by Andrew Crawshaw
The Continental Tyres Cup is to Ladies Football what the Carabao Cup is to the Men. It is the League Cup competition and is open to the 23 teams in the top two divisions of Women’s football. The teams are split, approximately geographically into three groups of six and one of five with a ‘round robin’ format where each team plays the other group members once.
This year the groups are :-
|Group 1 North||Group 1 South||Group 2 North||Group 2 South|
|Durham||London City Lionesses||Birmingham||Crystal Palace|
|Liverpool||Brighton||Manchester City||West Ham|
For ease of reference the 12 teams in the WSL (the top tier) are shown highlighted, the 11 from the Championship aren’t. Given the difference in standard between the two divisions and the fact that the later group stage of the competition is open to the top 2 in each group there is one Championship team at least going to be in the quarter finals.
On paper, Liverpool seem to have been handed the easiest group whilst Groups 2 North and South look to be the toughest.
Here is a quick rundown of the non-Arsenal matches before I get to the Arsenal review. There are supposed to be highlights available for all matches at http://faplayer.thefa.com/ but to be honest I couldn’t find them on Monday afternoon (but then it is the FA and we all know what that stands for).
Group 1 North
Liverpool 2 – Sheffield United 3 Liverpool’s theoretical advantage came to nought as Sheffield scored a winner deep into extra time having twice come from behind. Liverpool are still to win a game this season.
Durham 3 – Aston Villa 0 This match had the top two in the Championship paired together and Durham emerged comfortable winners thanks to two goals from Mollie Sharpe and one from Abby Holmes.
Coventry v Blackburn (5 – 4 after penalties) Coventry earned a bonus point, winning on penalties after the match finished all square after 90 minutes.
Group 1 South
Charlton Athletic 0 v Brighton 3 A header from Umotong at the end of the first half and two second half penalties from Kayleigh Green enabled WSL Brighton to overcome a spirited Charlton.
Bristol City 3 v London Bees 0 This was Bristol’s first win of the season as they made a bright start against Championship opponents. Carla Humphrey opened the scoring in the 7th minute and Salmon added a second in the 25th minute before adding their third in the dying minutes.
Group 2 North
Manchester City 5 v Leicester City 0 No big surprise here City beating the only Championship team in their group by a very comprehensive margin.
Birmingham City 1 v Everton 0 A close game with the two teams separated by the only goal of the match scored by Rachel Williams with a header from a Staniforth corner in the 73rd minute.
Group 2 South
Spurs 0 v Reading 4 A heavy defeat for Spurs who are finding it tough at present against the better quality teams from the WSL.
Lewes 2 v Crystal Palace 3 An even contest between two Championship teams Palace emerging winners by the odd goal in five.
Chelsea 2 v West Ham 0 Goals from Reiten and England in the second half were the main difference between the two teams. It was a physical contest with Chelsea being forced to play the last 5 minutes with only 10 women after Engman was forced off the pitch with an injury and all of Chelsea’s subs already having been used.
London City Lionesses 0 v Arsenal 5
London City Lionesses formerly played as Millwall Lionesses but due to issues were allowed to change their name and play for this season as a team independent from any established men’s club. I wish them success for the remainder of their season and hope they can re-establish themselves as a vibrant and thriving club after a few seasons when that really wasn’t the case. There is a BBC article which explores the breakup reasonably well – https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/49483717
Pauline Peyraud-Magnin (GK)
Leonie Maier, Leah Williamson (74), Viktoria Schnaderbeck, Emma Mitchell
Lia Walti (46), Jill Roord, Jordan Nobbs (c)
Danielle Van de Donk (65), Beth Mead, Melissa Filis
Subs Manuella Zinsberger (GK), Jen Beattie (46), Kim Little, Katie McCabe (74), Ruby Grant (65), Vivianne Miedema
Thomas (GK), Mackie, Wilson, Priest, Ayisi, Neville (74), Balfour (55), Bennett, Mason (c)(64), Rossiter, Sussana
Subs Cowan (64), Kemppi (55), Clarke, Yvan, Fitzgerald, Fyfe, Gurr (74)
A pre-match hiccup for Arsenal with Louise Quinn being forced to withdraw during the warmup with a tight hamstring meaning an unexpected start for Leah Williamson. A return to action though for Lia Walti following nine months out with a knee problem and a first start of the season for academy player Melissa Filis who seems to have grown from my memories of her last season. First starts of the season also for Pauline Peyraud-Magnin and Emma Mitchell. In all six changes from the team that beat Man United one nil on Monday.
Mead nearly opened the scoring in the first minute forcing Lucy Thomas into a fine save at the left hand post. Thomas was in action again in the third minute to cut out a Mitchell cross with Arsenal attackers waiting. Further chances were occurring regularly the most notable being from Jill Roord who had an effort cleared off the line with the keeper well beaten. Jill didn’t strike the ball with enough power in this instance (unlike her normal style). Arsenal well on top after 15 minutes although no goal to show for the dominance
The opening goal came in the 28th minute from the impressive Beth Mead she showed excellent skill to bring the ball under control, then beat two defenders before firing home. TO THE ARSENAL ONE NIL sang the supporters.
In the 29th minute Pauline Peyraud-Magnin had to be alert in the Arsenal goal needing to palm away the ball from a Lionesses corner, this was the first time she had been called into action in the game.
In the 33rd minute we doubled our lead with Jill Roord making up for the earlier fluffing of her lines by firing a powerful shot into the roof of the net. No-one was stopping that one on the goal-line. Five minutes later and it was nearly three as Melissa Filis spotted Thomas in no-mans land and chipped her only to see the ball fall just wide. Further good work by an increasingly influential Filis resulted in another corner. TWO NIL TO THE ARSENAL at half time and it could easily have been four.
During the half time interval Jen Beattie was warming up and she came on to replace Lia Walti in a pre-planned move. Jen joined Schnaderbeck in defence with Leah Williamson moving forward to midfield.
The Lionesses started the second half with intent Pauline Peyraud-Magnin twice being called in to action in the first five minutes. In the 54th minute a brilliant team move by Arsenal saw Danielle Van de Donk worked her way into the penalty area and spotted Emma Mitchell clear on her left, found her with an excellent pass and Emma made no mistake powering the ball into the net. THREE NIL TO THE ARSENAL. The stadium announcer had barely time to give out the goalscorer when Beth Mead made it four with a typical long range shot to the corner of the goal.
At the hour point the job was done and it now required Arsenal to be vigilant, not allow any sloppiness into their play and be professional to see out the win and clean sheet. Nobbs forced Thomas into a good save before we had to make one at our end. Mead nearly got her hat-trick in the 67th minute but hit the post.
In the 79th minute the hat-trick arrived courtesy of a deflection. FIVE NIL TO THE ARSENAL!
With two minutes to go Nobbs went down under a late challenge, fortunately she was able to get up quickly and didn’t appear to have been hurt.
Lastly I must give credit to the Officials, even handed, called fouls correctly against both teams just what you should expect. I didn’t find a match day programme and have failed to find their names on the internet but well done anyway.
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