PNE Women secured their seventh league win of the season, defeating Wolves Women on Sunday and closing the gap on third placed Bradford City in the process.Goals from Sarah Chadwick, Chelsea Flanagan and Laura Walker sealed the three points for Luke Podmore’s side to close the gap to five points between PNE and the Bantams.
The away side started the better of the two and forced Wolves goalkeeper Charlotte McElroy into numerous saves early on.
The stopper had to be aware to save Flanagan’s free kick in the third minute before tipping Beth Stanfield’s effort around the post two minutes later.
Flanagan again came close to the opening goal of the game in the 11th minute after cutting in on her left foot, but a slight deflection off a Wolves defender saw it fly narrowly past McElroy’s post.
PNE continued to pile the pressure on the Wolves defence and their efforts were rewarded in the 29th minute when Chadwick scored her first goal in a month.
The 17 year old striker received the ball in the area with her back to goal, spun her marked and fired into the bottom corner to give the Lilywhites the advantage midway through the first half.
The game was being dominated by Podmore’s side and they could have extended their lead late in the first half.
Stanfield broke free of the Wolves defence and as she was about to get her shot away, she was taken out by Natalie Widdall to deny her a goal scoring opportunity.
The Wolves centre back only received a yellow card despite being the last player and was relieved to see Laura Walker’s resulting free kick crash against the bar.
The second half was a similar story to the first and started with PNE on the front foot.
Chadwick had an opportunity to add her second of the game two minutes after the restart but hit the bar from six yards out after the ball was palmed into her path by McElroy.
However, it wasn’t long until the Lilywhites doubled their lead in the 48th minute through Flanagan who added her 13th goal of the season.
Nikki Emery played in the club’s leading goalscorer and Flanagan applied the finish from the edge of the area to make it 2-0.
McElroy was the busier of the two goalkeepers and was picking the ball out the back of her net for a third time in the 65th minute.
Alice Forshaw broke down the left and squared to captain Walker who unleashed a 30 yard rocket that flew into the bottom corner to establish a three goal cushion for PNE.
At the other end, Danielle Brown was rarely tested all afternoon and dealt with the crosses into her area with ease before starting counter attacks by bowling out to the PNE wingers.
It could have been 4-0 shortly before the final whistle but Flanagan was denied her second goal of the game by the width of a post.
She embarked on a mazy run before curling the ball around McElroy, only to see her effort bounce away from danger off the woodwork.
The win sees PNE close the gap to five points between themselves and Bradford City ahead of next week’s tough test away to reigning FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division champions Sheffield FC Ladies.