by Andrew Crawshaw
The weekend’s games kicked off on Saturday lunchtime with a game between Manchester City and Aston Villa. You will recall my prediction:-
“they (Aston Villa) will prove a stiff test for a City team who are trying to catch the top three. City to win by a single goal with both teams scoring. 2 – 1 or 3 – 2.“
The match was indeed a stiff test for City who were better in the early exchanges; Venezuelan forward Deyna Castellanos scoring in the 29th from a Khadija Shaw assist. Their lead lasted no time at all though as Kirsty Hanson equalised two minutes later. Thereafter it was a very even contest, Villa came closest to scoring a second when Kirsty Hanson hit the post. The match ended 1 – 1 which was a fair reflection of the game.. Two points that City failed to get contrary to my expectations.
Whilst the match wasn’t in the main City ground their academy stadium over the road is maintained to the same high standard and the inclement weather was no issue whatsoever.
The other five matches were scheduled for the Sunday and here the weather was the main talking point.
Chelsea hosted Liverpool
This was the lunchtime at their Kingsmeadow ground. This ground is similar to Borehamwood before Arsenal replaced the pitch a few years ago and is in need of a complete makeover, a bit like Stamford Bridge.
A referee inspection at 9am had the referee Neil Hair seemingly overruled by the FA and the game kicked off on time. Six minutes later it was abandoned with Mr Hair decreeing that the ground was endangering the safety of the players.
After the first inspection pitch covers and heaters had been used inane attempt to improve the conditions but whatever the cause of the decisions this was an absolute fiasco. Games at the highest levels must be played on grounds that are fit to be played on. If clubs cannot achieve that they should be made to forfeit the match with the visiting team awarded a 3 – 0 victory.
I realise that not all Women’s Clubs may have the resources to renovate the Non-Lease grounds that they may elect to play in, but currently all WSL clubs are part of PL or Championship teams and therefore have access to proper grounds that are immune to weather cancellation (except in extreme conditions, and winter frosts are certainly not in that category).
Everton v West Ham
An early afternoon match, the game was played with no problems, Everton winning 3 – 0 thanks to a 3rd minute strike from Danish midfielder Karen Holmgaard from a Jess Park assist followed by a second in the 12th minute from Centre Back Megan Finnigan the assist coming from Danish wide forward Nicoline Sørensen. 19 year old striker Agnes Beever-Jones got the third in the 70th minute not long after coming on as a substitute. My prediction of a draw was comprehensively wrong
Reading v Manchester United
Again played with no problems. Also another prediction I got hopelessly wrong. United failed to score a penalty late in the first half and failed to score for the majority of the second half as well. The only goal of the game coming in the 87th minute with forward Rachel Williams. Manchester United go top of the League with the win on goal difference from Chelsea.
Tottenham v Leicester City
This game was called off following a pitch inspection on Saturday due to a frozen pitch. There was no game at Tottenham’s main ground over the weekend and their Women’s team usually play at the Hive, the home of Leyton Orient who are a League 2 side at the moment. I have no idea why this ground was unplayable.
Brighton v Arsenal
This game was also called off due to a frozen pitch. A fan announcement was posted on the Women’s twitter page after a 14:30 pitch inspection.
Brighton are another team who don’t use their main stadium very often for their Women’s matches and this game was due to take place at the Broadfield Stadium in Crawley. Lotte Wubben-Moy posted to all fans in the New Moon Pub in Crawley that she had put some money behind the bar for anyone to have a cranberry juice and crisps on her. She also said that changes need to be and will be made. A class gesture.
So where does that leave the table:-
From an Arsenal perspective, the only positives were that United only won by a single goal and City’s draw means that they remain two points behind us having played a game more.
In transfer news United have strengthened their defence with the signing of French International Estelle Cascarino from PSG on loan for the rest of the season, with an option to buy in summer, They have also signed Canadian defender Jayde Riviere. They have added depth to an already good squad clearly putting more pressure on their local rivals City for one of the three Champions League places.
We are back in action on Thursday Evening at Borehamwood when we play Aston Villa in the quarter-final of Continental Tyres Cup (the FA League Cup). It is a 19:45 kickoff time and will be broadcast on the FA Player. The weather forecast is for temperatures to have increased so there should be no chance of this match being postponed due to a frozen pitch.
The three other quarter-finals are being played on the Wednesday evening – Bristol City host Manchester City, Liverpool are at home to West Ham and Tottenham are visited by Chelsea.
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table
- Everton v Arsenal: how this referee treats the home and away team
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour