Lincoln deserved to be winner of the game. They controlled the game except for a Chelsea spell early in the second half and late in the second when Chelsea pushed for the equaliser. They had a better control of the ball and had good possession sequences while Chelsea used a lot of direct on the wing and in the middle.
Tactically Chelsea line-up in 4-3-3 with Lappin preferred to Coombs in the attacking midfield position. No place still for team Captain Kylie Davies to my surprise. Carly in goal Dunia, Bonner, Trev, Soph in the back 4. Sherwood Ingle defensive midfields, Sue Lappin in the 9 and half position and Buet Longhurst Bleazard up front.
For Lincoln Laura Alleway wasn’t eligible, note the strange regulations as she is eligible for FA Cup but not for WSL games so far. Shame because my friends who attended the game last week saud she did well and I was lookign forward to see her play. This is obviously due to FA Cup open to amateur players while WSL a league with professional players hence work permit etc…There has been hint by clubs that the FA changed the rules on this this year and they do strugle to bring players in because of it.
Anyway 4-4-2 for Lincoln currently missing Bradley who is recovering from her Cyprus Cup injury. Hobbs, Walton, Sargeant ( 1st start for the former Arsenal youngster), Stoney, Daly at the back. Allen in position 6, Meg Harris in 8 and McCallum on the left with Staniforth on the right. Up front a pacy combination of Hamilton and Clarke.
The opener for Lincoln came for Hamilton who got sent a ball on the right wing near the penalty area. The covering center back was sheperding the ball nicely but Hamilton managed to get round her and kick the ball to cleverly lob Telford who was coming to collect it.
The equaliser was one of those goal that clearly illustrates the “reversibility” of the game theory. For those who have done chemistry at school, you already know that this equation shows what happenS in the water [H3O+] + [OH-] <=> 2 H2O . Football is no different, when the ball is lost all defensive and offensive action are reversed and teams are always fragile in those situations.
So Chelsea had a corner, the ball was cleared to Hamilton I think for her to head on the 3v2 counter attack from the halfway line with serious goalscoring opportunity. But her header was misdirected straight at a defender who headed it back on towards the left wing where Bleazard was unmarked and cooly slot the ball with a well placed left foot in the back of the net.
Probably 5 seconds between the Chelsea corner and the Hamilton header with a potential goal chance for Lincoln and 5 seconds later Chelsea had scored. That’s how fast things can go with a turnover. That’s why there is a strong emphasis on finding players who can do the first vertical pass well and why Arsenal offered 30 Millions euros for Rennes’ Yann M’vila.
The winning goal came straight after a very good chance was deflected in a corner. Lucy Staniforth took it direct and the ball ended up in the back of net via Carly Telford who punched it on the crossbar/post before it went it. Don’t know what happened for the near post player.
In term of midfield battle, Lincoln clearly won it finding space between Chelsea’s lines especially on the wing between Chelsea’s full back and wingers. This meant Susi and Perry had limited opportunity to push forward and help Bleazard and Buet to go behind defenders. Perry did it very well in the second half when Chelsea was dominating but was kept busy by Hamilton or Clarke’s pace.
Meg Harris had an excellent day in her box to box role and Collette McCallum was superb in her way to find space between players and one touch play to use the ball quickly and we’ll. She has a very technical left foot.
Helen Bleazard for Chelsea was excellent creating chancesa on the wing, crossing with both feet with unsettled the defenders and deservedly got a goal. Suzanne Lappin had also a very good game and I was surprised to see her subbed in the second half.
Overall a well deserved Lincoln win and it seems obvious after watching them in the last 2 games that Chelsea could do with a more patient approach in term of build up play and ball retention. It’s not easy for the poor forwards to run intothe channels for 90 minutes and fight for the second balls. It also relies on the opposition mistakes as well. One of the few good passing sequence actually produced a good opportunity that Helen Lander sent wide of the post.
And because football is just a game, I will pray for Fabrice Muamba and Liam Kelly and hope Rachel Daly is ok after seeing her sent to hospital.