FA Women's Cup, Game reports

Manchester City v Birmingham City

It was an easy 4-1 victory in the end for Manchester City as they dominated for most of the game and took advantage of the chances they got in the first half, then stayed in control in the second half.

On paper it looked like a promising encounter with Birmingham’s defensive strength and City’s attacking football. Unfortunately, a lot of Birmingham players offered underwhelming performances on the day and you cannot win games with an opponent like City under those circumstances.

What was really surprising to me was the manner in which the three first half goals were conceded. Three errors that you do not normally associate with Birmingham City.

1 Poor marking from a free kick at the near post with two players unmarked and it ended up with an own goal.

2 Then a ball lost from building up from the back with a careless giveaway, full credit to City for taking advantage in transition with the Birmingham defense out of position and punishing this error with a killer goal.

3 A misjudged cross by the goalkeeper and a simple finish with a header into the empty net. Again two players were unamrked.  What makes it even stranger is Berger was really superb dealing will all the other crosses and high ball during the whole game, but missed that one.

So with 3-0 at half time, there was no coming back for Birmingham, except if there was a huge effort from their side to create more chances as creativity was the missing element in the final third. They are certainly missing Follis in attack who has yet to kick a ball for them and with two defensive win-backs creativity is limited.

Their 3-4-1-2 system  with White in the number 10 position did not seem to work against City’s 4-3-3, but I don’t think the system was the main  problem. They put Wellings on for Ayisi and kept the 3-4-1-2 and it produced a goal with the young forward bringing a good impetus as soon as she came on.

Manchester City  were as efficient and classical in their play as they usually do. A ball possession game with sharp passing using all the strength and technical skill from their players. They also had a lot of experience with a starting 11 full of international players. They went about their business professionally and did the job very well and were deserved winners.

Birmingham clearly had a younger side and maybe that explain why some players froze and did not perform especially in the first half. What was strange was their build up play, the ball went up to the midfield players then straight back at the defenders or at Berger. Just putting the defense and the goalie under pressure and inviting City to press them.

The four Birmingham midfielders were disappointing in the first half. The two wing back faced tough customers with Bronze and Stokes, backed up by Parris and Lawley with the centre backs helping the wing-back when they were in 2v1 situation. The usual and normal tactical situation in the 3-4-1-2 v 4-3-3 was not managed very well.

The two central midfielders faced the three City midfielders Scott, Christiansen and Walsh who was sitting deeper with White coming from her number 10 position to help them main it a 3v3 game in midfield.  Why the two central midfielders did not perform well on the day is a puzzling. It meant Man City dominated the wings and the central midfield area overall. When they are  in control they are extremely dangerous and had three goals at half-time to show for it.

Now I was expecting a Birmingham half-time tactical change, maybe go to a back four, or having White moving to a higher position on the pitch where she could do more damage in a 3-4-3 system or making substitutions for the players who performed badly in the first half.

No change happened and City went into control mode managing the game and making sure, it was well under control. Wellings introduction meant more direct runs and pace up front and it brought a goal and a small light of hope, that was extinguished with another superb City goal in transition from Jill Scott, who turned round Harrop and finished well.

Overall Manchester City were deserved winners on the day performing to the expectations while Birmingham could have given them a harder game but they did not manage to reach the performance level they reached against Arsenal and Chelsea unfortunately for them.

Advertisements
Standard
FA Women's Cup

The FA Women’s Cup Round 5 draw

Those schoolkids in Hornsey decided that Round 5 would be derby day with a Merseyside, Brummie and North London derby. Hopefully games will be competitive on the 19th of March.

The draw in full :

FA WSL 1 v FA WSL 1

  • Notts County v Yeovil     Notts County will be huge favourite against promotd team Yeovil as they have an excellent head to head record.  It will be the first game for both teams so it will be interesting to see who will hit the ground running first.
  • Man City v Reading   City will also be a huge favourite against Reading. It will be interesting to see if the away team park the bus as usual or will play a more expansive game concisedring they got rid of nearly all their forward during the transfer window. There will be a question mark on City’s line-up with the Champions League quater-final away to Brondby four days later.

FA WSL 1* v FA WSL 2

  • Liverpool* v Everton  The Mersyside derby with both side playing in their home ground. First competitive game for Liverpool so obviously Everton will try to take advantage of the reds relative lack of sharpness if there is any.
  • Sunderland* v Aston Villa  A clear potential banana skin for Sunderland and their new semi-professional regime that puts them on par with the FA WSL 2 teams. So no competitive advantage and first competitive game against a Villa side with three wins out three in all competions.
  • Bristol* v Millwall the home side will be favourite and will come again a fighting side with an in form and experienced striker in Ashley Hincks. Again the lack of competitive action so far for the FA WSL 1 makes it an interesting game.
  • Chelsea* v Doncaster Chelsea will be huge favourite after beating Doncaster 4-0, 4-1 and 4-1 last season. Their pre-seasons eem to have gone well while Doncaster scheduled has been derailed by the weather and the bad planning by the FA.

