FAWSL 1 - Birmingham City Ladies 2-1 Doncaster Rovers Belles
Wednesday 27th April
A midweek trip to the Autotech Stadium home of Birmingham City Ladies to watch their FAWSL 1 league game against newly promoted Doncaster Rovers Belles on Wednesday.
A clash between the 2 sides at the bottom of the table in the early stages of the FAWSL season. A win for either would left them up into mid-table. Birmingham City Ladies have lost both of their FAWSL games so far this season away to Liverpool Ladies going down 1-0 in the opening round of fixtures then losing 2-0 at home against Manchester City Women just this past Sunday. Another home match coming just 3 days later after.
Birmingham City Ladies were the quietest side in terms of transfer activity over the close season, lost captain Karen Carney and goalkeeper Becky Spencer to champions Chelsea Ladies, but despite rumours linking some of their other stars and fans favourites to other clubs have retained the services them all for the 2016 season. Many tip them as a side to be struggling this season despite last season being the 1st time they haven't finished in the top half of the FAWSL table. Have plenty of young players with potential on their books and a manager in David Parker who is keen to give youth it's head. It's the lack of transfer activity that has many thinking they will struggle. Will need goalscorers were the lowest in the league last season and will need to find more this time around.
Behind the scenes the club is strengthening in an ever evolving FAWSL, more money has come into the game which has seen some clubs move ahead of others, a new CEO Tim Andrews has come in and the club is being readied to go forwards to continue to compete in the top tier of women's football. Have signed German defender Corina Shroeder from Liverpool Ladies and recently announced another German former youth international defender Marissa Ewers will be joining the club in June.
After a 2 season absence, Doncaster Rovers Belles are back competing in the top tier of the women's game. A tough opening fixture at home to Champions Chelsea Ladies in the opening round of FAWSL fixtures, had faced them only 4 days before in the 5th round of the FA Women's Cup again at the Keepmoat losing 4-1. Was the same scoreline in the league fixture, a 4-1 loss and it would be a month before they would play another league game such is the FAWSL fixture scheduling. Still a chance to work on a few thing's and get a few injured players back to fitness.
Another club who is working hard behind the scenes to see it continues to develop and get stronger a remain competitive going forwards in the FAWSL, full time professional contracts and a new training base all coming as a result of achieving promotion at the end of last season. Brought several new players in and experienced ones to. Suffered a huge set back as Courtney Sweetman-Kirk the FAWSL's top scorer last season suffered a fractured leg in friendly match and will be out for some time. A blow for not only the club and it's supporters but for the player herself who was keen to test herself in the top flight this season.
1st look at Birmingham City Ladies this season and a change of note at the back for this game with last season's centre back paring Aoife Mannion and Kerys Harrop playing in the full back positions with new captain Emily Westwood along side Remi Allen in the middle of the defence. Doncaster Rovers Belles have new signings Carla Humphrey and Icelandic International Katrin Omarsdottir fit and in the starting line-up.
Birmingham start brightly getting the ball forwards for Charlie Wellings and Freda Ayisi to chase, goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs then captain Leandra Little deal with both threats inside the Doncaster box.
GOAL! An early lead for Doncaster the goal coming from a free kick awarded with on the left just inside the Birmingham half, Alex Gummer to play the ball into those gather on the edge of the box. Little goes up for it but landing behind her Birmingham try to clear players all round it pings back and forth between the two sides before popping up nicely for Natasha Dowie to hit on the volley and sent the ball arrowing into the back of the net to score her 1st competitive goal for the club. 1-1.
|Natasha Dowie centre of picture on the ball for Doncaster Rovers Belles|
Jess Sigsworth almost doubles the lead moments later coming in from the right shoots putting the ball wide. Sigsworth is causing problems for Birmingham on the right, looking to take players on with the ball at her feet, Dowie and Omarsdottir breaking from midfield trying to get themselves available for the pass. Birmingham when they get the ball back are looking to play it forwards with pace, turn the Doncaster back line early get in behind, Melissa Lawley and Jess Carter playing some good through balls in behind.
GOAL! Birmingham get themselves back on level terms on 15 minutes a good run from Kerys Harrop up the left side of the pitch plays the ball on into the area where Ayisi has made a great run to meet the ball with a diving head to score. 1-1.
Birmingham are starting to get the better of the Doncaster defence getting in behind all too easily Lawley getting free seeing Hobbs close her down and block her cross/shot coming inside from the right. Before that Jo Potter puts a 20 yard free kick wide of goal.
|Melissa Lawley makes it 2-1 to Birmingham|
GOAL! On the half hour mark Birmingham have the lead. Have a free kick inside the Doncaster half Potter to put the ball in is headed out of the area falling to Chloe Peplow who sprays the ball out left to Lawley who brings the ball on before hitting it low and hard the ball striking the post before going in to make it 2-1.
Birmingham end the 1st half strongly asking Doncaster a few questions could have extended the lead, changes are already being discussed for the visitors before the half-time whistle blows and Emily Simpkins and Rhiannon Roberts are told to get ready for the 2nd half.
A over haul of the back line for Doncaster at the start of the 2nd half off come left back Gummer and Sam Tierney with Roberts joining Little at centre back, Simpkins going to right back with Sophie Barker moving to the opposite side. Jade Moore comes on for Birmingham with Westwood having taken a knock late in the 1st half.
|Birmingham's Chloe Peplow fights for the ball with Doncaster's|
Kasia Lipka and Katrin Omarsdottir
Ayisi's a battler, a combative player not afraid to put herself about and she is ruffling a few Doncaster feathers. Simpkins is busy early in the 2nd half, neutralises a few Birmingham attacks, although they are still coming the home side isn't getting in behind quite so much 2nd half. Doncaster have stiffened thing's up at the back but that has also seen their attacking players getting less of the ball.
Simpkins and Roberts both put the block in inside the box to stop shots from outside the area, Roberts getting floored by one in the face from Ayisi. Up the other end Sigsworth puts in a dangerous ball that goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley parries away just in time with Dowie charging in. Sigsworth involved again on the right links up with Omarsdottir inside the box lays it out to Lipka, puts Omarsdottir free on the right side a great across dissecting the six yard box again Dowie is just short of a good connection with the ball.
Tempers flare up players coming together firebrands on both sides the usual suspects involved. Easton and Potter receive yellow cards. Abbey-Leigh Stringer is brought on for Birmingham, Wellings off late in the game. The chances are few and far between, Birmingham seeing the game out to win 2-1 and claim their 1st 3 point haul of the season, leaving Doncaster as the only side without a point after 2 played in FAWSL 1.
Birmingham City Ladies starting XI - Sophie Baggaley, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Emily Westwood (C) Remi Allen, Chloe Peplow, Jo Potter, Jess Carter, Melissa Lawley, Charlie Wellings & Freda Ayisi.
subs- Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Jade Moore, Sian Johnson, Ashlee Brown, Cheryl Edwards, Keeley Davies & Ellie Brazil.
Doncaster Rovers Belles starting XI - Nicola Hobbs, Alex Gummer, Sophie Barker, Samantha Tierney, Leandra Little (C), Becky Easton, Kasia Lipka, Katrin Omarsdottir, Carla Humphrey, Jess Sigsworth & Natasha Dowie.
subs - Anna Moorhouse, Emily Simpkins, Rhiannon Roberts, Yasmin Mosby & Rachel Newborough.