Peterborough Northern Star returned to FA Women’s Premier League action on Sunday (October 25) and battled back to earn a draw against Midlands Division One title chasers Radcliffe Olympic.
After two convincing cup wins, Star had to settle for a 1-1 draw against their visitors from Nottingham but that was a good point earned against a strong team sitting in second place in the table.
Radcliffe started well with Cat Jackson clipping the top of the bar after just four minutes.
After a quarter-of-an-hour, Star defender Samara Iredale nearly capitalised on confusion at the back but flicked the ball wide.
Just after the half hour mark Jess Farchica halted Radcliffe’s counter-attack and received a caution in the process. From the resulting free-kick, Radcliffe hit the crossbar for a second time.
Moments later, Radcliffe’s leading goalscorer Danielle Salter broke through the home defence and should have broken the deadlock but shanked her opportunity wide of the target.
Near the end of the first half, Star’s Abbey Young came close to breaking the deadlock but fired just over from 25 yards and it was 0-0 at the break.
Star started strongly in the second half and Vicky Gallagher should have opened the scoring but was denied by a full stretch save from keeper Amber Gormanly.
The home side began to create chances with Jodie Bartle volleying over the bar from a corner and Sammy Woodham being denied by Gormanly after intricate play from Chanade Henderson and Gallagher.
However, Radcliffe scored against the run of play when substitute Nat Robinson raced clear and fired across the goal into the far corner.
After the goal, Radcliffe began to pile on the pressure with three corners in succession and Sarah Hudson was forced to make a superb save from Kim Hartford’s long-range volley.
Radcliffe hit the bar for a third time as Salter diverted a cross onto the post and the ball rebounded back off of Hudson and out for a corner.
Star equalised through a fantastic effort from Gallagher as she curled the ball into the top left-hand corner with her left peg from 25 yards out.
That made it 10 goals in 10 games for the Star forward.
Radcliffe could have taken the lead again as Jackson flicked an effort onto the post but the visitors had to settle for a point.
Star boss Steve Iredale said: “That was out best performance of the season so far. We were playing a very good team today - a team that only just lost to runaway leaders Leicester City in the last minute.
“So we knew it was going to be a tough task but we stood up to Radcliffe and gave as good as we got.
“However, we now know we deserve to be in the league we’re in but we have to give this sort of performance every Sunday as there’s no easy games at this level.
“The ladies have set the standard now for the rest of the season.”
Star are at home again this Sunday (November 1) to Birmingham & West Midlands, one of only two teams to have beaten Radcliffe.