BURTON Albion Ladies returned to FA Women’s National League Division One action with a 5-2 defeat at Leafield Athletic Ladies, despite a valiant second half display.
Two quick-fire goals for Leafield put the Brewers on the backfoot going into half-time but goals from Ella Doocey and full debutant Hanaiya Azhar pulled the side back into the game after the break.
The Brewers, who travelled to face Leafield on International Women’s Day, made a strong second-half comeback, however, it wasn’t enough for Billings’s side to pick up any points.
First-team coach Steve Guest was pleased that the team showed good character to get themselves back into the match, but knows they need to be more clinical if they are to start picking up the points they need.
“The girls put in a really solid display second-half,” Guest said.
“They worked really hard and dug in, perhaps a few things didn’t go our way, but, in a way, it helped us because the girls fought harder and played on the front foot more. We had some decent opportunities in and around the box but, unfortunately, we probably didn’t pull the trigger as much as we’d have hoped.”
The Brewers created chances, but the hosts managed to restore their healthy lead with a further three goals.
“There are lots of positive we can take from the game,” said Guest. “What we’re doing on and off the ball is superb with the girls digging in like they did today.
“If they show that determination for the rest of the season, then I think we’ll surprise a couple of teams further down the line.”
The Brewers are set to return home against Lincoln City this weekend, but first-team coach Ben Webster knows that the girls have positives to take with them for the next few matches.
“The reaction of the players in the second half was exactly what we asked for,” Webster said.
“The team came out and gave a really good account of themselves, but, with the pressure we were applying, Leafield caught us out in the end.”
“I think though the reaction and the purpose the girls had during the second half is something the girls can take forward, not just for next week, but for the rest of the season moving forward.”
Hanaiya Azhar, who scored the Brewers' second, made her full senior debut today having joined the side after being in the youth set-up earlier this season.
The Brewers will now turn their attention to their fixture with Lincoln City at Rocester on Sunday at 2pm, as they look to pick up their first points of the season.