Birmingham City Women had a difficult afternoon of football against a top Arsenal side. Blues managed to hold their own against Arsenal for almost 60 minutes but in the end the North London’s class shone through for a deserved win for the Gunners.
Blues brought Destiney Toussaint into the starting eleven for the first time this season taking the place of the injured Sarah Mayling. Toussaint did well to settle in quickly and deal with some very swish passing out of defence from the Arsenal full backs and midfielders. The more minutes Des can get in games like this the more valuable she’ll become to the team.
Harriet Scott was her typical feisty self getting involved in all kinds of challenges and getting her body in front of the ball and defenders whenever she could. She was certainly looking like a contender for Player of the Match but Head Coach Carla Ward took the sensible option of subsituting her around the one hour mark to avoid her picking up a second yellow card and receiving a suspension.
On the other flank, Becks Holloway was involved heavily and I’m loving seeing her confidence come a long way since the start of the season. She’s made the left-back position her own.
Hannah Hampton was top draw! She made a great penalty save from Kim Little as well as several other saves from either distance or point-blank range. Hannah certainly played a very big part in keeping the scoreline down, but overall Blues will feel hard done by some harsh officiating especially the second penalty which defender Rachel Corsie couldn’t do anything about as it was so close.
Connie Scofield played just as well in her defensive duties as she did in finding good passes through to the front players. Jamie-Lee Napier mde good runs on the flanks and got the ball forwards as often as she could.
Up front Claudia Walker found it hard to get hold of the ball and was often very isolated but when she did get the ball she used it very effectively and she’ll be disappointed she didn’t get more chances.
At the back, Georgia Brougham did very little wrong all afternoon and saved Blues on more than one occassion. She partners very well with Rachel Corsie who Blues are obviously going to miss when she returns to the United States in February. However, I believe they’ve found a very good understudy in Gemma Lawley who considering how little game time she’s had this season stepped into the defence incredibly well when she came on in place of Harriet Scott.
In the end, Blues were undone by some moments of magic from Arsenal, especially the second goal from Roord from the edge of the area whose shot seemed to dip over Hampton into the Birmingham goal.
Blues will take heart from the performance against a side that will be there or thereabouts when it comes to the Women’s Super League title race. We go again on Wednesday against Leicester City in the Conti Cup so we have no choice but to Keep Right On!
Blues Women Fans PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Hannah Hampton – made some world class saves to keep Birmingham in the game.