In the previous meeting, West Brom walked away with a 2-0 win which helped cement their place as winners. Apart from pride in the Black Country derby, West Brom also came with a perfect record of 19 from 19 hoping to make it the perfect 20. A bumper crowd of 500 turned up to see the final battle including the Swede Wolves, who were a great bunch to be honest.
West Brom came out the blocks fast with the first attack on goal in the first moments of the game as the Wolves pulled off a smart save to stop Keeley Davies opening the scoring, the following corner was lofted into the area and it was cleared off the line to keep the score 0-0 early on. Wolves and West Brom were cancelling each other out as the game went on with early exchanges being defended well with Anna Morphet battling with Natalie Murray on many occasions.
Natalie Murray was in the wars all over the pitch as Tammi George fouled her picking up the first yellow of the game with 4 minutes on the clock. The ball hit the back of the net in the 8th minute from Natalie Murray but she adjudged to be offside so the goal didn’t count but a very lively first 10 minutes setting the tone.
On the 13th minute, Wolves nearly opened the scoring and maybe should of as the header from Anna Price couldn’t be directed on goal a let off for WBA. The obligatory yellow card was shown to Billie Haynes on the 18th minute after WBA had another chance but a miss struck shot was claimed by the Wolves keeper, Madeline Elbro.
First blood came to Wolves after a midfield battle when a defensive muddle up saw Jade Cross break through and a player with her pace hard to stop without a head start as she dropped her shoulder and showed why I picked her in a Midland League One team of season and why she so prolific as she picked out the bottom corner leaving Vanessa no chance and giving Wolves the 1-0 lead on the 24th minute with Madeline Elbro getting the assist.
The Wolves pressure was starting to build tho with another corner and a free header. On the 32nd minute once again Vanessa Kinnerley came to WBA rescue as Jade Cross broke through as she touched it around Vanessa only for a great fingertip save.
The following corner caused trouble once again as Wolves nearly scored, for me, Imogen Sinclair was a huge miss in the box on set pieces but thankfully Bethan Jewitt had positioned herself on post to clear and keep game at 1-0, but Wolves were fully in control and creating all the pressure and chances.
A moment of brilliance again by Natalie Murray on the 42nd minute brought WBA level as she lofted her shot over Madeline Elbro who had been fantastic but she had no chance as Natalie Murray picked out the far corner expertly and had now scored in both games against Wolves. This was the last big moment of the half, Wolves had created more but hadn’t made chances count and WBA pinned them back at the end, with a huge 45 minutes coming as the game was even at 1-1.
Both teams made a substitution going into the second half with Andrea Barnett coming on for Tammi George for Wolves and Jess Davies coming on for Gabby Reid for WBA. The first proper chance fell to Keeley Davies who hit the ball low but again Elbro was there to stop it on the 54th minute. West Brom were starting to build a bit of pressure with some fantastic play by Jess Davies on the wing.
Trina Greaves had the best chance to put WBA ahead on the hour mark but her short jab was once again saved by Madeline Elbro once again wouldn’t be beaten as she turned the ball over for a corner. The game went stale for 10 minutes with both team knocking but no one answering.
On the 70th minute Hattie James came on for Ria Elsmore (to which was a nice welcome for the old Wolves player). Then on the 75th minute, Lowri Walker was introduced to the game coming on for Jennifer Anslow, just as was telling fans around us about Lowri Walker she tells the manager hold my jacket without using words. Less than three minutes after coming on she impacted the game with a goal, not just a normal goal but an overhead kick. Going off script for a second and just saying Lowri such a lovely girl and a class player she deserved that moment right there.
78th minute Wolves took a 2-1 lead after Vanessa Kinnerley pulled off a save from Jade Cross and as Anna Morphet lifted the ball back into the box, Zlatan Walker decided to hit it as it rested in the back of the net.
West Brom were now chasing the game which played to Wolves strengths to lift ball forward on the counter and Jade Cross doubled their lead on the 83rd minute as she was played through to be one on one with Vanessa Kinnerley as she took it around her and slotted the ball into the back of the net, Wolves were 3-1 up and out of sight now really with 7 minutes remaining.
Anna Wilcock replaced Trina Greaves on the 87th minute and Jess Jennings replaced Jade Cross for Wolves on 90th minute. Lowri Walker also got carded on 87th minute fighting for ball back.
The drama wasn’t over though as Hattie James connected and as the ball looked goal bound it hit the players hand giving West Brom a lifeline and a slight chance but Madeline Elbro got down low to save Keeley Davies penalty keeping the score at 3-1 as the full time whistle went.
The rivalry was fierce as was the games but hats have to be tipped to Wolves for the guard of honour before the game and for the respect while West Brom lifted the Championship. The season was brought to an end with a well-fought game that Wolves seemed to want more at times and they must have done homework to keep certain players quiet. If it was me the team would have been different for the game knowing the kind of team, Wolves are, crazy to think Rachael Howard, Imogen Sinclair and Lauren Price played no part in the game. 19 wins out of 20 isn’t a bad season at all though. It could of all came down to that final game if Wolves hadn’t slipped a few times as West Brom won the league by 6 points.
Wolves – Elbro, Morphet, E.Cross, Price (C), Haynes, Jones, George, Anslow, Widdal, Williams, J.Cross
Subs: Barnett, Walker, Jennings
West Bromwich Albion – Kinnerley, Jewitt, Elsmore, Baines, George (C), Murray, L.Davies, K.Davies, Orthodoxou, Greaves, Reid
Subs: J.Davies, James, Wilcock