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June 30, 2016 by Made In Brum
Blues ladies returned from the mid season break to a tricky home tie against Arsenal. There has been a lot of talk off the field about various players coming and going during the break, so it is nice to be able to talk about what’s happening on the pitch again.
The Blues introduced two debutants into the starting lineup, midfielder Andrine Hegerberg and goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger, while fellow new arrival Bella Linden was on the bench.
The majority of the first half was played out in the middle of the park with very few goal scoring chances. With the experience of England internationals Alex Scott and Casey Stoney at the back, it was always going to be difficult for Blues to able to break Arsenal down. Blues tried to use the pace of Wellings and Ayisi up front but couldn’t quite find the killer ball to put either through with a clear sight at goal.
Having kept 4 consecutive clean sheets before today, we know Blues are good defensively. The best opening for Arsenal came when Van de Donk was played through but Berger was alive to the danger and rushed off her line to claim the ball. The second half almost started in the worst possible way for Blues, Westwood couldn’t make the interception and Osohala was through on goal, Berger came out, stood tall and make an excellent save to keep the scores level. Just a few minutes later Berger was called into action again when Williams had a pop from a free kick 25 yards out, again Berger was equal to it and held onto the ball well.
Chances did come for Blues, Lawleys cross presented Hegerberg with the chance to open the scoring, but her header went just over the bar.
With just under 30 minutes left to play Blues introduced Linden for her debut in replace of Wellings. It immediately became clear that Linden has pace in abundance which will cause problems for any defence in this league.
Going into the last 20 minutes both teams wanted to win this, Blues broke well with Lawley who had both Ayisi and Linden ahead of her however the ball came slightly too late and Linden had strayed into an offside position.
Overall a draw was probably a fair result which sees Blues extend their unbeaten run and their run of consecutive clean sheets to 6 and 5 and remain 3rd in the league.
The player of the match award was given to Hegerberg for a very impressive debut, she looked calm and composed on the ball, put herself about making some decent challenges and got forward well when the opportunity presented itself.
Ann-Katirn Berger also needs a special mention, she commanded her box well and looked in control of every situation.
Photo Album can be found HERE
Next up is a trip to Oxford in the Continental Cup on Sunday.