Continental Tyres Cup semi-final – the match report

by Andrew Crawshaw

This match was played on Thursday evening 7 February at Borehamwood against newly formed Championship side Manchester United.

Whilst a newly formed team, Manchester United are genuinely of WSL quality, although they play in the second tier of the women’s game it is only a matter of when they will gain promotion to the WSL not if.  This is the first season that they have fielded a senior women’s team since 2005.  They appointed vastly experienced Liverpool and England player Casey Stoney MBE as manager and she has taken to the role like a duck to water and have raided most of the local clubs for talent with Liverpool and Everton in particular struggling this season as a result.

We are still beset with injuries with Jordan Nobbs, Dan Carter, Lisa Evans, Lia Wälti, Tabea Kemme, Viki Schnaderback and Jessica Samuelsson all still out with long term problems.  All seven players are well established full internationals.  Jessica has a broken foot after playing in an ‘friendly’ against England during the last International break (after we had just got her repaired following a similar injury early in the season in another international game).  The rest are all out with knee injuries.  Jordan and Dan for the rest of the season.  Hopefully the others will be back before too long.

Our team was

Sari van Veenendaal (gk)

Emma Mitchell, Leah Williamson, Louise Quinn, Janni Arnth

Dominique Bloodworth, Danielle van de Donk, Kim Little

Katie McCabe, Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead


Pauline Peyraud-Magnin (gk), Katarine Veje (and from our development squad) Ava Kuyken, Ruby Grant, Amelia Hazard, Melissa Filis

United started with 

Siobhan Chamberlain (GK), Martha Harris, Alex Greenwood, Amy Turner, Mollie Green, Jess Sigsworth, Katie Zelem, Leah Galton, Lauren James, Kirsty Smith Millie Turner.

Subs Emily Ramsey (gk), Aimee Palmer, Ella Toone, Charlie Devlin, Lucy Roberts, Lizzie Arnot, Kirsty Smith

The opening exchanges were pretty even, both teams keeping their shape and neither making much headway.  Katie McCabe had the best early chance but her shot was just over the bar and we had a good break in the 14th minute but just overran the ball in the United area.

In the 18th minute Dominique Bloodworth played an exquisite through ball from the half way line which Vivianne Miedema ran on to and there was only ever one place the ball was going to finish.  To the Arsenal one nil.  This was the only clear cut opportunity from either team and check out the pass from Bloodworth for the assist!

Manchester were making some pretty agricultural tackles and they justifiable picked up two yellow cards in Min 30 and 32.  The second was by Lauren James who seemed to get a cut in her ear and received treatment for three or so minutes whilst an earring was removed.  There was little sympathy from the crowd around me who all thought she should have removed it before the match started.  In Min 34 United asked questions of Sari van Veenendaal following a well worked corner routine but she was more than able to cope with the header.

United were targeting Emma Mitchell at left back and this was the one area where they were getting some joy.  I have thought for a while now that she struggles against fast paced wide attackers and it was proving the same again in this match.

The half finished at one-nil with neither team looking likely to score, defences largely nullifying attackers.  The difference between the teams that one moment of brilliance.

At the start of the second half we seemed to be more on the front foot.  Mead had an effort that was well tipped behind for a corner and the ball ping-ponged around the United box following another corner but last ditch blocks prevented a clear shot on goal.  In the 60th minute Miedema struck again.  A cross from the left hand side came to her at the far side of the goal, she moved it to her left foot and absolutely lashed it into the net.  That was her 25th goal of the season (in 20 games). If only our men were that clinical!

In Min 67 United substituted Lauren James for Kirsty Hanson.  Mead then had two great efforts, the second of which came back off the crossbar as we pressed for a third goal which we really deserved but to no avail.

Both teams substituted their No2s – United replacing Martha Harris 2 with Ella Toone 7 and Arsenal replacing Katie McCabe 15 with Katarine Veje 2.  Katarine is an out and out left winger and did what she always does and stuck to the left byline drivind for the goal line and providing crosses.  Her first nearly resulted in a goal but was somehow cleared.  Her second also caused chaos.

United made a final change with Lizzie Arnott coming on for Leah Galton.

As the game wound down we seemed to reduce our intensity a bit and United suddenly got a goal back.  Somewhat fortuitously a nothing ball bounced off our defender and across the 18 yeard box whers it was collected by Mollie Green who shot into the far right hand corner of our goal just past a despairing dive by Sari.  Seven minutes plus added on time to see the match out which we managed.

United proved tough opponents and in the WSL would probably be in the middle group with Birmingham and Reading

So we now go on to the final for the 7th time in 8 years and look to win it a sixth time.  Our opponents will be Man City who beat Chelsea by 2 – 0 in the other semi-final played the previous day.  The final will be at Sheffield United’s ground Bramall lLane Sheffield on Saturday 23 February with a 12:15 kick-off.  Tickets are £10 adults and £1 for concessions (U16 and over 65) so no excuses not to go.  Our first team play at the Emirates on the Sunday.  I am told that the club will be putting on supporter coaches and that details will be on in the next few days.

Here is a link to the official FA Women’s Super League Twitter account which has highlight clips from both our and Manchester City’s semi finals

The FA Women’s Super League‏Verified account @FAWSL


2 Replies to “Continental Tyres Cup semi-final – the match report”

Comments are closed.