Nottingham Forest suffered their first defeat of the season on Sunday afternoon as they fell to a 2-1 loss away to Huddersfield Town.
Beth Stanfield’s 13th minute opening goal for the hosts was cancelled out by Charlotte Greengrass on the 43rd minute as she drew The Reds level. Greengrass then had the ball in the back of the net only two minutes later for Forest but the off-side flag was harshly raised and the game was tied up at the break. But The Reds were left to rue missed chances as Kate Mallin secured the win for The Terriers on the 84th minute with an unstoppable strike.
Andy Cook made one change his side that cruised to a 7-0 victory over Loughborough Foxes the previous week as Sophie Tudor came in to replace Sydnie Naylor in the starting 11. It was a landmark day for Forest full-back Georgia Hewitt as she made her 50th appearance across all competitions for the side.
Rachel Brown had the first chance for Forest in-front of goal as she controlled a cross from Hewitt on the edge of the box on the 10th minute. Brown then swung a shot towards goal but her effort was safely caught by the ‘keeper.
Huddersfield took the lead three minutes later as Forest failed to cleanly clear their lines. A low-driven cross was drilled through the box from The Terriers but Brown’s first-time clearance landed at the feet of Stanfield who smashed a volleyed effort into the bottom left-hand corner.
The game then settled for the next 20 minutes of play as both teams attempted to get a foothold of the ball and push towards grabbing the second goal of the match.
The next real opportunity for Forest fell on the 33rd minute of action as Hayley James met a floated through ball from Greengrass on the edge of the box but her headed effort was easily bundled up by the ‘keeper.
Hewitt whipped a cross into the home side’s penalty area on the 41st minute searching for James but she wasn’t able to gain control of the ball to divert it goal-wards. But the ball fortunately fell to Rayner but her shot was well-blocked and cleared away.
The Reds got the equaliser they had been searching for on the 43rd minute as Greengrass bagged her second headed goal in as many games. The towering defender met Rayner’s free-kick at the back post and guided her effort past the ‘keeper to make it 1-1.
Forest thought they had took the lead on the stroke of half-time after Greengrass had the ball in the back of the net, again. Rayner floated another great free-kick into the box and this time the ball fell to Brown but her shot was blocked by the ‘keeper. But Greengrass was on hand to poke the ball home from close-range but as The Reds wheeled away in celebration the off-side flag was raised to deny Forest the lead.
Forest had four opportunities to grab their second goal of the game in the space of five minutes early on in the second-half. The first saw Rosie Axten’s shot blocked on the edge of the box before it could test the ‘keeper and the second, a long-ranged effort from Mai Moncaster rolled wide of the target. Rayner and James then both lined-up to try their luck in-font of goal but both of their shots both ended up on the wrong side of the goal-posts.
As The Reds continued to see their efforts fly wide of the target, Mallin dampened the side’s spirits of coming away with any points from the game as she re-installed Huddersfield’s lead on the 84th minute. Similar to The Terriers’ first goal, Forest were punished at the back as they failed to successfully clear their lines. A pass was hit over the heads of the Forest defence and Sarah Danby was allowed to freely chase it down before swinging a cross into the box where Forest failed to clear the ball and Mallin was allowed the space to smash a powerful effort into the top right-hand corner of the goal.
Despite tasting their first defeat of the season, The Reds still remain top of the league standings as they head into this Sunday’s game against Hull City at Eastwood Community Football Club.
Forest: Aguirre, Greengrass (Middleton 79’), Harkin ©, Johnson, Hewitt (Naylor 68’), James, Tudor (McKechnie 68’), Moncaster, Brown, Rayner, Axten
Subs not used: Walters & Dexter
Goal: Greengrass 43’
Huddersfield: Davies, Stanfield, Mallin, Abbott, Griffiths, Nutter (Harris 90’), Evans (Ibbotson 60’), Danby, Elford, Sowerby (Sanderson 80’), Marshall
Subs not used: Carter & Fletcher
Goals: Stanfield 13’ & Mallin 84th