Friday, 31 July 2015

SWF Blog Special - Cambridge United WFC v QPR Ladies

  The venue tonight The R Costings, Abbey Stadium, in Cambridge home to League Two side Cambridge United. Those gathered inside on a warm evening at the end of July weren't there to see the men's side in a pre-season friendly but instead it was the newly merged women's side wearing the amber and black strip.

   A new chapter in the short history of Cambridge WFC, a club that most of you who follow this blog will realise I have a soft spot for. Is a fantastic club with a great group of players, friendly were the guinea pigs when I first starting writing match reports. July 30th 2015 is the day the club has its special launch match to celebrate its merger with Cambridge United as they become known now as Cambridge United WFC.

   Will now wear the amber and black colours with a new club logo and benefit from a relationship that many women's football teams throughout the country have with their respective men's sides. A natural progression for the club as it moves forwards having gone as far as they could as Cambridge WFC this new merger bringing more than the exposure that can be gained by associating with the men's side they will benefit from better resources being available as well as added media coverage.

  For many of the current squad too, this is a dream come true some fans of Cambridge United they could hardly wait to wear the clubs colours and with it get the chance to play on the Abbey Stadium pitch. 

Cambridge United WFC wearing their new colours

   Manager Steve Edwards, starting his second season in charge has recruited a few new faces to the squad over the close season three of whom were available tonight, attacking player, Becky Taylor coming in from Great Shelford Ladies. Defender Lucy Du Plooy rejoins the club having had a spell at Ipswich Town Ladies along with 16 year old Isabella Simmons who joins from the Cambridge Girls Centre of Excellence.

   Invited to join in the celebrations and help launch Cambridge United WFC, are Queens Park Rangers Ladies. QPR Ladies are a club that are a club that already enjoy a great partnership with their respective men's side. Are also one of the most proactive clubs on social media and the web to help not only promote themselves but often the clubs in the league with them.

   Familiar opponents for the Cambridge girls having been in the same league in the 2013/14 season the FA Women's Premier League South East Division One. QPR Ladies went on to win the title and secure promotion to the Southern Division above had a solid campaign securing their place in the league last season along the way knocking Cambridge WFC out of the FAWPL League Cup. Tonight would be a good test for both sides as they prepare for the new season this the 2nd pre season friendly for them both.

  The venue tonight the Abbey Stadium. Is my 1st visit to the stadium itself, Cambridge WFC's regular home venue is Ely City FC where they will continue to play their home matches as United this season. Is an impressive ground undergoing a little bit of renovation behind the large Main Stand running along the side of the ground with a smaller seated stad behind one goal the other 2 stands opposite offering covered terracing. The pitch looked to be in fantastic condition.

   Due to QPR Ladies getting stuck in heavy traffic kick off was delayed by 15 minutes, there was a decent sized crowd building as the two sides stepped out onto the pitch

   Cambridge United WFC starting XI - Verity Crook, Robyn Phillips, Lucy Du Plooy, Nicola Geoghan, Kayleigh Anne Burt, Laura Baker, Faith Hewitt, Laura Bright (C), Emma Jenkins, Laura Mills & Becky Taylor.
  subs - Liz Pamplin, Emily Reed, Nuala Wayne, Isabella Simmons, Becca Fay, Gemma Clark Sophie Thompson.

  Queens Park Rangers Ladies starting XI - Joanne Ayre, Juliet Denny, Micaela Lopez, Vanessa Nicholson, Louise Hayes, Carrie-Anne Layton, Kasha Petit, Elly Maggs, Sophie Fogarty (C), Lauren May & Jo Wilson.
  subs - Natalie Richardson, Rachel Mullard, Dominika Netschova & Zemeka Clarke.

   Two of the new signings, Lucy Du Plooy and Becky Taylor were in the starting XI for Cambridge in their new colours Amber and Black vertical striped shirts, black shorts and amber socks, with QPR lined up opposite wearing their blue and white hooped shirts, white shorts and socks. Cambridge get the match under way.

  QPR are a good football side who like to move the ball quickly with several players in their squad who are confident to take players on, a good test for Cambridge who have Becky Taylor in the centre of attack with Laura Mills to her left, Emma Jenkins to the right, support behind from Faith Hewitt. Winning the ball on halfway Taylor lays the ball forwards out to the left racing to the touchline she fires a cross into the box is put behind for a corner by QPR central defender Vanessa Nicholson.

   Claiming the ball from the resulting corner QPR goalkeeper Joanne Ayres is down after a collision having taken a knock to the face tonight's referee Abi Marriot awarding a free kick, after receiving treatment is able to continue. Cambridge are pressing the ball well in the opening minutes, Taylor fouled wide on the left inside the QPR half plays the ball down the line for Mills to chase, putting the cross into the box the target captain Laura Bright making a run to the far post, again it is Nicholson back to put her foot out to concede the corner.

  In from the right the ball put into the area is cleared out to the edge of the area is picked up by Taylor who takes on the shot takes a deflection on the way through sending it wide of goal, a goal kick is given. QPR get their attacking players on the ball up top no 9 Jo Wilson picks up the ball on the right is strong on the ball as she drives into the Cambridge box, rides a challenge before winning the corner. From the right the delivery is good into the middle Cambridge goalkeeper Verity Crook takes the ball cleanly into her gloves.

   QPR are starting to look a threat on the ball in attack Wilson and fellow striker Lauren May are being allowed to travel with the ball in the final forwards. Wilson has a strike from 35 yards out left of goal sweeping in towards goal it strikes the outside of the post goes behind. Caught in possession at the back by Taylor who does well winning the ball from QPR opts to shoot early 20 yards out sends the effort wide.

   Wilson and May combine for QPR as the pair drive at the Cambridge defence force the corner. Sent in from the right the ball is cleared but falls to QPR's Carrie-Anne Layton some 35 yards from goal, nevertheless takes on the shot on target but straight into the gloves of Crook well placed in her goal.

   QPR win a free kick, looked a harsh call against Bright, but a good shooting chance 22 yards from goal to the right of the D. It's captain Sophie Fogarty over the ball for QPR hits a powerful shot past the Cambridge wall, Crook is left stranded as the ball cannons off the right post bouncing across the six yard box, retrieved on the left the ball is fired back in sent wide of the post.

Sophie Fogarty for QPR Ladies with the strike that cannons off the post.

   GOAL! QPR have been the dominant side for the past few minutes and capitalise to open the scoring halfway through the half, play has been dragged over to the left of the pitch, Kasha Petit is the widest player on the right gets in beyond the Cambridge defence as the pass is sent in from the opposite side picking her out taking the ball on the stride as she entered the area smashes the shot early past Crook to take the lead 0-1.

