Sheffield Wednesday Ladies clinch away point as wonderkid makes highly-anticipated debut

Sheffield Wednesday Ladies came from two down to draw 2-2 with Mosborough Ladies FC in a game which saw youngster Mika Russell score five minutes into her debut.
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The Owlesses were hesitantly awaiting the tie against Mosborough Ladies FC after the reverse fixture saw them undone 3-0 at home, the one and only game so far this season that The Owlesses were unable to convert any of their chances, and they would have to be on top form to diminish the threat of the league’s top scorer Sadie Smith, who silenced The Jubilee last time out with a well-taken brace.

Wednesday would have to complete the task without Lucy Poskitt at the heart of the defence - though they were bolstered by the return of Tamsin Stephenson to fill that void - but the absentees didn’t stop there for Wednesday as Maisie Gilligan was also not to feature at left-back, a position that Kieron Lee’s side have very little cover for, while Rachel Norsworthy, who has implemented her trade this season as a wide player, was also missing.

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Expectedly, Lee and assistant Andy Gilligan made an array of changes to the side that was victorious against Penistone Church in the SHWGL Cup. They opted with a slightly altered 4-4-2, which saw Amy Broomhead, Wednesday’s top scorer, joined up top by Sadie Hooper. Meanwhile Wednesday were notably without stalwart keeper, Kirsty Tonner, which lead to 16-year-old shot-stopper, Skye Webster, being drafted in for what would be her first 90-minutes for the seniors.

Unsurprisingly, Smith started the game brightly for the hosts, and she got an opportunity off the back of a Stephenson header that didn’t quite make the distance to find Webster - however the young keeper was able to meet the shot with a comfortable save.

Wednesday we’re having to adjust to their slightly altered shape, especially Heidi O’Reilly who was not in her familiar attacking midfield slot just behind the striker, alternatively finding herself out on the right flank for this encounter, but coming off the back of a hat trick in her previous appearance, Broomhead was brimming with confidence. She fashioned a chance out of nothing as she lashed out a strike from 30 yards which tested the keeper to concede a corner, but nothing came from it.

Back at the other end, Smith converted her second chance of the game, as she was able to bend it past the grasp of Webster, and moments later, Wednesday had claims for a penalty waved away, after Sadie Hooper was wiped out by the keeper - protests from those in blue and white were waved away by match official Tyler Ledger. The decision was pivotal, because shortly afterwards Wednesday’s task became even more difficult as the hosts hit home to double their lead as they slotted away a rebound.

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It saw Wednesday trailing by two going into the interval. And Lee would have to turn to his bench to make a difference in the latter half - a defensive switch would take priority. Stephenson made way for Molly Wilde and ten minutes later the highly anticipated appearance of Mika Russell took place as she replaced Hooper.

Russell had gained many plaudits over the season for the U18s, and as a result had earned herself her first appearance for the first team. She by no means looked out of place from the off, and was providing a real threat down the right-side almost immediately. She wasted no time, and minutes after her introduction, she had her name on the scoresheet following some unclean defending from Mosborough, which she was able to capitalise on. 2-1.

Now the Owlesses had the wind in their sails, as they entered the final 20 minutes there was hope of an equaliser. A second goal felt inevitable for Wednesday, and it came on the 80th-minute mark courtesy of, of course, that girl Broomhead. The sharpshooter latched on to a loose ball in the box, turning it into a vacant net, and just like in their league tie away at Kiveton Park, they had managed to turn around a multiple goal deficit - and in some style.

They weren’t done yet, though, as Russell on the right-side was continuing to cause problems for the Mosborough defence, and Renée Simmonite-Scott was starting to stamp her authority on the game. She was making the most of the tired legs in the middle of the park for the opposition, but ten minutes of end to end action in the latter stages of the second stanza surprisingly did not see a winning goal from either side. It left Wednesday with just a single point on their travels, but one which will be seen as a massive step forward for Lee’s side.

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The result sees Wednesday Ladies remain in third place, keeping their four-point breathing space between Mosborough in fourth. They will have a chance to build on this point gained as they welcome Penistone Church at home in the SHWGL, just two weeks after the two sides met in the cup, when the The Owlesses came out victorious.