FA WSL 1* v FA WPL

  • Arsenal* v Tottenham  The North London derby should be interesting with a flying Spurs team in the FA WPL Southern and getting big results in the cups as well. A first competitive game for the Arsenal who had a bad pre-season in term or results until the Kelly Smith celebration game.

There will be probably be a lot of entertainment in the stand as it is a North London Derby and        the  FA ‘s respect campaign will go out of the window in the stand.

Couple of seasons ago I witness a Spurs v Arsenal reserves game at 10am and the young Arsenal girls were subjected to abuse from a minority of idiots.  If you consider that it will be the first NLD in the women’s side for nearly six or seven years, there might be some work to do for the stewards and police on the day.

All you need is a couple of idiots on both side abusing the players and insulting the opposition fans for things can kick-off. If you go to Borehamwood, you know who will be there and up for anything. Hopefully, there will be fans’ segregation on the day.

  • Birmingham* v West Brom West Brom are the only team that can really compete with Leicester for the FA WPL Northern Division title and could reach the promotion play-off again if they can win all their games in hand. The quality gap between the two teams might be too much for the away side. It will Mark Skinner’s first game as the Blues manager.

As someone mentioned, FA WSL 1 teams are all at home except for the two teams that are away to FA WSL 1 teams. What were the odds of this to happen ?

Standard
FA Women's Cup

Millwall Lionesses 1 London Bees 0

It was a very competitive game  as it is always the case between those two teams with a Megan Wynne goal on the 12th minute the difference between the two sides.

 

Here is the goal courtesy to Millwall’s superfan Dion Farnes :

 

Now for the tactical set-up as it was a surprising one from Millwall. Considering they played with a back four for the whole of last season, to see them turn up with a back three was a surprise.

capture

To me there is no doubt that the Lionesses set-up surprised the Bees.

London Bees were on top for the first ten minutes and then things started to change after the initial goal. I am not sure the Bees managed to get behind the Lionesses defence more than twice in the whole game.

This was due to a very good defensive organisation by Millwall and lack of quality passing and clinical finishing from Bees in the final third.

Millwall got a couple of chances to finish off the game, but did not get the second goal that would have put the tie beyond the Bees reach, which meant a tense second half with a lot of foul play, kicking and bookings.

The referee actually could have given a bit more bookings as he was lenient and let things get out of control a bit too much in my opinion. When wild sliding tackles start to appear, especially on a 3G, that’s were you must come in and calm things down.

So tactically, as seen on the diagram Millwall took control of the central area by the virtue of having seven players in a tight space and left the wings free for Bees to control.

Bees therefore should have had full reign on both wings with regular 2 v 1 situations, full-back and winger v wing-back, but that did not happen very often  actually. It was something that puzzled me greatly. The full-backs did not overlap often, probably to protect the defense from waves of Millwall players coming from the central area.

Clearly there was congestion in the middle and Bees did not manage to put their striker Wilson in shooting positions, while Millwall used their lone striker Hincks as a link-up player to bring in all the midfielders making their runs as well as the wing-backs.

Another interesting fact in that game in both side had many left-footed players with three for Bees and two for Millwall. It actually helped on ball distribution  and build up play. The goal coming from an excellent Gaylor cross from the left-wing.

The key to the game was the Lionesses ability to smother the Bees attacking threats, cutting all the passing lines and defending well the 1v1 situations that happened. On the other side, Bees did not use much the diagonal long balls,  to move it away from the congested area and find the pocket of spaces where their wingers could have done some damages.

So a deserved win over 90 minutes for Millwall Lioness who will at home to Nottingham Forest Ladies in Round 4 on the 19th of February.

 

 

Standard
FA Women's Cup

The FA Women’s Cup 4th Round draw

There are only six games in the Fourth round as 10 FA WSL 1 team will enter in Round 5. There are many local derbies as well as potential cupsets.

 

FA WSL 2 between each other

Durham v Everton

Sheffield FC v Doncaster Rovers Belles

 

FA WSL 2 V FA WPL Southern

Coventry United v Aston Villa*

Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion*

 

FA WSL 2 V FA WPL Northern

Millwall Lionesses* v Nottingham Forest

 

FA WPL Northern between each other

West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City

 

We are therefore guaranteed ten FA WSL1, two FA WSL 2 and one FA WPL team in Round 5. Millwall, Brighton and Aston Villa certainly will have to be on their toes against quality opponents from the FA WPL.

We could end up with only 3 FA WSL 2 sides in Round 5.

Standard
FA Women's Cup

FA Women’s Cup Round 3 draw

The FA WSL 2 teams are entering the competition alongside the 14 winners from the previous round, here are the matchup  :

 

Note, there are 3 different levels represented in this round, level 2 FA WSL 2, level 3 FA WPL Northern and Southern and level 4 FA WPL Division 1 South East, South West and Northern.

