Lady Magpies off to a flying start after NUFC ownership announcement

A flag in the gallowgate end of St James' Park reads "Howay The Lasses."
A flag in the gallowgate end reads "Howay The Lasses" during the FA Women's National League Division One North match between Newcastle United Women and Alnwick Town Ladies at St James' Park on May 01, 2022. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Newcastle United Women soared to victory over Merseyrail on Sunday just hours after Newcastle United FC announced the team’s new ownership.

Newcastle United 4–1 Merseyrail

The Women’s National League Division One North got off to an exciting start this weekend as Newcastle United secured a convincing win over the newly-promoted Merseyrail.

It was not an ideal start for Becky Langley’s side when they conceded in the 13th minute after a period of intense pressure from both teams. However, a 26th-minute equaliser from winger Lauren Robson got the ball rolling for the Lady Mags. 

An impressive defensive display from Merseyrail followed, stalling initial attempts from Newcastle to score again. That was until a perfectly timed shot from Georgia Gibson curled into the back of the net, putting the visitors in front just before half-time.

After kicking off the second half, Merseyrail’s solid back line prevented Newcastle from steamrolling their way to victory. The hosts’ keeper also performed well, expertly saving Becky Ferguson’s on-target strike in the opening minutes.

After several attempts to draw level with their opponents, Merseyrail conceded again. Midfielder Ellie Dobson scored from inside the box in the 76th minute. 

The final nail in the coffin came from Dobson. She headed home a free kick in the 88th minute to seal Newcastle’s victory beyond doubt.

At the final whistle, the Lady Magpies came away with three vital points despite Merseyrail putting up a good fight against the potential title contenders. 

Lady Magpies find a new nest

The Lady Mags’ victory over Merseyrail wasn’t the only good news for Newcastle supporters this weekend. A few hours before kickoff, Newcastle United FC announced the team’s “move to club ownership.”

Previously an independent entity, Newcastle United Women have completed a formal restructure. This adjustment allows them to compete as part of the club from the 2022/23 season onwards. 

The club’s shareholders have reiterated their commitment to the women’s team, which they have backed enthusiastically since the club’s £305m takeover last October. In a recent statement, they said, “From the outset, we have stated and demonstrated our wholehearted commitment to the growth of Newcastle United Women.”

The move is perhaps unsurprising for those who follow the women’s team. The team has received substantial support from the Newcastle United Foundation in previous years. Last season, they also had the opportunity to play at St. James’ Park in front of a record-breaking crowd of over 22,000. Coming under the official ownership of the club seemed like the next logical step for many. 

The Lady Magpies will be gunning for promotion this season after narrowly missing out in 2021/22 when Liverpool Feds secured the title by just three points. An increase in support and investment from NUFC can only serve to strengthen their campaign. Now, all eyes will be on promotion into the third tier of women’s football and beyond.

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