Nottingham Forest were left to rue missed chances on Sunday afternoon as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion in their final game of 2020.
The Baggies came from behind to clinch all three points with two fortunate goals as they cancelled out Hayley James’ first-half strike through an own goal from Lyndsey Harkin and a corner-kick turned shot from Hannah George.
Andy Cook handed Annabel McKechnie and Katie Middleton their first starts of the season as his side took to the field for the first time in seven weeks. Despite the result it was still a day to remember for the club as Lyndsey Harkin registered her 200th appearance for the side and Aja Aguirre made her 50th.
It was an even opening 10 minutes to the match with Rosie Axten have Forest’s first two efforts on goal just before the quarter hour mark. Her first saw her pick up the ball inside the box after the clearance wasn’t made but Axten’s resulting shot was blocked and her second dinked effort was saved by the ‘keeper.
Axten was involved again on the 21st minute as her corner-kick was met by Rachel Brown inside the box but she could only guide her headed effort over the goal.
Aguirre was called into action twice on the 37th minute and 38th minute as West Brom threatened the Forest goal but she denied Leigh Dugmore and Trina Greaves.
James put The Reds 1-0 ahead on the 39th minute as the side headed into the break in the driving seat. Lucy Johnson’s cross was knocked down to Middleton by Axten inside the box, Middleton’s shot was then deflected but met James at the far post who stabbed the ball past the ‘keeper.
Forest began the first-half in control as they went searching to double their lead but great shots from Axten and McKechnie were well stopped by the ‘keeper.
Aguirre pulled off a fantastic save on the 51st to deny the visitors a certain equaliser after Jade Arber broke freely into the Forest box but Aguirre was quick off her line to make the save and to keep hold of the ball.
But The Reds’ lead didn’t last long after that as West Brom drew level on the 56th minute through an unfortunate own goal. A dubious free-kick was awarded to the away side and as Harkin attempted to clear the resulting ball into the box she could only divert it past Aguirre in goal.
Axten should have restored Forest’s lead only four minutes later as she curled a brilliant shot towards goal from just inside the box but her effort just brushed past the wrong side of the goalpost.
The Reds found themselves behind on the 65th minute after another mistake at the back as Aguirre was only able to push George’s corner-kick into the back of her own net.
Johnson was heavily involved in Forest’s final few attacks of the game as the team went on the hunt for an equaliser but her first two crosses were bundled up by the ‘keeper and Johnson’s shot deep into stoppage time flew wide of the target.
Despite The Reds’ late surge of attack the side were unable to earn anything from the game and head into the New Year looking to get back on track.
Forest: Aguirre, James, Greengrass, Harkin (c), Johnson, Brown, Steggles (Moncaster 90+1), Middleton (Rayner 73’), Naylor, McKechnie (Scholefield 73’), Axten
Subs not used: Hewitt & Tudor
Goal: James 39’
West Bromwich Albion: Bastock, George (c), Elsmore, Owen, Baines, Nymoen, Greaves, Dugmore, Stamps (Gallop 71’), Davies, Arber (Aboallah 83’)
Sub not used: Vincze
Goals: Harkin (OG) 56’, George 65’