   GOAL! Isn't long before QPR double their advantage having soaked up a spell of Cambridge possession in front of their area they set up a rapid counter the ball played long into Wilson available on the left is allowed to come inside unchallenged 30 yards from goal hits a powerful strike in towards goal beating Crook to make it 0-2.

    Fogarty is joining the attack on the left linking up well with Wilson exposing the full back sends the ball into the area Du Plooy is around on the cover to clear the ball. First change of the night comes from the visitors as Rachel Mullard comes on for Louise Hayes at the back. Again Cambridge allow Wilson too much time and space on the ball 30 yards out she takes on the shot the ball this time going over the bar.

   Taylor gets a free kick after she is fouled in the middle, Nicola Geoghan to deliver the ball into the area QPR get it down and away, Cambridge midfielder Laura Baker is sharp to reach the ball first hits a high ball back in towards goal looping high Ayres has to keep an eye on it but it's safe as it drops over her bar. 

                  Half-time Cambridge United WFC 0-2 QPR Ladies

   Has been a competitive first 45 minutes despite it being a friendly both sides enjoying playing on the large Abbey Stadium pitch. QPR with the 2 goal lead have been allowed a little too much time on the ball in the final 3rd and have exploited this to have the lead.

   A friendly you'd expect to see plenty of changes and at half time Cambridge have 5 replacements on the pitch, Becca Fay at left back, along with a new attack, Nuala Wayne left, Gemma Clark right with Isolbella Simmons behind Sophie Thompson in the centre. The floodlights taking full effect QPR get the 2nd 45 under way.

   The visitors start the brightest, win a free kick on the right, Ellie Maggs plays Fogarty in down the left she whips the ball into the box, is headed away by Nicola Geoghan at the back for Cambridge before May can latch onto it. 

   Cambridge's turn to deliver a fee kick into the area on the left 40 yards out the ball is swept into the box, Bright is the player looking to attack it inside the six yard box contact isn't strong but she manages to knock it down has Simmons with her, falling she attempts the overhead kick sends the ball over the bar. A counter attack by QPR Forgarty races down the right wing with the ball has Wilson keeping pace with her squares the ball to her across the D, Wilson shoots a good save from Crook to turn the ball behind for a corner.

  16 year old Simmons looks lively for Cambridge wanting the ball looking to turn and attack with good support from Thompson. Cambridge are coping with the runs of Wilson and May better 2nd half, with Kayleigh Anne Burt in particular looking to track back with Wilson whenever she has the ball. QPR have Forgarty still working the wide spaces a good dribbler with the ball pace to burn fires a ball into the area is cleared all the way back to Juliet Denny for QPR she strikes a powerful shot from distance, Crook throws up her gloves to take the sting out of the shot and bring the ball under control.

   QPR with 2 changes with their new signing Natalie Richardson coming on for Micaela Lopez, Dominika Netschova comes on for Lauren May. Cambridge are looking sharper 2nd half Bright attempts to put a defence splitting pass through into the area with Simmons the runner, Ayres is alert and out to sweep the ball up into her gloves before she can reach it.

   Up the other end Wilson attempts the same with Forgarty making the run for her is beyond the Cambridge defence, however Geoghan recovers quickly to make a vital sliding tackle to win the ball before Forgarty can shoot. Zemeka Clarke comes on for QPR in place of Kasha Petit. 

   Maggs puts the ball into the side netting after substitute Clarke slides the pass through to Wilson inside the area again it's Geoghan with the tackle inside the 6 yard box pushing the ball away from Wilson, Maggs is to the right gets to the ball a tight angle puts her shot wide.
Thompson coming back to receive the ball for Cambridge lays the pass out wide right to Bright who looks to play the diagonal ball towards the far post, with Wayne making the run, can't quite get their to turn the ball home.

   Du Plooy is back on for Cambridge at right back for Robyn Phillips. Cambridge corner the ball is put into the middle over Burt as she leaps for it, drops to Simmons beyond her snapshot is pulled wide of goal. Emily Reed comes onto the pitch for Cambridge replacing Laura Baker. Wilson gets the better of Burt for once getting a yard on her as she bears down on goal shoots but puts it straight at Crook who saves.

   Gemma Clark has possession of the ball on the right, Simmons comes to offer support receiving the ball turns and whips a great cross into the area, a great save from Ayres who gloves the ball away from the head of Thompson as she comes racing in. 

  Petit is back on the pitch for QPR replacing Wilson in attack gets hold of the ball on the right her touch putting her beyond the Cambridge defence as she looks to enter the box Crook has come out to meet her, closing her down stops the shot with her legs the ball is loose, Petit is after it Becca Fay has recovered the ground to get hold of the ball before Petit can turn it into an empty net. 

   Late into the game Cambridge have a corner from the right is put into the six yard box isn't cleared a bit of pinball before it drops to the boot of Emily Reed who smashes her effort over from 10 yards. The final whistle blows the decent sized Abbey Stadium crowd watching a competitive match of football if not seeing the result they wanted with QPR holding onto their 1st half lead winning 2-0.

   Both sides created chances to score 2nd half, Cambridge matching the side from the league above them for large periods of the game. A pre season friendly however the result is not nearly as important and getting the game time under your belt a good workout.

    As it's a special occasion for Cambridge United WFC I thought I'd do something a little different and get a couple of interviews after the match, joined the media out on the pitch to firstly hear what manager Steve Edwards (pictured left) had to say then ask a couple of questions.

   SE, "We wanted to play a side like QPR test ourselves against higher placed opposition, they've done us absolutely proud by how they've done out there, I guess the only thing we didn't do was put a finishing touch on one of the many chances we had in the whole game, but in my mind we've dominated a good 70 minutes of that game, that's a team that's put 5 goals past Enfield last week a team who are in our league as well. The effort level, the determination, the badge that they're now wearing makes me immensely proud and bodes well for the new season.

  "We were aware of QPR's threats before the game, we knew they'd be quite direct in terms of trying to get behind us, so we spoke about having a plan to stop that. We spoke at half time about where on a couple of times we had dropped off too deep, far away from the strikers and when you do that they're going to punish you, like they showed out there."

   "Two more pre season friendlies after tonight before the league kicks off against Norwich City on the 16th I'm confident if we maintain this level then we'll start with 3 points."

  "We really appreciate those that have come here to see us tonight and hope that the performance will warrant them coming to see us again."

  Q. How excited have the players been to wear the new colours?

  SE, "Oh, they've been so excited. Some of them were saying they couldn't sleep last night, it felt like Christmas when they went to bed last night, putting the colours on for the 1st time and playing on a stage like this stuff that dreams are made of really. Hopefully it's not the last opportunity to do that, hopefully it's going to open doors for us, and we're massively excited about the relationship we've got with this club now, I do really think it's going to help us along the way."

