Preston North End WFC comfortably beat Accrington Stanley 2-0 in their final match before the Christmas break, showing no sign of a fortnight’s absence beforehand.
It took the Lilywhites no time at all to get back to their goalscoring ways, with forward Abi Cookson getting a goal for the Lilywhites inside 43 seconds from Lucy Swift’s ball down the left-hand side.
Accrington’s goalkeeper pulled oﬀ several fantastic saves to keep her side in the game. Swift had a superb game on the left wing for North End and created countless chances for her side and came close to converting too.
Swift was able to link up with Cookson on several occasions in the first half but the chances were either placed wide or were met by the goalkeeper.
Olivia Askam had a brilliant game in the middle of the park for her team as she linked play well, providing excellent through balls for the likes of Swift on the left, Cookson down the middle, and Charlotte Greenwood down the right-hand side.
As half-time approached, PNEWFC looked set to go into the break with a one-goal advantage, until they were awarded a corner in the final minute of the half.
Katie Woodhead stepped up to take the set piece and delivered the ball perfectly onto centre half Georgia Parkinson’s right foot to score.
After the half-time talk, the Lilywhites came out with the same energy and commitment they closed the first half with.
Composed and collected on the ball, the team began to break down Accrington to create opportunities behind the back four, but again the only thing standing in their way was the goalkeeper.
Holly Rawcliﬀe had the best opportunity of the half to add another to the scoresheet as she was played through on goal, but her first time eﬀort went narrowly wide to the right. Cookson and Swift would also have opportunities, but just couldn’t convert.
Set pieces also proved fruitful for the Lilywhites as they came close to converting from multiple corners, again only being denied by the Accrington goalkeeper. Parkinson again came close oﬀ another corner but her shot was directly at the in-form goalkeeper.
It was an excellent game for the Lilywhites’ defence, though, who put in a great performance to not allow a single shot on target from the Accrington side.
The majority of the second half consisted of PNEWFC moving the ball around the field and connecting with every player on the pitch, while working as a unit to build up play before moving forward to create more and more opportunities.
It was an impressive display for the women that was perhaps not sufficiently reflected in the winning margin of just two goals, but it nonetheless remained the perfect way to close out the first half of the season going into the Christmas break.
After the match, PNEWFC manager Andy Lyons reflected on his team’s efforts to seal their victory.
He said: “It was a brilliant performance, we got oﬀ to an excellent start with the early goal.
“I think this allowed us to find our feet early, which meant we were able to dominate the game from there on. I feel at times we did try to rush the ball forward because we were creating so many chances early on, but as the first half continued, we started to move the ball well and worked as a unit.
“We closed out the first half perfectly with the goal from Georgia Parkinson. Going in 2-0 up at half-time was great, but as coaching staﬀ, we wanted to remind the team to play at their level and not drop their standards.
“We wanted some composure on and oﬀ the ball so we could keep finding those through balls that had been working well in the first half.”
Chances kept on coming for the visitors in the second half without them being able to extend their advantage, and Lyons agreed that the scoreline might have been greater on another day.
He continued: “On any other day it could have been five or six goals for us but it just wasn’t meant to be. Myself and the coaching staﬀ are still very pleased with the performance and the way the girls worked the ball and connected with each other.
“t’s a good way to end before the Christmas break and we look forward to coming back after the festive period and back to playing and working as a team towards the last half of the season.”
The women’s team now have a three-week break from action before getting the ball rolling again on Sunday 9th January when they host Carlisle United Ladies at Penwortham Priory Academy.