Elford hat-trick propels Huddersfield Town to derby win over Brighouse Town Women

Drew Greene opened the scoring but it was just consolation for the Brighouse Town Women. Photo: Ray Spencer

The visitors were the worthy winners of a hard-fought Yorkshire derby, which avenged their 1-0 league defeat to the same opponents last month.

The two previous attempts to play the match had been thwarted by the weather and Wednesday night’s match was played against a backdrop of pouring rain and strong winds.

Playing with the wind at their back in the first half, Brighouse opened the scoring after 14 minutes when Drew Greene kicked the offside trap to get past forward goalkeeper Bethan Davies.

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Huddersfield equalized in the 23rd minute in controversial circumstances.

Brighouse was attacking when the ball touched the referee. From the resulting loose ball, Huddersfield sent a long ball towards Elford, who hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Seven minutes later, the striker turned things around with a shot from the edge of the box to make it 2-1.

Huddersfield started the second half on the front foot and made it 3-1 after an hour when Brittany Sanderson fired in Kate Mallin’s cross at the near post.

Brighouse manager Rob Mitchell launched captain Annabelle Cass forward in pursuit of a goal, but she was sent off after 66 minutes.

As the rain turned the playing surface into an ice rink, she went for a challenge near the corner flag with Georgia Marshall and ended up in the billboards. The two met but the altercation barely merited a booking but the referee saw fit to send off both players.

Huddersfield were denied a fourth goal by a one-handed save from goalkeeper Imogen Maguire and were denied a penalty when Paige Crossman was given a heavy challenge after 70 minutes.

However, they were not to be denied and Elford grabbed his third and his side’s fourth with a low shot in added time to secure a semi-final against Liverpool’s Feds.

After the game, Mitchell said Huddersfield deserved the win but was disappointed with some decisions.

“The better team won but their equalizer turned the situation in their favour,” he said. “We were attacking when the ball hit the referee, but she gave them the ball and they scored.

“After that Huddersfield looked really dangerous and Laura Elford scored a great hat-trick.

“I’m really disappointed with the double send-off because I don’t think the referee took into account the terrible weather conditions. Both players will miss three games.

“However, our focus now is on the league and a trip to Middlesborough on Sunday.”

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