Nottingham Forest suffered a narrow home loss on Sunday as two second-half goals gave Middlesbrough the victory.
Forest took the lead in the first half through a curling strike from Trina Greaves but Boro came out hunting in the second half and stole all three points with two well taken goals from Leonie Hutchinson and Ellie Dobson.
Graham Abercrombie made four changes from his side that lost 3-1 at home to Guiseley Vixens last Sunday. Amy Dicken came in to defence in the place of Frankie Wilson and Trina Greaves and Charlie Griffin were preferred to last week’s starters Aimee Hickingbotham and Izzy Sullivan. Summer Holmes also made her first start of the season starting ahead of Sarah Brown.
The opening 10 minutes of the game was lively with both side’s pressing high with the ball in each other’s thirds but neither side pressured either ‘keeper at each end. Boro had the first real goal scoring opportunity as the ball fell to Dobson outside the area. She smashed her effort but Sammy Conroy stood strong and took the sting out of the shot and Rebecca Thomas easily bundled up the ball.
The next opportunity fell to Forest 60 seconds later on the 19th minute as Conroy was involved down the other end of the field. The Reds broke quickly and Katie Middleton drilled a cross along the edge of the box that Conroy rocketed goal wards first time but it flew wide of the goal.
Thomas came up big for the Reds again four minutes later as she denied Boro a certain goal. Hutchinson rifled a shot from outside the area but Thomas got up high to push the effort over the cross bar with her fingertips.
Conroy came close again for the Reds just after the half hour mark. Conroy rose the highest in a crowded Boro box to meet a free kick from Holmes but she couldn’t connect well with her header and she saw her shot fly well wide.
The Reds deservedly took the lead on the 38th minute through Trina Greaves. The ball was threaded through to Greaves on the edge of the area who took out her marker with a neat touch and curled her shot around the ‘keeper and with the help of the right-hand goal post it bounced into the back of the net.
Conroy should’ve doubled the Reds’ lead six minutes later as her cross turned shot looked to be sneaking underneath the cross bar at the near post but the ‘keeper reacted quickly to push the ball away to safety.
The Reds were gifted another opportunity to go into the break two goals ahead after they awarded a free kick after Middleton was brought down from behind. Lyndsey Harkin stepped up to take the set piece and had a shot on goal from it that was flying towards the bottom left hand corner but the ‘keeper did superbly well to deny her.
Forest continued where the left of in the second half and were given another chance to double their lead on the 47th minute. Boro failed to deal with a teasing corner kick from Harkin and Greaves saw her initial shot blocked by a white shirt. Walters pounced on the loose ball and smacked her shot goal wards but the ‘keeper did well to save her follow up effort.
Boro came inches away from drawing her side level four minutes later as Hutchinson fizzed a low cross deep inside the Forest box. Both Kelly Darby and Thomas failed to deal with the ball and Emily Scarr was ready and waiting for it at the far-left hand post but fortunately for the Reds Dicken was on hand to clear away the ball before they were punished.
The Reds looked to have successfully doubled their lead only seconds later as Holmes had put the ball in the back of the net. The ‘keeper had fumbled Griffin’s shot and Holmes made her pay as she whacked the ball over the ‘keeper and over the line but the offside flag was raised on the midfielder.
Forest paid the price for their previous missed chances as Boro levelled the scoring on the 56th minute. Hutchinson, who had been heavily involved for the away side over the game, tapped home a cross from Tyler Dodd’s with ease at the far left-hand post.
All three points were then snatched away from the Reds as the away side took the lead and went 2-1 up six minutes later. Dobson rose the highest in the Forest box to put a thundering header past Thomas and to put the Reds behind for the first time of the afternoon.
The Reds then began their search to try and get something from the game and came close through Holmes on the 66th minute. Holmes found some space 25 yards out and hit a powerful shot but the ‘keeper got down to push her effort out for a corner kick.
Forest should’ve levelled the scoring on the 92nd minute and deservedly earn a point from the game as Greaves whipped a great cross into the Boro box. Darby was waiting to meet the ball but she could only steer her header inches over the crossbar.
Forest: Thomas, Dicken, Harkin, Darby ( c ), Walters, Griffin (Edwards 72’), Conroy, Constantinou (Brown 78’), Holmes (Hickingbotham 78’), Greaves, Middleton
Subs not used: Hallam, Bennett
Goal: Greaves 38'
Booking: Dicken 69’
Middlesbrough: Wareham, Hutchinson, Luke, Brown, Foster, Watt, Dodds, Dobson, Manders, Dale (Elliot 50’), Scarr (Owens 81’)
Goals: Hutchinson 56', Dobson 62'
Bookings: Luke 83’, Manders 90’