April 10, 2013 by bclfc
Blues Ladies crashed out of the Women’s FA Cup last night at the hands of rivals Arsenal, losing 6-0 in London. Doubles from Gemma Davison and Ellen White, along with strikes from midfield duo Kim Little and Jordan Nobbs, saw off the current Holders in style, and set up a semi-final tie away at Liverpool. After a relatively even opening twenty-five minutes, Arsenal took control of the tie when attacking winger Davison opened the scoring, followed shortly after by a goal of individual quality by England midfielder Nobbs, setting herself and firing home from twenty-five yards. It was three before half time, Rachel Yankey dispossessing fellow England international Rachel Unitt, before crossing for striker White to loop a header past Hourihan in the Blues goal. The same duo combined for the fourth goal of the evening shortly after half time, Yankey releasing England striker White to stroke home and effectively ended the contest, and it didn’t take long before it was five, this time Davison setting up Scottish starlet Little to smash past a helpless Hourihan. By the time Davison made it six, Hourihan had been replaced by young debutant Mary Earps, and she could do nothing to prevent the winger rounding her and completing the humiliating defeat.
On an evening like this, there cannot be many positives to come out of the game, but occasionally you have to hold your hands up and admit that the opposition were simply far superior, and I feel that this is one of those occasions. Some may see the margin of victory as a shock, considering Blues have been Arsenal’s closest challengers in the past two seasons, and although David Parker and his team will be thoroughly disappointed to have surrendered their FA Cup reign with such a result, there are numerous factors behind the defeat that went against Blues, mainly the preparation both teams have had in the build up to this game. Blues’ only meaningful game this season came three weeks ago with their cup tie away to non-WSL Cardiff, whereas in that time Arsenal have come through a very competitive two-legged Champions League Quarter Final, as well as brushing aside Forest Ladies in their previous FA Cup round only last week. Players such as Nobbs, White, Yankey, Little and Alex Scott have been heavily involved in international tournaments and matches in addition to their club games, so on closer inspection it is clear to see Arsenal have had much more preparation for this big game compared to Blues’ girls.
When all is said and done, Arsenal are comfortably the best side in England, and in reaching the Semi-Finals of this year’s Champions League they have shown they can cut it with the best in Europe too, so losing to them is no disgrace, but Blues will no doubt be upset at how easily the London outfit swept through them. With two more fixtures expected within the next month against the current WSL champions, Parker will be hoping his side can gel quickly, and that this result will not be repeated in the upcoming games. The big challenge ahead of Blues is to get over this result quickly, and be ready for the test of Chelsea Ladies in their opening league fixture of the season on Sunday. Should they win that, it will soften the blow of this exit from the FA Cup.
Arsenal: Byrne, A Scott (Beattie 57), Flaherty, Grant, Fahey, Houghton (c), Nobbs, Little, Yankey (Carter 69), Davison, White (Ludlow 75). Subs not used: Spencer, Tracy
Blues: Hourihan (Earps 69), Weston, Bassett (c), Harrop, Unitt, Christiansen, Simpkins, Moore, Potter (Torkildsen 63), Westwood (Wilkinson 65), Williams. Subs not used: Haines, Linnett, George
For more information on the Ladies team, visit our blog at http://www.bclfc.blogspot.com, or follow @c_pugh17 and @celder7 on Twitter