Musacchio was brought in ahead of the 2021/22 North East Regional Women’s Football League Premier Division campaign as the Owlesses look to try and make a fist of things in their first full season in the division, and enjoyed a strong preseason that saw them score 16 goals in five games – winning three and losing just once.
But their NERWFL season got off to a tough start against Sunderland West End, who scored three first half goals that would eventually give them the three points at Sheffield Hallam University’s Sports Park.
Tiegan Hutchinson, Laicey Greener and Pav Kaur got the goals for West End, however the vocal Jess Birtles did grab a goal whilst the score was 2-0 that kept Musacchio’s team in the tie.
Birtles powered a header home after a long throw-in from Demi West to make it 2-1, but a third before the break gave the Owlesses a mountain to climb.
Musacchio made tactical changes at half time, and brought on forward, Lauren Bullock – changes that seemed to put them on the front foot as they tried to get back into the game.
Shannon Coughlan, daughter of former Owls defender, Graham, was a constant threat as she sought to cause problems down the right side with captain, Jodie Stancill. She got a few left-footed efforts off, but wasn’t able to find the net.
But SWLFC were rewarded for their efforts as a nice piece of build-up play saw the long-serving Channy Rymer pick up the ball on the edge of the West End box, and she beautifully placed it from range into the far corner, up and over the goalkeeper’s outstretched arm.
Musacchio continued to ring the changes as his side pushed for an equaliser that they probably deserved, but some impressive goalkeeping and a top-class last-ditch tackle on Ella Bright kept the Owlesses at bay.
It wasn’t the start they’d have wanted, but there was plenty to take from it. Up next is a trip Wakefield Trinity on September 19th.