After winning the huge black country derby West Bromich Albion needed to back it up with another three points at home against The New Saints and with Wolves not in action this weekend could put some real pressure onto their local rivals and title challengers. On paper before the game, West Brom sat undefeated at the top of the table with The New Saints sitting in 8th position.
It was great to see Phoebe Davies captaining The New Saints, she is always one that gave her everything to the team. Seeing Sarah Jackson, Lia Lewis and Taylor Davis playing to was a nice flashback to when used to be able to see them play on a regular basis. With so many games called off around the country it was great that once again that Boldmere managed to get a game on.
With the sun shining and the cold wind blowing West Brom began on the offensive with Natalie Murray latching onto a mistake at the back but the TNS defender got back well to block the ball.
The New Saints grew into the game and began to put West Brom under pressure but Hannah Baines did just about enough to keep The New Saints out.
Kim Bebbington stood over a free kick and as she hit it, it struck the bar and was an early warning sign for West Brom. Less than two minutes later a great ball by Laura Pennington split the WBA defence as Zoe Griffiths slid in to connect with the cross, putting it past Scarlett Field’s reach giving The New Saints the lead.
Photo: Adam Nunn
West Brom didn’t seem to be passing the ball around to well until Hattie James broke free as she chipped the ball over the keeper and just as she should have put the ball into the net, Phoebe Davies slid in to make the last ditch clearance keeping the score at 0-1 with 15 mins on the board.
West Brom’s Hannah Baines got on the end of a free kick to equalise on seventeen minutes. The New Saints didn’t let that faze them as Katie Doster had half a chance as the ball went the wrong side of the post. The game after this took a dip as it seemed neither team could build anything as the other team was stopping it.
Lauren Price tried a shot on the half volley from outside the box on the 27th minute but the ball didn’t go where she had planned it go. Hannah George hit an effort on the 33rd minute that we’ve seen hit the back of the net but on this occasion she had the connection but not the direction. Not to be outdone The New Saints had a double effort saved by Scarlett Field, who again was having a solid game in the WBA goal.
The first half seemed to drag a fair bit as the game was very bitty, West Brom hadn’t really turned up and based on the first half performance The New Saints deserved to be in the lead.
Photo: Adam Nunn
A fumble by the The New Saints keeper landed to Hattie James but she couldn’t find the finish and remained 1-1 still. West Brom started to build some pressure, Hannah George whipped the ball into the box and somehow Hannah Baines couldn’t put away the great chance and it felt as if it was going to be one of those days forWest Brom.
The New Saints were still building chances using their pace to attack the wings as Sarah Jackson ran most of the game from the midfield as she held up and picked out the passes that on another day would have hit the back of the net but it just wasn’t meant to be and as football is, sometimes against the run of play it comes back to haunt you.
Hattie James picked out Keeley Davies who put the ball through to Laura Davies who took aim and fired with a great finish giving West Brom the 2-1 lead. This seemed to change the game as not too long after Keeley Davies showed her class as she turned to beast mode as she went through the defence to be one on one with the keeper and as always, if you give Keeley a chance, Keeley scores as she made it 3-1 smashing the ball past the rushing goalkeeper.
Chloe Harper hit a first-time pass to Jess Davies who combined with Laura Davies, who lobbed The New Saints keeper to give them a 4-1 lead. This was a great team goal but it was so harsh on TNS really but West Brom just showed how deadly they are if you let them have the chances.
On the 85th the lights dimmed and the music started as Bethan Jewitt ran forward and took aim ready to take the net off the back of the goal, ready to celebrate a wonderstruck goal, Bethan didn’t quite connect and the ball trickled across the floor to the keeper.
The New Saints never gave up as they battled to the final whistle but just couldn’t find the finish in the game the scoreline was 4-1 to West Brom but it didn’t tell the story of the game. The New Saints missed Emily Ridge and Laura Morris, the pair would have had a big impact. It was a very different team to what I’d seen previously. I was happy to see how they are getting on under Lawrence with Phoebe Davies as captain.
4-1 seems like a comfy scoreline but West Brom were fortunate to walk away with all three points but they won’t care one bit as they now sit nine points clear at the top of the table.