 Q. Do you think there could be more games here at the Abbey Stadium this season, one or two?

   SE, "Watch this space I'd say, there's nothing set in stone at the moment, but you know if we could do on a decent FA Cup run or something get a favourable draw than you never know, we might find ourselves back here, but it won't be the last time that we're here, and long may that continue.

  Q. In terms of pre season, with the players you've brought in happy with who you've got so far? Are you looking to bring more in?

  SE, "I wouldn't mind one or two more, we are trying to be active in terms of that, but the players that have come in have been very very good couple on show tonight Lucy Du Plooy at the back, Becky Taylor up front, and then young Bella Simmons who came on 2nd half, I think they're all going to be stars this year, we had a couple missing that we can bring in as well. Pre season preparations have been going really well, as I say that's just another piece of the pre season really and we'll be ready when it comes to playing Norwich City on the 16th of August.

  After speaking to Steve I also had the opportunity to speak to one of the players, defender Kayleigh Anne Burt who has been handed the role of vice captain for the new season.

  Q. How did you enjoy the experience of playing at the Abbey Stadium tonight?

  KAB, "I thought it was amazing, everyone who is involved with Cambridge United aspires to play there. The pitch is lovely, it's the best surface I've ever played on, it was a great occasion and brilliant performance, great for the future of the club I can't wait."

  Q. Named the new vice-captain how much of an honour is this?

 KAB, "Great honour, very very pleased, very honoured. I think LB (Laura Bright) rightly she's the captain, she's brilliant, she's a natural leader and I'm very honoured to be along side her, support her."

  Q. Is your new role going to change the way you are on the pitch?

  KAB, "I'm quite vocal anyway, or like to think I am. Occasionally I will get to lead the team out as LB will be unavailable and I'm really looking forwards to that."

 Q. Pre season preparations how are they coming along?

  KAB, "Very well actually, we've done a lot of mostly fitness based stuff and then also with the result tonight and the effort levels shown from everyone it was a really good result, I think that we did out play them (QPR) for a lot of the game, and to compete at that level against a team that are a league above us, in our 2nd pre season fixture the way we did, I thought was very impressive and really looking forwards to seeing what we can produce for the rest of the season."

  Q. What do you think the club can achieve this season?

  KAB, "I think we can push for the top of the league, I mean with the result just now a 2-0 loss but outplayed them for a good part of the match when they are a league above us and in their previous pre season fixture beat a team in our league last week, put 5 goals past them, so I think we stand a good chance of making the top 2 and who knows maybe a chance at promotion, we'll see."

   Thanks to both Kayleigh and Steve for taking the time out to answer a few questions. A great occasion for the club and it's players tonight playing at the Abbey Stadium the crowd got behind them and saw a competitive game of football. Not long now till the new season starts with Cambridge United WFC beginning their league campaign away to Norwich City Ladies on Sun 16th August.



Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Match Report - Millwall Lionesses v Reading FC Women

  A midweek trip down to London to Beckenham Town FC to watch Millwall Lionesses in action in their Continental Tyres Cup, Group One match against Reading FC Women.

  Group One of this season's Continental Tyres Cup is the same as last year, the 'London' group, which contains both Arsenal and Chelsea Ladies both involved in the title fight at the top of FAWSL 1 both are strong favourites to progress from the group to the knock out stages of the competition. This season though the competition has gained a quarter final stage with the top 2 teams from each of the three groups progressing as well as the best two runners up.

   If they can't muscle there way into the top two spots above Arsenal or Chelsea then there's still a lot to play for, for the four FAWSL 2 sides competing in Group One which also includes Watford Ladies and London Bees.

    The competition started last week with its opening round of group matches, in Group One Millwall Lionesses got their campaign off to a winning start coming out the better in an 8 goal thriller at home to London Bees winning the match 5-3 a result that puts them 2nd in the group albeit early days. Have recently signed Fliss Gibbons from Brighton and she opened her Millwall account against London Bees scoring a hat-trick.

   Reading FC Women started their 2015 Continental Tyres Cup group campaign with a home match against Chelsea Ladies. Was a competitive match where Reading FC Women were 2-1 up in the 2nd half before Chelsea Ladies came back to score 2 goals the 3rd in the final minute to wrap up a 3-2 win. In the other group match Arsenal Ladies beat Watford Ladies 3-0 putting them top of Group One.

   A win for Millwall Lionesses over Reading FC Women would open the gap on their rivals to 6 points and put them is a good position with three group games left to play, two defeats from their opening two group matches is certainly something Reading FC Women would want to avoid. Have lost their star player after selling Fran Kirby for a record British transfer fee to Chelsea Ladies. Have done a very good piece of business though in bringing in Nikki Watts almost immediately from Bristol Academy to replace her as well as adding Welsh international defender Nia Jones to their squad. 

  Taking up a spot on the side of the pitch just along from the dugouts I had the Reading FC Women fans to my left. A vocal bunch full of song and banter gave their team plenty of encouragement throughout the match.

   Millwall Lionesses starting XI - Francesca Gibbs, Jordan Butler, Grace Fisk Naomi Cole (C), Leanne Cowan, Ashlee Hincks, Meghan McKeag, Lilli Maple, Danielle Carlton, Megan Goss & Fliss Gibbons.
   subs - Ciara Sherwood, Rinsola Babajide, Dionne Lennon, Francesca Ali, Lottie Iverson, Jasmine Auguste & Lauren Davis

   Reading FC Women starting XI - Grace Moloney, Nia Jones, Becky Jane, Kirsty McGee (C), Kylie Davies, Bonnie Horwood, Lois Roche, Charlie Estcourt, Emma Follis, Nicola Watts & Helen Ward.
   subs - Harriet Scott, Georgie Giddings, Lauren Bruton, Laura-May Walkley, Melissa Fletcher, Rachel Rowe & Chloe Sansom.

Kick off was delayed, put back 15 minutes due to the Reading team bus arriving late following heavy traffic. The Beckenham Town FC pitch looked in great condition and is out of bounds to everyone until kick off the players warming up on the pitch beside the ground. It was Millwall to kick off the match wearing their kit of Navy shirts, white shorts and socks with Reading lined up in their white and blue hooped shirts, blue shorts and socks opposite.

   Millwall start on the front foot possession inside the reading half Lois Roche committing a foul inside their half giving Millwall's Ashlee Hincks an early opportunity to play the ball into the area aiming for the crowded far post area players go up looking to get onto the end of the ball, it's a Reading head that gets the ball away. Good work down the left of the pitch sees the pass slid down the channel for Millwall's Meghan McKeag to attack, screws the ball back to the edge of the area with Hincks arriving sends a diagonal ball in towards the far post again Reading clear.

   GOAL! Millwall are awarded a penalty inside the opening 5 minutes. With possession the ball is worked out to Megan Goss out on the right taking the ball to the byline she takes on a gets past Nia Jones playing at left back to enter the area is tripped by Jones before she can deliver the cross the referee points to the spot. Millwall captain, Naomi Cole to step up to take the spot kick, is clinical, sends Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney the wrong way as she blasts the ball into the back of the net 1-0.

