Nottingham Forest Women 0 Newcastle United Women 1
Kacie Elson's second-half goal was enough to ensure Newcastle United Women defeated Nottingham Forest Women 1-0 at the City Ground on Sunday.
The FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division victory over last year's league champions extends the Magpies' unbeaten run to 12 games at the start of 2023/24.
As has been the case a lot this term, Becky Langley's side came flying out of the blocks. Good work from Elson and Naomi Bedeau created an early opportunity for Georgia Gibson, but the midfielder could only find the roof of the net with her header.
The hosts threatened early on, with Grace Donnelly being forced into a big save to deny Louanne Worsey after the Forest forward broke through on goal. Charlotte Greengrass had the next chance after being found by Worsey, but fired the ball wide of Donnelly's goal.
The first half was competitive, with Emma Kelly trying her luck for the Magpies before Olivia Watt did well to turn the ball away when Forest attacker Sophie Domingo was lurking.
Gibson then fired wide after being set up by Tyler Dodds, as the sides went in at the break locked level at 0-0.
Soon after the restart, Bridget Galloway pinched the ball from a Forest defender in a dangerous area, but she could only fire the ball into the side netting.
The hosts' goalkeeper Emily Batty then denied Galloway's fierce strike, with the Magpies knocking on the door at the City Ground. Afterwards, Batty struggled to deal with Gibson's strike and, on the rebound, Galloway struck a post. Elysia Boddy followed up with another effort, but fired it straight at the Forest keeper.
Gibson then saw a shot turned round the post, as Newcastle cranked up the pressure on the hosts' defence.
Forest's resilience was broken after 59 minutes, with Elson reacting first to turn home the rebound after Boddy hit the woodwork, edging Langley's team ahead.
Donnelly was forced to react well to deny Holly Manders' long-range effort, just minutes after producing an acrobatic clearance when Domingo looked to get in behind the United defence.
As full-time came into view, Batty did well to stop Bedeau from doubling Newcastle's lead. In the closing stages, Dodds turned her defender well and looked to bend one beyond the opposition goalkeeper, but her effort flew narrowly wide.
Newcastle saw out the remainder of the fixture in a professional manner to earn an important victory at an iconic venue and continue their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Newcastle United Women: Grace Donnelly, Olivia Watt, Charlotte Potts, Naomi Bedeau, Tyler Dodds (Jasmine McQuade 90), Amber-Keegan Stobbs (c) (Hannah Greenwood 83), Emma Kelly, Kacie Elson (Cara Milne-Redhead 90), Georgia Gibson, Katie Barker (Elysia Boddy 46), Bridget Galloway (Becky Ferguson 90)
Subs not used: None
Report by Joseph Nelson
Photograph courtesy of Colin Lock