Darrell Allen rounds-up the weekend’s action which saw the shock result of the season at St. Andrews (11/1/22).
Above: Birmingham City celebrate their sensational win over Arsenal. Photo: Birmingham City Women.
Another depleted programme in the FAWSL saw just 50% of the weekend programme take place. Impetus was due to be at Kingsmeadow for the Friday night match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
Unfortunately that will have to wait for another day as it was postponed due to COVID alongside the games between West Ham United and Manchester United as well as the clash between Aston Villa and Everton.
That just left three games that were all played on Sunday, the bottom versus top clash between Birmingham City and Arsenal at St Andrews, Brighton and Hove Albion against Manchester City at The People’s Pension Stadium in Crawley and Reading entertained Leicester City.
Sky Sports re jigged the schedules due to the postponed games and decided to screen the Birmingham City versus Arsenal clash at St. Andrews as part of their on going commitment to women’s football and enhanced coverage this season. It was certainly a wise move as Birmingham produced the shock of the weekend by shattering Arsenal’s unbeaten start and getting their first win of the season themselves.
Libby Smith got the opener scoring a superb goal after a superb pass from Lucy Quinn she fired home after just three minutes. Veatriki Sarri doubled the Blues advantage shortly before half time and the home side were in dreamland.
The second half required all their effort and outstanding game management and they did so superbly well seeing out the game and preserving their two goal advantage to claim an historic three points. It’s a result that gets Birmingham City off the FAWSL basement as well as blowing the title race wide open.
In East Sussex, it was Manchester City who were the heroes of the day against Brighton and Hove Albion. After a goalless first half, they produced a rampant second half with six goals in 28 second half minutes.
It was an own goal in the 48th minute that opened the scoring after Lauren Hemp’s cross was turned in by Victoria Williams. Lauren Hemp got on the scoresheet herself two minutes later when she chipped the ball over Megan Walsh. The visitors made it four goals in seven minutes when Georgia Stanway buried the third in stunning fashion and Laura Coombs thundered the ball in from around 20 yards and after all that only 55 minutes had been played.
Two further goals were added when Matildas star Hayley Raso and Vicky Losada scored in the 73rd and 76th minutes respectively to make it a 6-0 win for City. It’s a result that sends a big statement as closes the Sky Blues in on a top three pursuit as we head into the second half of the season.
In the day’s final game it was a calmer affair as Reading claimed a hard fought three points beating bottom club Leicester City 1-0 with a super lob from Natasha Dowie enough to get the Royals all three points.
The win sees Reading on 16 points in sixth place and Leicester City go bottom following that win for Birmingham City over Arsenal.
The FAWSL continues this coming weekend with a full programme scheduled with Aston Villa vs Manchester City and Manchester United vs Birmingham City taking place on Saturday lunchtime and a quadruple bill on Sunday with Reading going to Arsenal, Emma Hayes’ Chelsea are at Everton, Leicester City host Brighton and Hove Albion and in the final game of the weekend, Tottenham Hotspur entertain West Ham United.