Millwall Lionesses, Naomi Cole

   Winning the ball back at in defence Cole plays the ball long with McKeag making the run for her down the left, she is almost through the Reading defence to attack the goal, however captain Kirsty McGee is quickly across to close her down sliding in to make the tackle and clear the threat. In the middle for Millwall, Hincks is getting plenty of time on the ball and has a good range of passes on her, with McKeag left and Goss on the right looking to make runs.

   Reading are starting to make some progress into Millwall's final third with Emma Follis on the right side driving up to the byline manages to square the ball in towards goal can only pick out Millwall goalkeeper Frankie Gibbs who has come across to cover her near post. A long pass from midfield by Charlie Estcourt has both Follis and Helen Ward interested as they break beyond the Millwall defence, right back Jordan Butler is alert to the danger and across on the cover to sweep the ball away for a throw. 

   In attack for Millwall, Fliss Gibbon's playing centrally comes looking for the ball is given it in space 30 yards out, Reading don't close her down as she lines up the shot. Moloney isn't troubled though with the ball coming straight at her she easily gathers.

Millwall Lionesses, Fliss Gibbons

   Reading almost level as Nikki Watts hits the post with a curling strike aiming for the top corner from outside the area to the right of goal as she is played in by Follis who has made a great run to get the ball on the right.

  GOAL! Reading do equalise this time. Good work from right back Becky Jane to win the ball back for her team on the right puts the ball forwards to Follis, taking on the player in front of her she gets into the area with the ball stabs it across the goal face, the initial effort on goal is blocked before the ball pops back to Follis who plays it to the far post area where Ward is waiting to sweep the back back across and into the back of the net 1-1.

   20 minutes gone, Millwall look to respond get back in the lead, Danielle Carlton wins the ball out on the left has good support from Gibbons as the two work the ball down the wing before Carlton plays the return ball back into Gibbons inside the box, the striker curls the cross in towards goal with Goss arriving at the far post under challenge can't direct her header towards goal instead it drops to Hincks who is running into area she lashes her shot wide, must have taken a deflection though as a corner is indicated.

   Reading have pushed everyone up the pitch are a little vulnerable if Millwall get the ball back and quickly counter, do so as McKeag is send through wide on the left, Jane has plenty of pace as she quickly closes the gap and tackles well to win the ball back.

Reading FC Women's, Becky Jane

   Strong running from Follis on the right wing again chases down the ball fizzes a cross into the area is turned back out to the edge of the box, Watts is ready to pounce on it shoots Butler throws herself in front of the ball making the block. Is end to end as Hincks with support from Gibbons takes the ball up the pitch on the left sweeping the cross in towards goal Moloney keeps her eye on the ball not distracted by the attacker coming in catches the ball but loses it as bowled over the referee stops play awarding the free kick in her favour.

   Watts with another shot smashing off the woodwork having come to offer support on the left has the ball 35 yards out looks to take on the shot Gibbs is beaten in goal saved by the cross bar as the ball comes back off it before being cleared. 

   GOAL! Reading take the lead having won a corner to be played in from the right. The delivery is good the ball swung in towards the far post area think it is McGee up from the back who gets her head to the ball knocking in back into the centre before it is puts back in towards the far post again this time Ward is their and free to nod the ball down and into the net 1-2.

   Reading have become the dominant side as the half draws to a close, Watts on the ball on the right turns back inside seeing the run from Roche tees her up as she hits the ball on the stride sending it into the area across the goal, Gibbs dives the shot though is wide at her far post.

                           Half time Millwall Lionesses 1-2 Reading FC Women.

   Despite a bright start and taking the early lead Millwall Lionesses find themselves 2-1 down following a brace from Helen Ward, have been competitive 1st half with Hincks getting hold of the ball, Reading though grew into the match as the half wore on just one goal in it though all to play for 2nd half with Reading kicking off.

   The floodlights taking full effect the temperature has dropped making it feel chilly. Millwall get the ball back enjoyed a spell of sustained possession around the reading area neither Gibbon's nor Goss with their backs to goal are allowed to turn and get a shot away. Nia Jones getting hold of the ball brings it out from the back has Bonnie Horwood making a good run looking to get free on the left in front of her plays the midfielder in she takes the ball to the touchline before sending the cross into the box can only pick out Gibbs who claims the ball.

Millwall Lionesses, Lilli Maple on the ball

   Is Leanne Cowan's turn to make a run from full back travelling up the right side of the pitch offering good support to Gibbons the two exchange passes before Cowan delivers the ball into the box is met by the head of Kylie Davies the Welsh international heading the ball clear.

    A deflected Reading shot sees the visitors win a corner kick swept in from the right is threatening to swing in under the bar Gibbs does well to initially parry the ball away however it drops down to Watts out to the left of the six yard box she smashes the ball back in towards goal, this time Gibbs does fantastically well making a great save pushing the ball well away from danger.

   Reading are starting to apply the pressure are winning the ball back in midfield with Horwood and Estcourt working hard, the pass is played out to Follis on the right as they launch a rapid attack Follis sends the ball into the area close on the near post Gibbs is across to save almost pushes the ball onto Watts who is attempting to get onto the end of the cross.

   Millwall make a change with McKeag the player coming off. Millwall have had very little of the ball 2nd half aren't able to get Hincks on the ball as much as they did 1st half with Goss and Gibbons having to pick up the ball deeper to mount an offensive move. 

   Reading make a double change, Horwood has taken a knock a few minutes earlier and can't continue as she is helped off the pitch Rachel Rowe comes in on her place, Lauren Bruton comes on too for Emma Follis. A great forwards pass from Reading picks out Ward travels with the ball from a central position out to the right side of goal before getting her shot away, aiming for the near post Gibbs is well placed to make the save.

   Watts then fires a shot over the bar as reading push players forwards, peeling off into space left of the area Watts takes on the early shot sending the ball over the bar. Millwall make a 2nd change with Lilli Maple coming off, Ciara Sherwood the player coming on.

  Roche powers a shot wide from a long way out on the right off a free kick played into her from the left inside the Millwall half as Bruton is fouled. Ward down the right channel for the visitors fires the ball in towards goal Gibbs making the save at her near post pushes the ball out into the area, Estcourt has burst forwards from the midfield and is after the ball her shot is smashed against as Millwall defender as they block the shot.

   Few opportunities for Millwall 2nd half to play the ball into the box winning a free kick wide on the right Hincks has the chance to put the ball in sending it over to the far post the ball is met by Cole who heads it back into the danger area can't pick out a team mate with Reading winning it back and countering win a throw deep on the right.

