The newly crowned league champions, Blackburn Rovers, were forced to come from behind to beat Nottingham Forest 5-2 in front of another impressive crowd in the Red’s last home game of the season, on Sunday afternoon.
It was a game of two halves which saw the Reds go into the break with an impressive 2-0 lead through strikes from Katie Middleton and Precious Hamilton. This was only the second time in the league this season that Rovers were behind at half time. But the visitors showed their quality in the second half as they came out fighting and produced a stellar performance to seal all three points.
The Reds started the game brilliantly and threw Rovers off their game with their great early attacking threat. As well as producing up top Forest also defended superbly which denied the away side any early chances in front of goal.
Forest got their reward for their great start on the 23rd minute as Middleton put her side ahead. Hamilton had caused mayhem along the Rovers' back four as a lack of communications had forced the 'keeper off her line to make a last-ditch clearance. But it was weak from Amelia Size which saw the ball land directly at the feet of Middleton. The Forest forward carried the ball towards the away side's box and fended off several yellow shirts before blasting a thundering effort from the edge of the area and into the back of the net.
The Red's lead was then doubled three minutes later as Hamilton bagged her first goal for Forest. A corner kick came flying into the Rovers' box that fell directly into the path of Hamilton who saw her first prodded effort come bouncing back of the goal post. But she made no mistake on her rebound effort as she poked her second shot past the 'keeper to give her side a 2-0 lead.
Forest continued to dominate the first half and had another opportunity to extend their lead before the break. Hamilton flicked on a pass through the Rovers' defence which Atkin pounced on to and broke free into the visitor's box but she struggled to get any power behind her shot and the 'keeper got down to make the save.
Aja Aguirre ensured the Reds kept their 2-0 lead heading into the break as she made a series of terrific saves. Saffron Jordan was gifted a perfect opportunity to half the goal score deficit as she went 1v1 with Aguirre, the tricky forward attempted to lift her shot over the Forest shot stopper but Aguirre got down and pulled off the impressive save.
Jordan was then granted two other opportunities minutes later to try bring her side back in the game but her first curling effort flew just wide of the goal and then second came crashing back of the cross bar.
Aguirre came up big for the Reds again on the stroke of half time as Natasha Flint found room in the box and turned and shot but the Forest 'keeper made another great stop.
Rovers came out fighting in the second half as they looked to earn something from the game and hit Forest on the attack from the starting whistle. Alexandra Taylor broke towards the Red's box and hit a shot from just outside the area, Georgia Hewitt blocked the effort and Lyndsey Harkin was on hand to clear away the dangerous lose ball.
But the away side weren't the only ways creating chances in front of goal as the Reds still posed as a threat in the final third. Harkin floated a free kick into the penalty area that Rovers failed to deal with and several Red shirts attempted to divert the ball goal wards, Aimee Hickingbotham had the final punt in front of goal but her shot was blocked away from goal.
Rovers drew themselves level with two quick goals on the 56th and 60th minute. Jordan finally got the goal she had been searching for after she tapped Lagan Makin's low, drilled cross past Aguirre.
Lynda Shepard then drew side level from a spot kick after Hamilton handled the ball inside the Forest box. The Rovers captain smashed her penalty kick past Aguirre.
The league champions then put themselves 3-2 ahead through an unstoppable strike from Flint on the 64th minute. The former England youth international sneakily collected a low corner kick from outside the area that caught the Reds off guard and she rocketed a first-time effort through the box and into the back of the net.
Rovers sealed the win on the 75th minute as Jordan netted her brace. Lauren Davies cut a short pass through the legs of the Reds defence and through to Jordan who lifted a shot over the on-rushing Aguirre.
The afternoon's scoring was rounded off on the 90th minute as substitute Sophie Charlton joined in on the goal scoring action. Fatigue was an enemy for the Reds in the end as they struggled to get back quick enough to stop Charlton from turning a low cross past Aguirre.
Speaking after the game manager, Alena Moulton, shared her thoughts on the team's performance: "The team gave absolutely everything, as always and as expected. In the end, they were a bit gutted but it was an improved performance and score line from the reverse fixture earlier in the season."
Forest: Aguirre, Wilson, Harkin ( c ), Walters, Hewitt, Weston, Bennett, Hickingbotham (Edwards 65'), Middleton (Constantinou 70'), Hamilton (Bonser 83'), Atkin
Unused Subs: Davies, Reek
Goals: Middleton (23'), Hamilton (26')
Booking: Hamilton (59')
Blackburn: Size, Jukes, Taylor (Davies 70'), Shepard ( c ), Holbrook, Fenton, Jordan, Flint (Charlton 74'), Makin, McDonald, Fletcher
Goals: Jordan (56', 75'), Shepard (60'), Flint (64'), Charlton (90')