 

WSL 2 v WSL 2 (0)

Millwall Lionesses v London Bees

Doncaster Belles v Watford Ladies

 

WSL 2  v FA WPL Southern (1)

Charlton Women v Sheffield Ladies*

Coventry United v Oxford United*

 

WSL 2 v FA WPL Southern EastDivision 1 (2)

AFC Wimbledon v BrightonWomen *

 

WSL 2 FA WPL Southern West Division 1 (2)

Keynsham Town v Durham*

Aston Villa* v Cambridge United

 

WSL 2  v FA WPL Northern Division 1 (2)

Brighouse v Everton*

 

FA WPL Northern v FA WPL Northern (0)

Derby County v Forest Ladies

 

FA WPL Northern v FA WPL Southern (0)

West Brownwich Albion v Lewes Ladies

Blackburn Rovers v Tottenham Hotspurs

 

FA WPL Northern v FA WPL Northern Division 1 (1)

Leicester Women* v Liverpool feds

 

Games to be played on the 5th of February, opening game on the 2017 season for the FA WSL 2 teams. Higher division team in *

My prediction is up to five FA WSL 2 teams might be eliminated. There will be two of them who will go out at least. Sheffield, Oxford, Durham and Aston Villa, will be to be on their toes fro the first competitive game of the 2017 season.

Standard
FA Women's Cup

Southampton Women v Swindon Town

With no FA WSL development game around, I turned my attention to the FA Women’s Cup game that was postponed last week, Southampton v Swindon.

If you want a real and proper match report, please go to http://www.womenssoccerscene.co.uk/ as they should publish it on the website tonight or tomorrow. You can also see pictures from the game here : http://www.jamesprickett.co.uk/2016-17/SvS111216/index.html

For those who don’t know me, I am an Arsenal Ladies fan but with no first team or reserves game, I decided to watch a different game this Sunday. Note that I actually had plan A,B,C and D, in case of games being postponed due to pitch not being playable.

So I set off early on Sunday morning, took the 65 bus to Richmond and then expected to get the train to Clapham Junction. Of course I did not check the engineering work and it was a replacement bus from Reading to Clapham Junction. So I ended up taking the London Overground train up to Willesden Junction and back down to Clapham Junction.

After waiting to see if the game was likely to be postponed again, I set off for Basingstoke where I met Patrick and James, got some excellent French cheese and saucisson from the French market and did our car ride to the ground.

This the the part of the women’s footie games that I really enjoy ie meeting friends that I see at games and enjoy watching them together, making it a nice afternoon and also it is  nice to see players that I have seen play for many years and different clubs.

For example, at today’s game, I was glad to see Kirsty Whitton for Southampton. Kirst used to play for Yeovil and came back after a long term injury. I was also pleased to see Lois Colley in action, although she started the game on the bench. Lois used to play for Middlesex u17 and then London Bees before moving to the USA and came back in England this season and plays now for Swindon.

I find it nice to see how players evolve and improve through their career, for example I remember Gemma Davison back in 2004/05 and n0w a full international. or Ashelight Goddard from the Arsenal Academy time who went to De Paul Uni in Chicago and now plays for London Bees.

Back to the game and Swindon are playing two divisions above Southampton but on the day, we did not see the difference between the two sides. The sides were evenly matched and it was no surprise in the end to see a cup upset with Southampton winning by two goals to nil.

The first goal came in the first with a corner that the goalkeeper dropped while trying to catch it and it was finished from close range. The second goal came in the second half from a left footed a cross cum shot from the right wing that went above the goalkeepers head. she touched the ball but could not clear it.

Swindon could have come back into the game with a penalty that went high and wide and there was no fightback from there. What I noted is ball possession was quite equal with Southampton making good use of the ball throughout the game and Swindon struggling in general to create clear chances.

The two Southampton center backs were extremely solid and only when Swindon introduced two wingers, they started to stretch the Southampton defense. But it was too little to late.

Overall it was a well deserved victory for Southampton who were compact in defense and had a quality passing game throughout the 90 minutes. Cambridge United will be their opponents in the next round on the 8th of Jnauray.

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
FA Women's Cup, FA WSL, FA WSL 2

FA WSL 1&2 + FA Women’s Cup games attended this season

As I am looking forward to see Doncaster Belles for the first time this season, I had a look at the whole year and noticed that I did not manage to see Liverpool Ladies either and sadly won’t see them in 2016.

Here are the stats up to today : 38 games attended, 17 teams seen out of 19.

Arsenal Ladies 14

London Bees 9

Millwall Lionesses 9

Watford Ladies 7

Chelsea Ladies 5 ( down a lot from previous season, due to the incident with the Chelsea video staff member during the pre-season game in Paris)

Reading Women 5 ( a lot less than last season because they wer eplaying on Saturdays at Farnborough, which was easy to access unlike Wycombe)

Sunderland Ladies 4

Bristol City 4

Notts County Ladies 3

Sheffield FC 3

Everton Ladies 2

Birmingham City 2

Durham Women 2

Manchester City 2

Aston Villa 2

Oxford United 1

Yeovil Town 1

Liverpool Ladies 0

Doncaster Belles 0

I have obviously attended FA WPL, CoE, International and youth international games in 2016, so will try to see if I can list them all.

Standard