   Final changes for both sides as 1st Millwall bring on Rinsola Babajide for Megan Goss, then reading bring on Laura-May Walkley for Estcourt. Walkley is involved straight away linking up with Bruton as the two press forwards Walkley playing Bruton in wide left she fires a cross in towards goal is intercepted by Cole put out for a corner. 

  GOAL! Bruton buts the game beyond doubt for Reading as she adds the 3rd goal getting the ball from the corner on the left she drives in towards the top left hand corner of the box, rides a strong challenge keeps on her feet before hitting a rocket of a shot through the crowd and into the back of the net 1-3.

    Late into the match Millwall's Ciara Sherwood plays the ball long down the left with Gibbons still willing to give chase, Moloney is having no of it though comes racing out of her area to smash the ball away. Full time and Reading FC Women get their Continental Tyres Cup campaign up and running with 3-1 win to go level on points with Millwall.

   Arsenal Ladies top Group One with 2 wins out of 2 but not before going a goal down at London Bees tonight a young side eventually coming back to win 3-1.

   A competitive 1st half from both sides with Millwall taking the early lead, struggled to cope though as Reading grew stronger as the game progressed were the dominant side 2nd half and never looked in danger of letting their 1st half lead slip. 




Sunday, 26 July 2015

Match Report - Yeovil Town Ladies v Watford Ladies

   On to my 2nd match of the weekend down in the west country having stayed in Bristol over night time to head down to Sherbourne Town FC  in Dorset, home of Yeovil Town Ladies as they played host to Watford Ladies this Sunday afternoon. 

   Yeovil Town Ladies didn't get off to a great start in the league lost to both Reading FC  Women and Doncaster Rovers Belles the 2 sides touted as promotion favourites at the start of the season. Since those defeats though Yeovil have gone on to win 6 of their last 8 league matches and climb up the league table into 3rd place. Have 19 points after 10 matches played 7 points behind 2nd placed Reading FC Women with Doncaster Rovers Belles top, the gap 9 points.

   Yeovil Town Ladies have played both the teams above them twice though and are well placed to close the gap and push on into the 2nd part of the season try and keep picking up the points starting today against Watford Ladies. Manager Jamie Sherwood has assembled a squad with a good blend of youth and experience. Over the mid season break the club has brought in a couple of new signings to bolster the squad, Welsh U19 international Sammy Quayle and most notably, Sarah Wiltshire has returned to the club having left to join Manchester City Women after a short spell at Yeovil prior to the move Wiltshire made a real impact scoring plenty of goals the club will be hoping she continues to score as they look to push on.

  A different story all together for their opponents today, Watford Ladies travel to Sherbourne Town FC as the side currently propping up FAWSL 2. Has been a difficult start to the new season losing 10 of their opening 12 league fixtures have just a single win and draw 4 points in total are in danger of getting cut adrift from the rest of the table. Have seen a large turn around of players have lost several experienced players too. Manager John Saloman has players out injured too, a good development set up at Watford Ladies, are not afraid to give the youngsters a start has brought in a few new faces over the mid season break including experienced goalkeeper Trippoli Witney who played for QPR Ladies last season.

   Woke up this morning and it was tipping down, headed south regardless, ironically I had remembered to pack an umbrella but had totally forgotten to pack any sun cream, not that I've needed any yet, this being the Great British summer and all. Yeovil Town Ladies assured me it'd be dry by time the match got under-way. I usually go for the cheeseburger option at a WSL ground (if they have such a thing) Yeovil Town Ladies were offering something a little different today, had The Pizza Box at the ground, cooking thin crust pizza's as well a crepes to order. Went for the magarita pizza and it was very tasty too.

  It was wet, the driest place to be was in the dugouts so it was a good day to be named amongst the subs.

   Yeovil Town Ladies starting XI - Charlotte Haynes, Corinne Yorston, Nicola Cousins, Natalie Haigh (C), Helen Bleazard, Steph Williams, Sammy Quayle, Ellie Curson, Sarah Wiltshire, Natasha Knapman & Annie Heatherson
   subs - Alys Hinchcliffe, Stacey Pearson, Shauna Cossens, Emily Donovan, Ebony Dover, Jodi Cornwall & Nicky Lipscombe 

   Watford Ladies starting XI - Trippoli Witney, Leighanne Robe, Phoebe Read, Tricia Gould, Amber Tullett, Anneka Nuttall, Jordan Littleboy, Mollie Burgess, Nicole Pepper, Kim Farrow & Stacie Donnelly (C)
   subs - Deger Zekai, Megan Wynne, Ellie Mason, Sasha Adamson, Adekite Fatiuga-Dada & Ashleigh Deacon.

   It's Yeovil in their home kit of green and white hooped shirts and socks with white shorts to kick off the game with Watford lined up opposite in their usual kit, yellow shirt and socks with black shorts. From the kick off Watford harry Yeovil on the ball forcing them to play it back to goal keeper Charlotte Haynes, she is rushed into dealing with the back pass but gets it clear before Watford captain Stacie Donnelly can close her down.

   Helen Bleazard getting hold of the ball on the right for Yeovil pushes on from the back sends in a high looping cross towards the back post Watford's defence deals with the threat. Yeovil are soon into their stride getting hold of the ball and driving at the Watford back line, Annie Heatherson wins the ball back inside the Watford half pushes forwards has Sarah Wiltshire running with her to her left plays the ball into her run, Wiltshire bombs forwards into the area hits a shot/cross along the face of the goal the ball running out of play.

Watford's Nicole Pepper with Yeovil's Sarah Wiltshire

GOAL! Penalty! Wiltshire has got herself one on one with Watford defender Leighanne Robe on a couple of occasions early on the 1st time Robe puts in a good challenge to put the ball out for a throw not long after the pair are shoulder to shoulder as they enter the box from the left Wiltshire goes down, the referee is quick to point to the spot. It's Corinne Yorston to take is a cool strike that sends Watford goalkeeper Trippoli Witney the wrong way 1-0.

   Less than 10 minutes played Yeovil have opened the scoring, and with it, Corinne Yorston's goal has also brought an end to the rain! Yeovil are picking the ball up easily in the middle and pushing forwards, Heatherson is all over the place wanting to get hold of the ball, has Wiltshire out to the left again plays the ball to her Wiltshire pushes on down the wing he cross is good along the six yard line but misses everyone retrieved by Sammy Quayle on the right the ball is send back into the box, Heatherson having made the run can't control the ball with her head falls to the edge of the area, Yorston is there to take the shot on is blocked by a Watford body.

   Watford have little opportunity to get the ball into the Yeovil area, win a free kick on the halfway line the ball delivered to the edge of the area is headed down into the box falls to Mollie Burgess she shoots, has too many bodies in front of her the effort is blocked. Yeovil are soon attacking up the other end Bleazard bringing the ball forwards confidently down the right, rides 2 challenges before delivering a diagonal ball from the corner of the area towards the far post, Robe is there to clear the threat.

