Precious Hamilton’s 48th-minute strike was enough for Nottingham Forest to pick up a 1-0 victory away to Fylde on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds were forced to battle for the win and got their reward with a well worked goal early into the second-half as they extended their unbeaten league run to seven games.
Andy Cook made two changes to his side that were last held to a 1-1 draw on the road to Huddersfield Town as Mai Moncaster and Katie Middleton came in for Sophie Tudor and Bolu Fisher who were unavailable for team selection.
Aja Aguirre was the first Red to be called into action as she was forced to defend her goal from a free-kick on the seventh minute. Jenna Carroll sent a long-range free-kick towards the Forest net but Aguirre got down to make the comfortable save.
It was Forest’s turn next to go close with a free-kick routine after Annabel McKechnie was brought down in the final third two minutes later. Sydnie Naylor slipped the short set piece into Bex Rayner who made space before shooting but her effort flew just over the target.
The Reds then continued to enjoy the better chances in-front if goal as they went searching for the opener. Rayner was involved again on the 16th minute as she played a one-two with Hamilton before taking aim but her shot again flew wide.
A short free-kick from Lyndsey Harkin found Naylor out wide on the 23rd minute who then picked out Rayner before whipping a cross into the box for Hamilton to head goal wards but the offside flag was raised on the striker.
Moncaster had a great chance to put her side in control heading into the break as she pulled the trigger on a long-range shot but her chance soared just marginally over the woodwork.
Forest hit the second-half running and got the goal they had been searching for after only three minutes after the restart as Hamilton bagged her 25th goal of the season. Naylor’s throw-in into the final third found Rayner who slipped a short pass into Hamilton’s feet who took a few touches to create some space before curling a shot into the top left-hand corner of the goal.
Harkin should’ve doubled her side’s lead on the 64th minute but was denied by some great last ditch defending. Harkin met Rayner’s superb free-kick in the six-yard box but the ‘keeper managed to block her effort and Katie Middleton was unable to bury home the re-bound as Fylde did enough to keep it out.
Middleton had two shots in quick succession two minutes later to try bag a goal on her 50th appearance for the club. Her first saw an adventurous curling effort fly just wide of the far-post and the second saw her beat the ‘keeper to a long threw ball but her last ditch effort rolled wide.
Substitute Phoebe Warner came agonisingly close to netting Forest’s second three minutes from time after she got on the end of a great pass from Rayner and went one-on-one with the ‘keeper. But her shot was straight at the Fylde number one who was able
to make the routine save.
The missed chances didn’t come back to haunt The Reds as they completed the league double over Fylde who ended the game with only 10 players after Ash Hayes was given her marching orders deep into stoppage time.
Forest: Aguirre, Hewitt, Harkin, Cook, Naylor, Walton, Moncaster, Rayner (Bennett 90’), McKechnie (Warner 67’), Middleton (O’Neill 84’), Hamilton
Subs not used: Davies, Walters
Goal: Hamilton 48’
Booking: Hamilton 28’