Sophie Mitchell’s 90th-minute wonder goal earned us a point against Bournemouth on the opening day of the new campaign.
Despite having much of the play, we trailed the Cherries heading into the dying moments – until super sub Mitchell produced a wonderful last-gasp leveller to earn us a point at Cinder Lane.
Megan Attenborough was our brightest spark in the opening stages, twice trying her luck from distance in the opening 10 minutes but saw her first effort saved and the second one drifted just wide of the post.
Bournemouth’s Molly Clark then flashed an effort past the post of Emily McGrogan’s goal from 30 yards and Katie James hit a dipping effort from the edge of the box that McGrogan caught comfortably as the Cherries began to threaten.
Attenborough had a third go from far out in her attempts to break the deadlock but this time her ambitious lob to catch out the Bournemouth keeper dropped wide.
James slotted Bournemouth into a 36th-minute lead by collecting a cross from the left before beating McGrogan from close range. Jess Graham desperately tried to clear the ball off the line but only succeeded in getting the final touch before it nestled in for 1-0 Bournemouth.
Our best chance of the opening period involved Attenborough again but this time it was her suppling the cross for Helena Diaz-Butcher whose outstretched leg only managed to force an effort into the arms of the opposition goalkeeper.
We started the second half brightly as we pushed for the equaliser with midfielder Kaylen Gerkey fizzing a powerful half-volley from inside the box just over the bar five minutes after the restart.
Steph Bent was then denied by a brilliant save with the boot of Cherries keeper Katie Scadding after a well-executed counter-attack with ended with Attenborough teeing up Bent for the strike.
Sadly, just after the hour Attenborough’s afternoon was ended by injury after she pulled up when chasing down a loose ball and Annabelle Colston replaced her for the final 30 minutes.
Arguably the game’s decisive moment came 12 minutes from time came when McGrogan made a fantastic save to push Becki Bath’s fierce drive over the bar from point-blank range when it looked for all the world that Bournemouth were going to get a killer second goal against the run of play.
That save certainly made the difference when Mitchell, who replaced Graham in the 84th minute, collected the ball in midfield, flicked it over a defender and unleashed an unstoppable shot in off the bar to spark delirium from everyone in red.
By Benjamin Wills