Brighouse Town Women suffer last gasp defeat to Loughborough Lightning in nine goal thriller

Brighouse Town Women lost a nine-goal thriller against Loughborough Lightning in their National League Northern Premier clash on Sunday.

By Mark Berry
Monday, 31st January 2022, 8:06 am
Updated Monday, 31st January 2022, 8:08 am
Danielle Whitham. Pic: Ray Spencer
Danielle Whitham. Pic: Ray Spencer

Rob Mitchell’s team thought they’d rescued an undeserved draw when Shauna Legge headed in a 95th minute equaliser to make it 4-4.

However, Loughborough’s Abbie Benstead capitalised on a defensive loss in concentration to fire in the winner with the last kick of the game to lift the home team out of the relegation zone.

Brighouse went into the game buoyed by Wednesday night’s 1-0 win against Huddersfield Town but a mixture of injuries, work commitments and Covid meant they were missing four regulars.

Despite the much-changed line-up the visitors didn’t get out the blocks for the first 30 minutes and quickly found themselves 2-0 down.

Loughborough had already struck the post in the opening minute when captain Chloe Young curled in a screamer into the top right corner after 27 minutes.

Seven minutes later it was 2-0 when Rosetta Taylor fired into the other corner from outside the box.

At the other end Ella Hartley and Drew Greene both had good chances before Monique Watson reduced the arrears on 41 minutes when she slotted the ball beyond the home team goalkeeper Kiya Webb.

Brighouse ended the first half on top but found themselves 3-1 down after 50 minutes following some terrible defending.

Goalkeeper Imogen Maguire made a triple save but was helpless as Nicki Russell bundled the ball home from on the goal line.

At the other end Leah Embley was denied by a brilliant save by Webb before Chloe Young made it 4-1 after 62 minutes.

The goal galvanised Brighouse into action and Loughborough suddenly looked vulnerable to crosses into the box.

Leah Embley made it 4-2 on 65 minutes from a free-kick although it may have taken a touch after a defender on the way in.

With 10 minutes left Hartley headed in Embley’s cross to make it 4-3 and set up a grandstand finish.

Driven on by Danielle Whitham, Brighouse threw caution to the wind in pursuit of an equaliser and thought they’d bagged a point when centre-back Legge headed in a corner to make it 4-4 deep into injury time.

However Loughborough had the last word through substitute Benstead to spark wild scenes of celebrations by the home team.

After the game Brighouse manager Mitchell said his side got exactly what they deserved – nothing.

“You shouldn’t score four away from home and lose but the fifth goal summed up our whole performance,” he said.

“I’m not going to make excuses about the players we were missing and the tough game against Huddersfield on Wednesday because that’s why you have a squad but Loughborough deserved it.

“At the start of the week I’d set the team a target of seven points from our three league matches and we ended up with six and we have to remember it’s our first season in this league. However we have to learn from our mistakes."