Three fantastic solo goals saw Nottingham Forest collect their second pre-season win in three games yesterday evening as the side returned to Eastwood CFC for the first time in 193 days to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2.
Forest survived late pressure from the visitors as Wolves clawed back two goals in the game’s final minute. Fortunately, an opening goal from Bex Rayner and a brace from Charlotte Steggles were enough for The Reds to secure a well-deserved victory.
21 different Reds played their part in the win as five summer signings enjoyed their first taste of football at their new home ground.
Forest took control of the game from the opening whistle as a long-thrown in from Hayley James found Annabel McKechnie in the area but her close-ranged headed effort was comfortably saved.
Mai Moncaster fired a shot on goal on the 15th minute as she tested the Wolves ‘keeper from distance but the shot-stopper got down to make the stop.
Rayner opened the game’s scoring on the 28th minute as she picked up from where she left off last season. The forward collected the ball in the box, took a touch and turned away from her marker before slipping a well-weighted shot underneath the ‘keeper and into the far bottom right-hand corner of the goal.
Steggles doubled Forest’s advantage five minutes later with a terrific long-range effort. Last season’s reserve team captain introduced herself to the first-team in fine form as she floated a shot from 30-plus yards out into the top left-hand corner.
Georgia Hewitt had an opportunity to extend Forest’s lead to three goals on the 42nd minute as she picked up a pass on the edge of the box before turning and shooting on goal. But her effort was straight at the ‘keeper who made the routine save.
Forest did eventually make it three-nil in the second-half as Steggles bettered her first-half effort was a brilliant free-kick on the 60th minute. The defensive-midfielder blasted the set-piece from 25 yards out and nestled it into the top left-hand corner of goal, leaving the ‘keeper helpless.
After a flurry of changes for Forest the game began to settle down but substitute Bolu Fisher had an opportunity to get her name on the score sheet on the 84th minute. Lucy Johnson found Fisher in the area with a neat pass but her effort was kept out by the ‘keeper.
Fisher was involved again minutes later as she fended off several challenges from the opposition from just outside the area before hitting an effort towards goal. But again, her strike was well saved.
Wolves added two quick-fire goals on the 90th and 91st minute as they ensured The Reds wouldn’t walk away with their clean sheet. A first-time effort from eight yards out found the back of the net as the side added their first. And a strong long-range free-kick evaded everyone inside the box and found its way into the back of the net no less than a minute later.
But Forest waived off any more late pressure to ensure they came away with a victory heading into their fourth pre-season test on Sunday, at home to Aston Villa Academy.
Forest: Davies (Hind 46’), Greengrass (Walters 82’), Harkin (c), Cook (Johnson 58’), James (Middleton 78’), Hewitt (O’Neill 58’), Steggles (Dexter 82’), Tudor (Scholefield 63’), Moncaster (Fisher 78’), Rayner (Brown 31’), McKechnie (Trialist 64’)
Goals: Rayner 28’, Steggles 33’, 60’