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Continental Cup – The First Round report.

by Andrew Crawshaw

The Continental Tyres Cup is the Women’s equivalent of the League Cup.  It is a competition that has seen a change in makeup this season moving from a straight knockout to four mini-leagues with the top two in each moving to a knockout phase.

The teams in the top two tiers of the Women’s Super League have been split into the four groups so that each group of five has either two or three teams from each division.

The teams in the four groups are

Group 1 North Liverpool (WSL1), Sunderland (WSL1), Aston Villa (WSL2),  Durham (WSL2), Sheffield (WSL2)

Group 2 North – Birmingham (WSL 1), Man City (WSL1), Everton (WSL1), Doncaster Rovers (WSL2), Oxford (WSL2)

Group 1 South – Arsenal (WSL1), Watford (WSL1), Millwall (WSL2), London Bees (WSL2), Reading (WSL2)

Group 2 South –  Bristol City (WSL1), Chelsea (WSL1), Yeovil Town (WSL1), Spurs (WSL2), Brighton and Hove Albion (WSL2)

Each team plays the other teams in their group once only and will play two home and two away games.  If the scores are level after 90 minutes a penalty shoot out will decide the winner.  Teams will get three points for a win at the end of 90 minutes, 2 points for winning a penalty shoot out and one point for losing a penalty shoot out.

The first round of group games took place this last Week.  In Southern Group 1 Reading didn’t have a game, neither did Aston Villa in Northern Group 1.  Both Chelsea and Manchester City who had Champions League games sat out the first games in their groups.

Group 1 North saw a good win for Liverpool who put 6 past Sheffield, and Sunderland who won on penalties in the North-East Derby against Durham after the game was goalless after 90 minutes.

For Liverpool Caroline Wier scored two, the other goals came from Ingle, Johnson and England and an own goal by Gilliatt.  The game was also notable as it marked Bonner’s 100th game for Liverpool.  (Attendance was 352).

Sunderland won 3 – 2 on penalties after the two teams failed to score during the 90 minutes.  (Attendance was 641).

Group One North
POS TEAM Pl W D L GF GA Pts
1 Liverpool Ladies FC 1 1 0 0 6 0 3
2 Sunderland AFC Ladies 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
3 Durham Women FC 1 0 0 1 0 0 1
4 Aston Villa Ladies FC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Sheffield FC Ladies 1 0 0 1 0 6 0

Group 2 North saw good wins for Birmingham over Oxford (4 – 0) and Everton over Doncaster (3 – 0).

Birmingham took a two goal advantage over Oxford with a backheel from Ayisi and a second from Quinn.  Oxford then had Short sent off for bringing down Williams.  They made the most of the extra player with two late goals courtesy of Ladd and Wellings.  (Attendance was 445)

Everton enjoyed their first win of the season Chloe Kelly opening the scoring on 6 minutes and an own goal by Little giving them a two goal advantage over their WSL2 opponents at halftime.  Everton wrapped up the scoring with a Munsterman piledriver from the edge of the box.  (Attendance was 482)

With Manchester City odds on to win this group the battle for second place between the other two WSL1 clubs will be intense and may well come down to goal difference after all games have been played.

Group Two North
POS TEAM Pl W D L GF GA Pts
1 Birmingham City Ladies 1 1 0 0 4 0 3
2 Everton Ladies FC 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
3 Manchester City Women 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Doncaster Rovers Belles 1 0 0 1 0 3 0
5 Oxford United Women 1 0 0 1 0 4 0

In Group 1 South there were wins for both Watford and Arsenal, Watford by a single goal over Millwall and Arsenal who at last found our goalscoring boots putting seven past outclassed London Bees.

At Borehamwood, Arsenal were on top from the start and put in a dominant performance over their lower league opposition.  It was a game I really wanted to get to but a nasty viral infection meant that I simply wasn’t fit to go. After three less than convincing performances in the WSL it was a chance for us to strut our stuff and, this time we delivered.

However I have one beef with Matt Aldridge over the report in Arsenal.com – this stage of the competition is played in a league format and we aren’t into the next round of the competition.  Please learn the rules of a competition before you write about it!

Beth Mead had the first opportunity shooting wide after being played in with a ball over the heads of the Bees defenders, a few moments later Lisa Evans had an effort easily saved by Sophie Harris in the Bees goal.  We opened the scoring on 24 minutes when Evans shot under Harris following an assist from Nobbs.  ten minutes later it was two as defender Emma Mitchell scored with a half-volley from the edge of the penalty area.  She soon added her second heading in a Nobbs corner at the near post.  At halftime Taylor replaced Miedema and soon made it four emphatically burying a rebound.  Mead then added two both from the penalty spot after first she and then Quinn were fouled in the penalty area.  Quinn then added the final goal, a header from close range. (No attendance figure ion the match reports I’ve read)

In the other game Watford got their first win of the season with a tight one nil win over Millwall.  The winner coming in the 72nd minute with substitute Fatuga-Dada vollyinh home a well taken free kick from Watford Captain Nuttall.  (Attendance was 312)

Group One South
POS TEAM Pl W D L GF GA Pts
1 Arsenal 1 1 0 0 7 0 3
2 Watford Ladies FC 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
3 Reading FC Women 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Millwall Lionesses 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
5 London Bees 1 0 0 1 0 7 0

Group 2 South

The big surprises came in this group with the two WSL2 teams both beating their WSI1 opponents

Brighton were the stand out team in the group beating Yeovil 4 – 2 courtesy of two goals by Umotong and Natkiel before Yeovil got two goals in extra time through Sawyer and Green. (attendance was 167)

Tottenham had a two goal win over WSL1 side Bristol City courtesy of goals by Pickett and Baptiste.  Bristol probably underestimated Spurs as they made six changes from their team that drew 1 – 1 with Arsenal the previous Sunday.  (Attendance was 145)

Group Two South
POS TEAM Pl W D L GF GA Pts
1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1 1 0 0 4 2 3
2 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies FC 1 1 0 0 2 0 3
3 Chelsea Ladies FC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Yeovil Town Ladies FC 1 0 0 1 2 4 0
5 Bristol City Women 1 0 0 1 0 2 0

Tables courtesy of fawsl

One final thing – the attendance figures are awful.  All of these teams deserve to be seen by far more people than this.  If you haven’t seen a ladies match then please look up where your nearest game is and go and watch.  The atmosphere will be friendly and you will enjoy a decent game of football (well most of the time anyway), you won’t be charged a fortune and you can safely take even small children.

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