February 25, 2020 by Stephen L Wright
If you’re a regular reader I’m sure you will have noticed a fairly ‘samey’ series of posts. I can only apologise, but when I’m given little to get excited about I’m going to be limited on what I can say. Consequently, and in an attempt to keep my regulars onside, I have decided to do one post on the last three games, as they were played over an eleven day period.
Chelsea (A) 12th February
There is no doubt that Blues were glad to get back in the arena after their last two games were weather postponed.
It was always going to be a tough one against the rival girls in blue who were sitting second in the league, had four wins on the spin and an unbeaten record.
Blues started well and there were shouts of ‘Go on, Bri!’ when Visalli skipped round Millie Bright and only had Carly Telford to beat. As so often, with Blues in this position, the goal did not materialise. Rather, Visalli tripped herself up. Lucy Stan got into a shooting position but fired over. These were really the only highlights of a game in which Chelsea dominated possession and shots on goal and on target.
The match ended 2-0.
Sunderland (A) 16th February
Enter the WSL clubs for the Fifth Round of the FA Cup and a return visit for Lucy Staniforth to her former club.
Storm Ciara added her own challenges to the game as both teams battled for a place in the Quarter Finals. With the wind behind them in the first half, Blues pushed into the Black Cats’ half, whipped in crosses, had shots at goal and generally gave the defence something to think about. But, as has become the norm, none of these resulted in a goal.
Sunderland, buoyed by their tenacious defence, started to find some ground, especially when they had the wind in their favour. In the end though it was Lucy Stan who managed to find the back of the net.
Sadly, she was sent off as she celebrated the goal. Throughout the game, she reported being abused by a Sunderland supporter and the goal was the final straw. It’s still unclear what actually happened, but words may have been exchanged. The supporter was also ejected from the ground. Such a shame that the women’s game has fallen to this level.
Blues march on to the last sixteen where they will be away to the winner of the match between Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion which is being played this evening (25th).
Bristol (H) 23rd February
A long period of rain from Saturday through to Sunday morning had fans wondering if the game would go ahead. But the clouds parted, the sun came out and it was ‘Game On’.
The turnout of just over 600 (the lowest by far this season) was indicative of the fans’ current mood and the gusting wind was a major factor to contend with.
And, to not put too fine a point on it, the game was largely without highlight. Blues dominated the Vital Third in the first half. But, even then, you’ll perhaps understand how bad things were when skipper Kerys Harrop had to power up the field to have a whack from outside the area. It was the story of the half, and really of the game.
Late in the second half, Bristol striker Ebony Salmon came on and completely changed her team’s rhythm. They became punchier, drove deep into Blues’ half and the inevitable goal came from Salmon’s boot. Blues had nothing in response.
Lucy Stan was out on her red card ban but, even so, Blues had the power and the skill to get goals. Emma Kelly was great down the right wing. Bri Visalli zig-zagged her way through midfield. Rach Williams hustled as only she can. But there was no Becks Holloway, again. On the rare occasions that she has been given field time she’s shown how good she is at linking play. Like Rach, she gets through players. Yet, Marta doesn’t/won’t see her potential.
We’ve lost the last five league games and only scored five times in all thirteen. Next up, away at Spurs. Liverpool, who sit on the bottom only one point behind us and have Drawn one and Won one in the last five, host Man Utd. It’s far too close to call.