Nottingham Forest will look to make it six games unbeaten across all competitions on Sunday afternoon as they take on Guiseley Vixens at the Reds’ new home, Eastwood FC.
The Reds haven’t suffered a League loss since the beginning of last November and come into the fixture of the back of two straight FA WNL North wins.
Forest’s last competitive fixture came last week where they faced up to Sheffield FC on Valentine’s day away from home. Both Aimee Hickingbotham and Ashleigh Edwards fired the Reds to a 2-1 win as Katie Middleton also shone underneath the floodlights with an impressive performance. Hickingbotham gave the Reds the lead and netted her goal for the side just before the half an hour mark after some superb work from Middleton. Middleton had charged through the Sheffield half and skipped past several Sheffield shirts before she slipped a perfect pass to the feet of Hickingbotham who took a touch and lifted her shot over the ‘keeper. Forest had to wait till the second half to double their lead and the second goal came on the 51st minute. Middleton was involved again for her side as picked up the ball and glided into the Sheffield box, her first two initial shots were well blocked on the line but Edwards was on hand to poke the ball into the back of the net. It was a nervy finish for the Reds as Sheffield pegged a late goal back on the 84th minute as Rhema Lord-Mears hit a first-time effort from the edge of the box that rolled underneath Rebecca Thomas in goal. But the Reds remained composed and organised at the back to ensure they held on to earn all three points.
The Reds were scheduled to take on the Vixens three weeks ago but the match fell victim to the weather and both sides will be hoping it isn’t the same outcome on Sunday. The sides previously matched up back in September at the start of the season where the Reds were fairly beaten 2-0. The Yorkshire outfit scored a goal in either half to ensure the three points stayed with the Vixens and left Forest rueing their early missed chances in the game. Olivia Auker opened the scoring for her side on the 26th minute with a curling shot from 22 yards out. Then Eleanor Hall sealed the win on the 79th minute from close range after a defensive mishap from the Reds inside the box.
The Vixens come into the game of the back of a recent draw against fellow Yorkshire side Doncaster Rovers Belles. Guiseley believed they had stolen all three points on the 84th minute as Alarna Fuller put her side ahead but Donny Belles responded well and Olivia Cook drew her side level five minutes later. The Vixens had a golden opportunity to regain their lead and well and truly steal all three points as they were awarded a penalty a minute into stoppage time but Emily Batty repeated her penalty saving heroics that she performed against the Reds and made a brilliant save to earn her side a point.
The Reds will be aware to keep a close eye on Vixen’s forward, Ellie Casper, on Sunday afternoon as she has fired herself into red hot form. Casper has successfully found the back of the net seven times in her previous nine appearances across all competitions and will be wanting to continue the streak. Striker, Olivia Auker, who netted when the sides last met has also racked up 10 goals across all competitions so far, this season but the Reds will be aiming to shut her out this weekend and deny her adding to her tally.
But the Vixens defence will equally be hoping to keep Forest’s in form attackers, Katie Middleton and Ashleigh Edwards, quiet on Sunday. Edwards has netted three goals in her last two games and is currently the side’s top goal scorer with nine. Middleton racked up two more assists her in last outing for the Reds that took her combined goal and assist total up to 16 for the season in only 22 appearances and the young forward will be looking to add more to her tally this Sunday.