Nottingham Forest came from behind twice on Sunday afternoon to pick up a scintillating 6-2 victory away from home over Chester-le-Street to see them progress through to the second round of the FA Women’s National League Plate.
Izzy Dalton drew The Reds level for the first time of the afternoon to net her first goal in Garibaldi before Precious Hamilton continued her goal scoring form to ensure the game was all tied up heading into the break after the home side went ahead again. Goals from Lyndsey Harkin, another from Hamilton and a headed brace from Ellie Casper saw Forest run riot in the second-half to book their place in the next round.
Andy Cook made four changes to his side that beat Loughborough Foxes 3-0 on Thursday evening as Mai Moncaster made her first start for the club and Bolu Fisher, Sianna Bennett and Casper were all brought back into the starting 11.
It only took Chester-le-Street three minutes to open the scoring as in-form striker, Nichole Havery, bagged her first of the afternoon as she beat the off-side trap to storm through on goal before slotting an effort past Aja Aguirre and into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.
The Reds responded positively to going behind and enjoyed the majority of possession and good chances before Dalton levelled the scoring on the 22nd minute. The home side failed to clear their lines as Forest hit numerous shots towards goal as the ball bounced from red shirt to red shirt before it eventually rolled out to the feet of Dalton who looped a wonderful effort over the ‘keeper that nestled itself into the far left-hand post.
But Chester-le-Street regained their lead only minutes later as the referee awarded them a dubious spot kick after she deemed Bennett to have committed a foul. Havery stepped up for the hosts and made no mistake as she made it 2-1 in her side’s favour.
Forest didn’t stay behind for too long as Hamilton continued her run of scoring in every single Forest game for the season as she made it 2-2 on the 31st minute. Bex Rayner flashed her skill as she carried the ball through the home side’s half before slipping a perfect pass through to Hamilton inside the box who netted a great finish from a tight angle at the near post.
The Reds had an opportunity to head into the break ahead after Hamilton burst into the box and blasted a shot on target from close range but the ‘keeper pulled of a terrific save to ensure the honours were even heading into the second-half.
Casper put Forest ahead for the first time of the afternoon only 49 seconds into the second-half as she bagged her first goal for the club. Rayner whipped a great cross deep into the home side’s 18-yard-box and Casper rose the highest at the far post to nod her header past the ‘keeper.
Forest had a huge let-off on the 52nd minute as Chester-le-Street were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon. Aguirre had stormed off her line to clear the ball away from the onrushing forward but the referee pointed to the spot as she deemed Aguirre to have missed the ball and to have only made contact with the player. Havery stepped up to secure her hat-trick but she fortunately hit her effort wide.
Harkin doubled The Reds lead on the 67th minute as the skipper netted her second of the season. After Forest were awarded a free-kick near the home side’s corner flag Hamilton rolled a short set piece side-wards to Fisher who hit a cross into the area that Harkin read perfectly to get past her marker before diverting the ball past the ‘keeper.
Hamilton put The Reds in cruise control seven minutes later as she secured Forest’s fifth of the game. Moncaster drove through the home side’s final third before slicing a well-weighted pass through the home side’s defence and onto Hamilton who held off a challenge from the defender before calmly finishing at the near post.
Casper rounded off the scoring for the afternoon as she made it 6-2 10 minutes from full-time with her second of the game. Casper slipped a pass from the edge of the box to Fisher in the area who took a touch before re-finding Casper with a cross on the edge of the six-yard box. Casper saw her first effort saved but was successful the second time of asking with a strong header.
Forest: Aguirre, Dalton (Cook 46’), Harkin (c), Bennett, Hewitt, Walton (Tudor 80’), Moncaster, Rayner, Fisher, Hamilton (Hickingbotham 76’), Casper
Subs not used: Davies, Middleton
Goals: Dalton 22’, Hamilton 31’ & 74’), Casper (46’ & 80), Harkin (67’)