Nottingham Forest have a Valentine’s date at Sheffield FC on Thursday evening as The Reds look to make it two wins on the bounce in the FAWNL North.
The Reds will also look to go five games unbeaten across all competitions and come into the fixture of the back of a 2-0 win over Bradford last Sunday.
A second half brace from Ashleigh Edwards against the Yorkshire outfit last week was enough to give her side a well-deserved three points. The wind proved to be enemy for Forest in the first half as plenty of their crucial shots soared over goal. But the deadlock was finally broken on the 64th minute as Edwards looped the ball over the helpless ‘keeper from the edge of the box. Edwards then grabbed her second and doubled Forest’s lead 12 minutes later as she neatly slotted her shot under the ‘keeper.
The Reds have already faced up to Sheffield twice so far, this season in both the league and the FA Cup. Forest narrowly lost out to the Yorkshire side at home back in September in a 2-1 loss. The opposition opened the scoring through Ellie White after 19 minutes but Sophia Bonser drew the Reds level with a brilliant long ranged strike in the second half. But the Reds were left with nothing to show for their hard-fought effort as White grabbed her second and the win for her side in the 84th minute.
The Reds successfully avenged the result last December in the FA Cup which saw the side complete a terrific comeback. Forest went into half time of the game 2-1 down, Edwards had drawn her side level on the 30th minute after the home side opened the scoring after only five minutes of game time. But the Reds had a feat to climb in the second half after Sheffield restored their lead on the 30th minute. But Forest came out in fighting form and secured their place in the next round. Edwards drew the Reds level for a second time on the 74thminute with a superb chipped effort from the edge of the box and then put her side ahead for the first time that afternoon in dramatic fashion on the 81st minute. The forward weaved her way through several Sheffield players on the far edge of the penalty area before curling a shot from a tight angle that slotted itself into the top right-hand corner of the goal.
Sheffield come into Thursday’s fixture of the back of three straight defeats across all competitions, most recently losing 4-2 away to Blackburn Rovers over two weeks ago. However, the side will be looking to return to winning ways and the Reds will most importantly be wary of forward Lisa Giampalma who has netted six league goals so far, this campaign and she will be searching to add to her tally on Thursday evening. The Reds defence will also have the job of keeping Ellie White quiet, who has successfully found the back of the net five times in the league this season, two of which and a FA Cup goal have come against Forest.
But the Sheffield defence will equally be looking to stop Ashleigh Edwards who is back in fine form after securing the three points last weekend for the Reds. The young forward has netted eight goals across all competitions so far, this campaign after only joining the side four months ago and will be eager to face up against the Sheffield side and add to her tally.
Grace Walters may also return to the side for the fixture after serving her one match ban. The defender received a straight red card two weeks ago in a 1-1 draw against Doncaster Rovers Belles and will be looking to return to the starting 11 and help her side secure a second consecutive victory.
Nottingham Forest Assistant Manager, Alena Moulton looked ahead to Thursday’s fixture and explained, “It’ll be a difficult game but we’ll be ready. We’ll prepare for the match like we always prepare each week and make sure we are in our best shape possible for the game.”