October 8, 2020 by Stephen L Wright
As I said in my preview, Boss Carla Ward had said it would be a good opportunity to ring the changes. And that’s what she did.
The biggest surprise was the announcement by the Club, in a reply to its own Tweet of the Starting XI, that goalkeeper Daniela Kosinska had been brought in on a ‘dual signing’ from Stoke City. Hannah Hampton was carrying an injury, although was nevertheless on the bench. A ‘timely’ signing? Hmm! But, we now have a second ‘keeper.
Ward decided to give more of her players ‘minutes under their belt‘ so benched regular starters, Rachel Corsie, Christie Murray (Team Captain), Becks Holloway, Sarah Mayling, Lucy Whipp and Claudia Walker and brought in Gemma Lawley (who made her First Team debut against Everton in the FA Cup semi), Connie Scofield, Chloe McCarron, Jamie-Lee Napier and Destiney Touissant. Harriet Scott wore the Caption’s armband. and Heidi Logan returned to the bench after a long time away due to injury.
Ward had also said that this wasn’t necessarily going to be an easy fixture for Blues. But her players took the game to the opposition from the start, and the first minute hadn’t passed before there was a substitution as Emma Kelly was fouled badly enough to be replaced by Mayling.
Blues picked up where they’d begun and worked their way to the Blackburn area where Mollie Green fired over. Minutes later, a Scott cross into the box was cleared. The pressure was kept on and now it was Touissant’s turn as she swung in a cross which Napier couldn’t quite connect with and the ball was cleared away. Blues kept pressing and Lawley split defenders to put the ball through to an onside Green who fired over again. Then Scofield collected the ball from a corner but shot wide. Late in the half, Touissant linked well with Abbi Grant whose ball across the Blackburn goal narrowly missed Napier. All square at the halfway point.
Ten minutes into the second half Ward made a triple substitution ( Scofield/Murray, Napier/Walker, Touissant/Holloway). A minute later Grant had the ball in the net but it was ruled offside. Ward made one final substitution (Lawley/Corsie) in the second third of the half.
Play moved into the Blues’ area and, just as she did on Sunday, Scott saved a certain goal with a calculated challenge – these days, never an entirely safe option in the area. Blues took the ball back into the Blackburn half where former Blues’ ‘keeper Alex Brooks, and her backline, were put under increased pressure, until the ‘dam’ broke with a ball over the top to Walker who fired in. Then, as so often happens, it was back up the other end and some goal mouth scrambles to keep out the equaliser. But the final shot on goal went to Mayling whose 90th minute header thudded off the Blackburn bar.
There were one or two occasions when Blackburn got close to scoring but Blues denied them. The Starting XI worked well together. From the Tweets it all read like the final scoreline was a result of not capitalising on chances, again. Blues got into the Vital Third and the Blackburn area but, despite several attempts, missed the net. But they are at least moving forward. Ward’s philosophy is beginning to pay off.
It’s back to the league on Sunday, away at Reading. Preview to follow. Until then…