northern Premier 2020/21 title rivals, but couldn’t find the breakthrough until the second half.
It was clear to see why both teams were fighting it out at the top of the league before the campaign was curtailed as neither side gave the other any time or space on the ball, but a piece of brilliance from Beth Ibbotson opened Town’s opponents up.
The defender came out from the back, pushed forward and delivered a wonderful cross which picked out Brittany Sanderson inside the area and Town’s no.11 dispatched a clinical finish to give her side the lead.
Just like their previous game against Derby, however, Huddersfield conceded almost immediately after scoring when Fylde attacked from the restart and turned the ball passed Bethan Davies and into the back of the net for an instant equaliser.
And the home side almost took the lead just before the hour mark, but Davies leapt brilliantly to turn the ball away from the top corner to keep the scores level.
This spurred Town on and the women in blue and white continued to dominate large parts of the second half, with Lucy Sowerby and Sarah Danby causing Fylde’s backline numerous problems in the second forty-five.
Having scored from two corners in last weekend’s Women’s FA Cup win, the Terriers threatened from set pieces throughout against Fylde, too, but couldn’t take advantage of superior opportunities.
That being said, their hosts didn’t pose as much of an attacking threat as in the 3-3 curtain-raiser at the start of the season, showing just how much Town have improved defensively in Jordan Wimpenny’s first season in charge.
That bodes well for next month’s long journey to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup on the south coast and Wimpenny was pleased to see his side defend well for almost the entire game against Fylde.
“I’m really pleased with the performance from the group. Today’s game was an opportunity for us to get ready for the FC Cup and thank you to Fylde for giving us that opportunity.
“I asked the team to set up a certain way at the set piece [Fylde’s equaliser] and the set piece happened differently to what we expected, so I take responsibility for that.
“We’ve got a lot of training sessions and a few matches before Brighton and we’ll do our very best to prepare as well as possible to give a good account of ourselves.
Zoe Laughton made her first team debut in the 1-1 draw and did “very well an influenced the game when she came on”, said Wimpenny. Laughton was thrilled to get the nod.
“I was buzzing to get on and really enjoyed it. I was told to go on and make a difference and that’s what I tried to do. Hopefully I can learn more from the group going forward!”