   Wiltshire is fouled wide on the left, off the free kick delivered into the box Bleazard wins her team a corner, put in from the right into the congested six yard box, Witney does well to throw her fists up and punch the ball away and out for a throw.

 GOAL! On 19 minutes Yeovil double their advantage. On half way Heatherson goes down theatrically as Nuttall shoves her in the back the referee awards the free kick. Heatherson has made her way into the box as the free kick is played in receives the ball left of goal, fires in a shot, Witney is down sharply makes the save but pushes it out to the right straight into Bleazard who sends the ball into the back of the net 2-0.

  GOAL! 4 minutes later and Yeovil add a 3rd goal, good work from Ellie Curson in the middle of the park, winning the ball before delivering a great pass out to Bleazard up on the right taking the ball into the final 3rd she turns before sending in the ball towards goal, is over Witney with Wiltshire coming in, may have got the final touch, the ball was heading in either way Yeovil make it 3-0.

   Strong running with the ball at her feet from Nuttall she does well travelling up the right touchline with the ball then squares the cross into the box picking out Kim Farrow right of goal she shoots early puts the ball wide of goal.

Watford's Trippoli Witney
  Natasha Knapman has come into the middle of the park to win the ball sends it out to Wiltshire, up against Robe as she enters the area the defender does well in the tackle, Yorston has bombed forwards down the left gets hold of the ball fizzes it back into Wiltshire, the Welsh international hits the shot gets plenty of power behind it is rising as it arrows straight at Witney, good gloves the goalkeeper makes a great save taking the power out of the shot getting it under control well.

   Curson plays the ball out to Sammy Quayle on the right, her cross into the box is met by Knapman she shot takes a kick off a defender to put it wide of goal, the referee though indicates a goal kick. Yeovil come again, Quayle down the right again this time looking to come inside does win a corner. Wiltshire manages to get he head to the set piece, Watford manage to keep it out of their goal and clear.

GOAL! Over half an hour played Watford have been on the back foot for much of the game, Yeovil looking like they are going to score every time they go forwards, add a 4th goal before half time. The build up play on the right before the ball is delivered into the area, Watford get the ball away falls to Curson around 25 yards out. She takes on the shot sending in a great ball that flies over Witney and in 4-0.

   Witney's gloves are stung for the 2nd time in the match this time off a Yorston strike as a cross-field ball from the right comes all the way through to her, taking it on the run into the area hits the shot, arrows straight at Witney who gets her gloves behind it parries it away for the save. 

   Yorston can get plenty of power behind the ball, Watford's Robe feels the effects as she gets in the way but manages to stop her cross from the left finding a team mate is off the pick winded play stopped. From the corner Witney rises highest to knock the ball away for a corner on the right. The ball put into the area is headed over the bar by Bleazard. 

                             Half time Yeovil Town Ladies 4-0 Watford Ladies

  A dominant 1st half display from Yeovil have looked a constant threat going forwards at will looking like scoring with every attack. Watford have been on the back foot all half finding it very difficult to retain the ball and build an attack.

   It's the visitors to kick off the 2nd half, have made 2 changes at half time with Kim Farrow and Tricia Gould the players having come off. On the pitch are Ellie Mason and Sasha Adamson. Start the 2nd half much brighter than the 1st getting bodies forwards a chance for Jordan Littleboy outside the area on the left smashes the ball goal wards in the Yeovil goal Charlotte Haynes is called into action to make the save.

   Soon after sub Adamson gets hold of the ball slides the pass through to put Nuttall through on the right side of the box, her initial shot is blocked, gets onto the loose ball fires her shot over the bar. Time for Watford's other half time substitute to have a go for goal picking up the ball in the centre pushes on hits a low effort 35 yards out, coming across to guard her post Haynes can see it roll wide.

 Phoebe Read on ball for Watford

  Wiltshire coming in from the left for Yeovil plays the ball out to Quayle wide on the right she tees up the cross looking to send it in towards the far post, Witney is back pedalling to get to it has to with Knapman closing in punches the ball away from danger before Knapman can connect. On the ball in front of goal 20 yards out Wiltshire twists and turns makes the room for a shot lifts the attempt over the cross bar.

   GOAL! Despite Watford's brighter start to the half it's Yeovil who extend their lead as we approach the 60th minute the build up is on the left of the Watford area Curson and Quayle are involved before the ball comes to Yorston hits it on the volley sending the ball into the top corner from 30 yards out, great strike 5-0.

   Yeovil make their 1st change with Bleazard coming off and Ebony Dover coming on to join the defence, picks up a yellow card straight away going in strong on Adamson as she looks to take the ball into the area. Left of goal it's Nicole Pepper over the ball sweeps a low curving ball into the six yard box, Yeovil captain Natalie Haigh is the player who gets her foot to it to clear.

   Heatherson is full of energy worked up and wanting to run at defenders makes a move down the right of the pitch before delivering a cross into the centre is met by Wiltshire who shoots takes a deflection of Watford defender Phoebe Read out for a corner.Put into the far post from the left Knapman rises to try and get her head to it has a defender jumping with her can only direct the ball over the bar. 

   Read pushes out from the back for Watford on the left wins her team a corner, the ball is initially cleared by the Yeovil defence, comes back out to the right of the area to Watford's Donnelly 25 yards out she takes on the strike sends the ball over the bar.

   GOAL! Watford get themselves a goal as Adamson gets herself into a one on one position with Haigh central to the goal as they enter the area Haigh blocks Adamson's 1st attempt then slides in to deny Read as she looks to get up the pitch to support Adamson, the ball is loose Haigh can't recover a 3rd time before Adamson can reach it and send her shot past Haynes into the back of the net 5-1.

   GOAL! Isn't long before Yeovil restore their 5 goal lead on the 67th minute, Heatherson with another powerful run into the middle has the space in front of her closed by the Watford centre backs manages to get it out to Wiltshire to her left who wins a corner. In from the left Witney gets her fists to it to send it away for a corner on the right. From this delivery Heatherson scores inside the six yards box right of the goal jumps and sends a bullet into the back of the net 6-1.

Annie Heatherson always looking to take players on with the ball
   2nd change for Yeovil, Knapman the player to give way with Emily Donovan coming on. Heatherson continues to drive at the Watford defence pulling out to the left squares the cross into Wiltshire, inside the box she pulls her shot wide of the post. Final change for Yeovil, Yorston comes off with Shauna Cossens coming onto the pitch. 

   GOAL! Into the last 5 minutes not long on the pitch substitute Donovan has a go fro a long way out a low strike that drops bouncing before Witney who getting down to try and stop it is very unfortunate as the ball lifts up off her and despite he attempt to gloves the ball off the line the linesman flags to say it was in 7-1.

