Huddersfield Town 2-2 Manchester United U21
By Jack Walker
Brittany Sanderson and Lucy Sowerby scored as Huddersfield Town Women battled to a well-earned 2-2 draw against Manchester United U21s yesterday afternoon.
The visitors started strongly and took the lead with a crisp left-footed strike that found the bottom corner from range, but Town weren’t behind for long.
Kate Mallin threatened immediately after conceding, sending an effort just wide of the near post, and United didn’t heed the warning.
Moments later, Mallin escaped down the right hand side again and played a perfect ball across the six-yard line for Brittany Sanderson to stretch and turn the ball home to level it up at 1-1 with just 11 minutes played.
Both sides were confident in building out from the back with United clearly showing attempts to mirror their first team, but Town’s high press worked a treat on numerous occasions as Lucy Sowerby and Sarah Danby won the ball in dangerous areas.
As a sign of their intent, the Terriers continued to dominate the first half and almost took the lead through Katie Nutter just shy of the half hour mark.
Serena Fletcher won and took a brilliant free kick out on the right flank and Nutter’s shot looked destined for the back of the net, but the United ‘keeper somehow clawed the ball away before Town’s no.7 attempted an acrobatic overhead kick that fell just wide of the upright.
The away side, though, showed quality too and almost re-took the lead when a cross clipped the crossbar on its way behind for a goal kick. That, however, was the closest either side came to finding the target in the remainder of the first half and the two sides went into the break with nothing to separate them.
Town started the second forty-five much brighter than the first and almost scored within a minute if the restart.
Mallin was hacked down on the angle of the area and Georgia Marshall rose highest to meet the cross but her header fell agonisingly wide of the far stick, despite the best efforts of Beth Ibbotson who found the side meeting with the ball already just out of play.
Town threatened from set pieces and it was Marshall who made the difference in the air to give her side the lead.
After a dangerous cross was turned behind for a corner, Danby whipped in a fierce delivery and Marshall towered above all defenders to power a bullet header goalward. The goal wouldn’t go down as hers, though, because Sowerby was stood on the line and took the ball flush to the face. Getting a goal seemed to raise her spirits, though as she bravely carried on.
Despite controlling much of the second half, Town were unable to create many chances and were made to pay when Man United converted a penalty after a handball in the area from Nutter and the scores were back level at 2-2.
As both teams tired, the chances dried up too. Neither side were able to find the illusive winner, but Town manager Jordan Wimpenny was proud of his players at full time.
“The players did brilliantly. We played a completely different style to what they’re used to and, just like we did against Fylde, got a positive result out of it. Without the [United] penalty, we would’ve won the game, but that’s football.
“Man United were very good on the ball and very physically fit – just like Brighton and Hove Albion will be when we meet them in the FA Cup on the 16th May. This game has given us experience of playing against quality opposition and we will go to Brighton and give a good account of ourselves.”