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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
Grace Pomfret
Molly Etchells

Ives 61'

Charlie Shaw

Smith 82'

Kay Baker
Ellen Thornton
Lily Robinson

Nawaz 46'

Feiruz Abdullahi (c)
Abby Bennett
Phoebe Duckworth

Ainscough 70'

Letitia Lengden
Liv Smith

Yau 46'

Bel Ainscough
Sab Nawaz
Missi Chappell
Adora Yau
Chloe Ives

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Salford City Lionesses fell to a first league defeat of the season at home to a resolute Northwich Vixens, who scored early and were well organised in protecting their lead for the remainder of the game.

It was a bright enough start from the hosts after Feiruz Abdullahi was fouled on the right-hand side. The free-kick was taken short and quickly in an attempt to catch Vixens out, and Abby Bennett attempted a lobbed shot which dropped just over the bar.

However just a couple of minutes later Salford fell behind. A seemingly harmless ball over the top dropped behind the defence and was picked up by the visitors' number 10. Amongst cries for offside, the striker proceeded to slot her effort into the bottom right-hand corner to give Vixens the lead.

In the 10th minute Phoebe Duckworth, with a new vigour this season, hit a shot on the turn from the top of the area which was blocked at close range. From that Northwich broke down their right, but a timely sliding challenge from Kay Baker denied the 11 a chance to advance.

That would be the last real sight of goal for the Lionesses for a while, but a combination of good defending and more target practice meant that Vixens couldn't extend their advantage either as 18 headed a corner wide, Grace Pomfret saved well to deny 10 a second and 8 spurned a tap-in by opening up her body too much and diverting a low cross wide from 10 yards out.

Salford were at least suitably encouraged to finish with a flourish of chances though. With five minutes remaining Abdullahi won a corner on the left that dropped to Duckworth on the edge of the area, and unable to shoot she laid a pass back for Lily Robinson which she fired over. The midfielder would get another bite at that cherry just two minutes later as she received possession from a thrown-in on the left, held off the Northwich 18 and hit an effort that was gathered by the Vixens stopper.

The last action of the first 45 would come to Bennett and again it was from distance as she wriggled free of the 18 before hitting a shot a foot or so wide of the post. There was hope and potential shown in those last five minutes, and if ever the adage that 'half time came at the wrong moment' was true it was now.

HALF TIME: Salford City Lionesses 0-1 Northwich Vixens

Perhaps it was just one of those days as the second half took its time to get going and it was past the hour mark when Abdullahi found a way in behind the Northwich defence. Her looping run to the right took her to the byline and in towards goal, but despite what looked to be a clip no penalty was forthcoming.

Another 10 minutes elapsed before arguably the best chance of the game. A thrown-in on the left bounced in front of Bennett who let fly with a fierce shot from 25 yards that was pushed onto the bar by the Vixens keeper. Bel Ainscough, just on as a substitute, followed in at the back post but under pressure couldn't force the ball on target for an equaliser.

Less than a minute later Abduallahi chased a long Pomfret ball down the left and drove into the area before drilling a low shot-come-cross that just evaded Letitia Lengden and Ainscough in the six-yard box, then ultimately the back post. A more positive five-minute spell ended with another Abdullahi effort that was deflected for a corner, but the visitors dealt with the set piece.

A last chance came to Sab Nawaz who was played through one-on-one by Bennett, but the Vixens stopper was out quickly to narrow the angle and the winger was denied a second goal of the season. Right at the death with numbers forward the Lionesses were caught out at the back, but Pomfret did well to put off the Vixens number 9's effort then save at the near post from number 6.

FULL TIME: Salford City Lionesses 0-1 Northwich Vixens

The disappointment was evident to see for those in red, and it's not often that happens. On the bright side there were still ultimately some good chances created, and last season a defeat at Chester kicked the Lionesses on to win the remaining 11 games they played. Uncertainty over fixtures in the current climate isn't ideal, but that is a challenge that every team is facing and whether the next game is home, away, next week or in two or three weeks, the most the Lionesses can do is be ready to go and set it right.