Peterborough Northern Star made a satisfying start to life in the Women’s Premier League with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Khalsa in Birmingham yesterday (August 16).
Maybe the sense of occasion affected Star at the kick-off as Sporting Khalsa dominated possession in the first 20 minutes with the city team looking nervous when on the ball.
However, as the realisation that they had earned the right to play at this level sunk in, Northern Star grew into the game and created a few half chances themselves before the break through Jess Farchica and Rachel Adkin.
Sporting Khalsa were the only team to record a shot on target in the first half though.
Star had their first shot on target early in the second half when Sofia Aragosa went close from 20 yards.
Khalsa came close with several chances in the first 10 minutes after the restart and a great challenge from centre-half Samara Iredale, after Jodie Bartle’s slip, stopped Khalsa’s number 9 from closing in on goal.
Five minutes later Aragosa again fired agonisingly wide.
Around the 65-minute mark, Khalsa looked certain to score when their number 9 broke through but captain Bartle made a last-ditch intervention.
Star worked the ball up the field following the tackle from the skipper and created their best chance of the game which saw Leah Barnes’ shot saved and deflected back towards goal from a defender and trickling just inches wide.
From the resulting corner, Peterborough broke the deadlock.
Emily Ingle crossed the ball towards the far post where Aragosa leapt like a salmon to nod the ball home.
With 10 minutes left Khalsa levelled when one of their substitutes headed home from a teasing cross from the left touchline.
Khalsa had good possession following the equaliser and forced a great save from Star’s substitute goalkeeper, Sarah Hudson, to prevent the home side from taking a late victory.
Northern Star themselves could then have taken home all three points but Chanade Henderson fired tamely at the Khalsa keeper when put clean through.
Star boss, Steve Iredale, said: “Thie league is a big step up in class from where we’ve come. You have to concentrate for 90 minutes - slack off and you’ll get punished.
“Our back four were immense and the matchball had imprints of our two centre-halves foreheads on it!
“Khalsa only won one ball in the box all game but unfortunately that cost us a goal. That’s the difference in standards.
“I was disappointed to not take all three points but a draw was a good result and good for confidence.”
Northern Star: A. Bromley (S. Hudson 67), L. Dawson, S. Iredale, J. Bartle, J. Evans, J. Farchica, S. Aragosa, A. Young, E. Ingle, R. Adkin (C. Henderson 73), G. Coulson (L. Barnes 36).