   A late effort for Mason for Watford as they get the ball up into the D, falling as she hits the shot however can only scuff the effort wide of goal. Injury time Donovan has pulled out into space on the right flashes a cross along the goal face Heatherson still has the energy to get leaping though is just under the ball. The final whistle blows and Yeovil Town Ladies win the game 7-1 closing the gap on the teams above them whilst significantly improving their goal difference.

  Yeovil were dominant from start to finish their movement and forward play a constant threat had 4 goals by half time could easily have been more but for some great saves from Trippoli Witney in the Watford goal.

   A tough game for Watford were pulled all over the place never really got themselves imposed on the ball gave it away too easily. Remain bottom can only pick themselves up and go again.





Match Report - Bristol Academy Women v Sunderland AFC Ladies

   Travelling down to the west of the country for the weekend to take in 2 FAWSL fixtures as the league program resumes after the opening group games of this seasons Continental Tyres Cup in mid week. My first trip to the Stoke Gifford Stadium this season too as Bristol Academy Women play host to high flying Sunderland AFC Ladies.

   Has been a tough season in the league so far for Bristol Academy Women since that memorable night at Ashton Gate where they secured a 2 legged Champions League quarter final victory over Barcelona Women the team has undergone a huge transitional period. Lost several of their 1st team regulars to other clubs before the season begun both in attack and defence moving on to new challenges.

   A poor start to the season no wins and just the 2 points on the board led to the departure of manager Dave Edmondson, more players have left the club too others out with long term injury, a difficult time for everyone at a club that has always enjoyed fantastic support. The club have been quick to bring in a new manager, Scotsman, Willie Kirk and he has recruited heavily over the FAWSL mid season break brought in a lot of new faces has little time to make them gel as a team but with the games, both league and cup coming thick and fast you need a squad that can cope.

  Watched them in mid-week at Sutton Coldfield FC as they played Aston Villa Ladies in their opening Group Three game won the match 4-0 and were the better side from start to finish the win would have done the confidence the power of good, now they needed to carry that into the league.

  Couldn't have asked for a tougher opponent to come play them at Stoke Gifford than Sunderland AFC Ladies. Were many, and I include myself in this favourites to be struggling at the bottom of the table but we're all getting full on humble pie as Sunderland are not just doing OK in the league but riding on the crest of a wave having held their own before the mid season break have returned to action with 2 home victories against Notts County Ladies (2-1) and the *please take note* 4-0 win against FAWSL 1 leaders Chelsea Ladies last Saturday to move into 2nd place in the league.

  Coming all the way down the country from the North East to play Bristol this evening they had the chance to go top of the league with a victory. Following their promotion to the top tier of women's football last season, Carlton Fairweather has taken over the managerial reigns as the club entered FAWSL 1. Hasn't added too many new faces to a squad that has been successful for a number of years, Sunderland have been league winners for 4 years in a row! Not to get carried away Sunderland's first aim will be to secure survival in the league.

    It's a long way from Norfolk but I always enjoy visiting Stoke Gifford Stadium (my new sat nav has a bizarre way of getting there mind you). A running track around the pitch, volunteers on hand to help you out.. and of course a cheeseburger what with the appetite being restored and all. A pleasant if rapidly cooling evening prior to kick off a slight breeze as the sun started to set, the 2 teams entered the pitch.   

   Bristol Academy Women starting XI - Mary Earps, Lauren Dykes, Hayley Ladd, Marije Brummel, Frankie Brown, Georgia Evans, Caroline Weir, Sophie Ingle (C), Nadia Lawrence, Christie Murray & Jade Boho-Sayo.
   subs - Hannah Reid, Lauren Townsend, Angharad James, Evdokia Popadinova, Sharla Passariello, Tatiana Pinto & Hannah Short.

   Sunderland AFC Ladies starting XI - Hilde Gunn Olsen, Abbey Holmes, Victoria Greenwell, Stephanie Bannon (C), Victoria Williams, Rachel Furness, Brooke Chaplin, Kelly McDougall, Keira Ramshaw, Stephanie Roche & Beth Mead.
   subs - Rachel Laws, Hayley Sharp, Gemma Wilson, Abbey Joice, Sarah McFadden & Emma Kelly.

   It's Bristol to kick off the league match back at home wearing their red kit with white trim against Sunderland lined up in a new and very green away kit a variety of shades that didn't blend in with the playing surface. Christie Murray for Bristol has the ball at her feet travels with it up the left of the pitch looks to play the pass inside to fellow Scotswoman Caroline Weir in the middle of the park, she attempts the through ball for striker Jade Boho-Sayo to attack, the ball is cut out by the Sunderland centre backs.

   The ball is fired out to Stephanie Roche on the left for Sunderland close to the touch line she does well to not only keep it in but play it down the line for Beth Mead to latch onto, the ball is taken from her as Bristol's Frankie Brown comes across to put in the tackle to win the ball. Bristol captain Sophie Ingle is fouled 30 yards from the Sunderland goal, in a central position, Weir is the one to take the free kick hits low strike past the wall Sunderland goalkeeper Hilde Gunn Olsen throws herself across to her left, the shot though is off target the ball sails wide.

   Competitive from both sides there isn't much goal mouth action in the opening minutes as the ball is taken up the pitch then won back both defences not allowing the ball to be crossed into the area. Sunderland playing as they did against Chelsea last Saturday with 10 back behind the ball leaving Mead up top to ready to spring into action when the ball is won, up front for Bristol Jade Boho-Sayo is playing a similar role, does come deep to get the ball sees Nadia Lawrence making a good run into space on the right wing puts in a early cross into the box the ball is intercepted by the Sunderland defence.

   Starting on the left for Sunderland Stephanie Roche links up well with Mead pushing the ball into the her backed up against the defence, Mead returns the ball to Roche spinning off her marker looking to run beyond as Roche attempts the past is too heavy allowing Bristol goalkeeper Mary Earps the opportunity to come out gather the ball before Mead can pounce. Earps makes a confident claim rising at her near post to collect a high ball sent in from a Bristol free kick out wide on the right. Sunderland are starting to see more of the ball Roche has switched to the right of the field with Keira Ramshaw coming over to the left.

A competitive match up Frankie Brown shielding the ball from Sunderland's Keira Ramshaw

    GOAL! With half the 1st 45 minutes played Sunderland open the scoring the build up on the right side, Roche does well winning the ball in her own half before riding a challenge takes the ball forwards before playing a great past into Mead splitting the Bristol defence the striker opening up her body up for the shot outside the box sends the ball into the back of the net giving Earps no chance as she throws herself across her goal attempting to save 0-1.

