Monday, 5 August 2013

Blues secure away win on WSL return

Two goals from winger Mel Lawley helped Blues earn a 2-1 away win at Lincoln Ladies, as FAWSL action returned following the mid season break for the European Championships. Attractive strikes either side of half time put Blues in charge, before Carla Cantrell halved the deficit for the hosts, but despite this David Parker's side held on for a valuable three points to take Blues above Everton into 5th place in the WSL going into two consecutive home matches against Doncaster Belles and Arsenal.

There were also wins this weekend for Arsenal, Chelsea and Bristol Academy over Liverpool, Doncaster and Everton repectively. Arsenal travelled to league leaders Liverpool knowing anything but a win would leave them a huge task to win their third successive WSL title, but were ahead early on in the game thanks to a Jordan Nobbs goal. Liverpool were desperately disappointing, and could not prevent Arsenal from bossing the midfield, with Nobbs, Kim Little and youngster Jade Bailey impressing on the ball and dictating the game. Arsenal made it two before half time, Kim Little marauding through the exposed Liverpool midfield and slotting a ball through to Ellen White, who showed great composure by pulling the ball back for the advancing Alex Scott to side foot into an empty net. Natasha Dowie had the chance to pull a goal back for The Reds in the second half from the penalty spot after drawing a foul from Steph Houghton, but Arsenal stopper Emma Byrne made a good save low down to her left. The Gunners wrapped up the emphatic win late in the second half, Dan Carter playing a ball across the influential Nobbs who struck a magnificent first time shot which flew past Laws in the Liverpool goal. It was rather sobering viewing from an England persausion to see Nobbs displaying quality and control that was so desperately lacking in this summer's Euros, where the Arsenal star sat on the bench for all three pitiful group games, and there would have been an over riding sense of regret that she never had the chance to show her talents on the International tournament stage.

Chelsea romped to a comfortable home victory over bottom of the table Doncaster, thanks to a brace from Eni Aluko, and one each from fellow strikers Helen Ward and Sofia Jakobsson, and this victory has kept them within reach of the Champions League positions, while Doncaster already know that they will be playing in the second tier of womens football next season. Bristol Academy jumped above Liverpool to the top of the table with another goalfest against Everton, the visitors coming out 3-2 winners. It was 2-2 before the half hour mark, Bristol going ahead twice thanks to a Jill Scott own goal and Natasha Harding, with Kelly Jones and a Toni Duggan penalty pulling the hosts level both times. The winner came in the second half for The Vixens, another own goal, this time debutant Billie Murphy the unfortunate player.

As the table shows, the title race is almost certainly down to three teams; Bristol, Liverpool and Arsenal, but with half of the season remaining for most teams, everyone has to play eachother again, so the likes of Chelsea, Blues and Everton will still be looking to make a late charge for the top spot, but realistically, with their games in hand, Arsenal would still see themselves as favourites, and until it is out of their hands, the Champions League semi finalists will remain favourites for the league and cup double.

Bristol Academy Women7601181018
Liverpool Ladies750217915
Chelsea Ladies8314141210
Arsenal Ladies53119810
Birmingham City Ladies72327109
Everton Ladies722314148
Lincoln Ladies80356123
Doncaster Rovers Belles50233132

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