Both Brentford WFC’s First Team and B Team remain unbeaten in the 2021/22 campaign. First Team Head Coach Karleigh Osborne’s outfit displayed excellent character to fight back from a 2-0 deficit against Hackney Women’s Firsts. They managed to claw their way back and claim another point after drawing the match 2-2.
Osborne believes resilience will be imperative to the First Team’s success this season and said: “I think for sure that will be very important to us this season. It’s key that we show that at times and I’m glad we could dig in because it’s a vital trait to have as a team; especially when you have just been promoted.”
The B team kicked off their season with an impressive 9-0 victory over East London Ladies and did not slow down over the weekend. The Bees completed another emphatic win, this time thrashing New London Lionesses 6-0 away from home, leaving them with a plus 15 goal difference after just two games. Head Coach Will Blithing was delighted with the result and believes hard work has been the key factor to the early success.
Will said: “The secret to success thus far is that the girls have bought into working hard for each other. You don’t come off that pitch regretting anything. I always say to them you don’t come off at half-time, full-time or whenever you come off thinking I could have given that little bit more. I think that mentality has now got through to the whole team.”
As previously mentioned, The First Team had to fight back from 2-0 down against Hackney Women’s First to earn themselves a point. The home side started the game on the front foot and after just eight minutes their pressure paid off. A well-executed corner found Francesca Cagetti who headed home to give Hackney a 1-0 edge. The remainder of the first half saw both sides see chances go begging in what was turning into a feisty contest.
Similar to the first half, Hackney doubled their lead early in the second; this time it only took them five minutes to find the back of the net. This left Brentford with a mountain to climb if they were to gain anything from the match.
On 65 minutes The Bees pulled a goal back after a well-directed corner from Shannon Read found its target, centre back Kara McMahon, who finished with aplomb. The goal from McMahon epitomised her wonderful start to the season. With their tails now up, it took Brentford just five minutes to find the equaliser. Rebekah Edwards found herself with the ball out wide and delivered a delicious cross, which midfielder Sophie Troth gladly accepted and headed past the opposing keeper, levelling the score at 2-2.
This was how the game finished with both sides perhaps feeling as though they could have taken all three points. However, the visitors will be delighted with the attitude they demonstrated to turn the game around in the second half.
Osborne was pleased with the result overall but thought his team deserved the victory. He said: “I think it was a good result in the end, for the fact that we went 2-0 down so we showed fantastic character to come back in the game. I thought we should have won it. We had the better chances and played the better football.”
He believes the next step in turning draws into wins is the team being more ruthless in front of goal, and added: “I think we need to take our chances first and foremost. We’ve created chances in all our games, but we haven’t been as clinical as I’d like us to be. I think that is going to be a massive factor going forward.”
As for the B Team, they followed up their 9-0 win over East London Ladies with a convincing 6-0 drumming against New London Lionesses. Debutant striker Ogechi Anokwuru, affectionally referred to as ‘Chi’ by her teammates and coaching staff, was an inspired second half substitute as she helped herself to four goals in 45 minutes. Midfielder Calli Weaver also bagged herself a brace on what was a wonderful day for Brentford.
Despite the final score line, the game was evenly contested for the majority of the first half, with both sides creating chances. On the stroke of half time, it was Brentford who broke the deadlock. Jasmine King was expertly found from a 35-yard diagonal ball and delivered a looping cross from the right-hand side. This in turn found Weaver at the back post and the midfielder impressively converted the opportunity on the volley.
It didn’t take long for The Bees to get going in the second half, more specifically forward Anokwuru. The half time substitute scored twice within a five-minute period, the first coming in the 49th minute and the second in the 53rd. The latter came from a well worked team goal. The ball was played into Anokwuru’s feet, who showed good strength to hold the ball up and then lay it wide whilst holding off a defender. After beating the defender one V one, the winger delivered a pinpoint cross for ‘Chi’ to finish.
Weaver then added her second and Brentford’s fourth of the match after Jasmine Williamson’s cross found the midfielder, who slotted the ball calmly into the bottom right-hand corner.
Anokwuru claimed her hat-trick in the 83rd minute after spinning a defender and finding the back of the net with an impressive finish. Just five minutes later and Anokwuru made it 6-0 to Brentford. Lillie Elsbury delivered a wicked corner to the back post and the striker was on hand to finish, completing an exceptional debut performance.
Head Coach Blithing is pleased with the strength in depth that The B Team possesses. He said: “We had to rotate the squad this week due to injuries. The girls who didn’t play in the first game but got the chance in this one really took the bull by the horns and put a solid performance across. They want to be playing every week and as a manager I now have a tough job to try and pick my best 11.”
Both sides will want to continue their early unbeaten streaks for as long as possible. Brentford WFC’s First Team are on the road again and travel to Victoire FC on Sunday. The B Team have the comfort of familiarity as they host Actonians Reserves; they coincidentally are the last side to defeat The Bees in a competitive match.