   Bristol look for an immediate response in the middle Ingle skips over a challenge gets the ball out to Lawrence on the right taking it forwards before sending a squared ball back into the area racing in it is just behind Boho-Sayo in the centre, the striker does well to turn and prod the ball towards the edge of the area, Murray is there shoots but Sunderland have closed her down the shot is blocked. 

   Earps is called into action as Sunderland break with the ball Mead is played through beyond the defence one-on-one Earps throws herself down and makes the save before Mead can get the shot away. Lawrence starts another Bristol move in her own half has Weir making the run beside her up the right plays the ball to her as she comes inside looks up has Murray making a run into the box at the far post sends a great diagonal ball in towards her, she and Olsen are hurt as the keeper comes to punch the ball away from danger collides with Murray, both need treatment but are OK to play on.

Bristol's Caroline Weir with Sunderland's Abbey Holmes

  Possession from Bristol on the left brings them a corner off Bayo-Soho, the ball played in is punches away for a throw on the right by Olsen, Bristol keep the pressure on Lawrence taking players on fires a great low cross along the six yard line no one there to turn the ball home. Lawrence has another go from the right ready to burst into the available space whenever Bristol break up a Sunderland move takes the ball right to the by line before cutting it back across the box but can only pick out a green shirt.

  GOAL! Bristol are working hard off the ball to pressure the ball and this pays off as they force a mistake to score an equalising goal. Sunderland have the ball at the back opt to play the back pass to keeper Olsen inside her six yard box, she slips as she attempts to kick the ball away resulting in it rolling along the ground is picked by Ingle outside the box puts the ball into Bayo-Soho in the centre she sends the ball home past Olsen 1-1.

   Entering the last 5 minutes of the 1st half Bristol have their tails up are back in the match and looking to take the lead, Sunderland have plenty back as the ball is played in from the left into the area picking out Murray in a central position her back to goal as she chests the ball down too many around her to turn and shoot, plays it back into Lawrence inside the D, Rachel Furness is back to put in the sliding tackle to block the shot.

                     Half-time Bristol Academy Women 1-1 Sunderland AFC Ladies

   A pretty even 1st half between the 2 sides both putting in a lot of effort to win the ball and take it to the opposition. All to play for as Sunderland kick off the 2nd half. Winning the ball Ingle takes it forwards before delivering a pass that sends Bayo-Soho through behind the Sunderland defenders, out of her box quickly Olsen is alert and kicks the ball away.

Bristol Academy captain Sophie Ingle

   Murray looks to come inside from the left take on the shot from distance the ball is blocked loose Bayo-Soho is looking to latch onto it but is denied again by the quick reactions of Olsen who is to the ball 1st kicking it clear. Murray on the ball again plays it out to Lawrence on the right she gets the ball into Ingle making a run to support her takes on the shot a low effort drilled into the middle is blocked before being cleared.

  GOAL! 5 minutes into the 2nd half and Sunderland double their lead. Is good work wide on the left by Mead to initially win the corner. The corner is sent into the area is a little too high for the leaping Furness to get her head to in the middle of goal, instead drops to Mead positioned behind her, she lashes her shot goal wards heading low for the far post it's Hayley Ladd who is there to block the ball spins loose inside the six yard box think Roche gets a shot away Earps saves the effort the ball isn't secured falls to another Sunderland boot this one belonging to captain Stephanie Bannon she prods it home to make it 1-2.

   Bristol take the ball down the other end win a corner of their own played in from the right is a good delivery met by Ingle rising at the near post her header turns the ball goal wards close but wide of the target. A diagonal ball picks out Murray takes on the shot from distance a curling effort is over the cross bar. Strong running from Bayo-Soho down the left surges forwards plays the ball into the area Lawrence is a cross to attack it has Victoria Greenwell with her the Sunderland defender heading the ball behind for the corner. 

Sunderland's Beth Mead shakes off the attentions of Bristol's Marije Brummel

   Mead a constant threat ready to peel off the last defender is almost sent through on goal again on 60 minutes is stopped by Ladd who comes across to put in a great tackle. The visitors make their 1st change bringing off Roche, Emma Kelly the player coming on to join the attack. 

  Bristol press players forwards Murray with the ball at her feet to the right of goal 20 yards out takes on the shot sees her strike smash against the cross bar. Still in play the ball then drops to Ingle outside the box she goes for goal Olsen tips the attempt up and onto the bar. Two great chances to level the scores.

Christie Murray on the attack for Bristol Academy 

  A second change for Sunderland with Sarah McFadden coming on in midfield to replace Kelly McDougall. Bristol then make a triple change with Angharad James, Evdokia Papadinova and Lauren Townsend on for Frankie Brown, Loren Dykes and Nadia Lawrence. Bristol are pushing players forwards looking to get back into the match, Bayo-Soho is flagged offside a very harsh call as she was about to break through on goal. On the right James then puts a good ball into the middle Bayo-Soho with the shot, Abbey Holmes is there for Sunderland to defend put the ball out for a corner. 

   Playing a higher line now Bristol are vulnerable to the counter attack especially with Mead always ready to pounce. The ball is put over to her with plenty of space to run into on the right takes it deep attempts the cut back across the area however she can't pick out a team mate.

   GOAL! 10 minutes left to play Mead has the ball out on the right takes it into the corner holding it up before winning a throw, players around the ball Sunderland manage to fire a cross in along the six yard line Earps throws herself at it with Kelly the players inside the box can only knock the ball into Kelly who takes the ball past the keeper and knocks it into the empty net to extend Sunderland's advantage 1-3.

   Bristol keep pressing forwards looking to find a goal themselves Murray crossing the ball into the box looking to pick out Bayo-Soho the ball is cleared only to the edge of the area where it is picked up by Georgia Evans left of the area 20 yards out she hits a low drive towards goal, Olsen is down to make the save. 

  GOAL! 3 minutes after adding their 3rd goal Sunderland have a 4th. Kelly springs the offside trap out on the left of attack travels with the ball quickly has Mead making a run with her on the right unselfishly squares the ball to her Earps is caught between them as Mead confidently sends the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-4.

   Lauren Townsend bursts forwards down the left for Bristol sends in a great cross into the box Murray is their to attack attempts the over head kick gets contact on the ball but the ball is blocked. Into injury time late change for Sunderland with Gemma Wilson on for Mead. Bristol continue to attack late on nearly pull a goal back as Bannon almost turns a cross into her own net. The final whistle blows and Sunderland have the 3 points winning 1-4 and in doing so go top of the league.

   More importantly though the 3 points mean they are the 1st side in the league to have secured safety which as I said was their main objective at the start of the season. Top of the league can they stay there have shown they can compete with anyone in the league so I guess the question is can the others compete with Sunderland? Still all to play for.

   A 4-1 defeat is harsh on Bristol who worked really hard and matched Sunderland for much of the game are still without a win in the league and stay bottom still plenty of points to play for.