Cardiff City Ladies: Chasing the Dream in South Wales

Impetus editor Ben Gilby speaks to Cardiff City Ladies’ media officer Lewis Rogers about the progress that the side from the Welsh capital are making in the third tier and their links to club football in Wales.

Our conversation began with Lewis explaining the journey that women’s football has taken at Cardiff City Ladies in recent times: “I think the best word would be ‘challenging.’ Many people obviously relate us with the Men’s team but the club were only ever affiliated for a couple of years with the men. That might surprise a few people but although the club has undergone a few name changes in the past, we still have been predominately independent and run on volunteers.”

Above: Cardiff City Ladies FC. Photo: Neil Wildy.

He then highlighted the huge growth that the side have undertaken recently: “It’s crazy to even think that Cardiff City, only two seasons ago, were making camp at the bottom of the National League South table but the changes that have come into the club have made us an incredibly competitive team. To then finish second last season shows the massive strides the staff and squad has taken. Even our FA Cup run a few seasons back was huge for the promotion of our club and since then it’s only ever grown. We’re an extremely ambitious club with a talented, young squad who are equally passionate about playing for Cardiff City Ladies. This stretches down into our junior sides who we instil a ‘hunger’ for trophies and a passion for playing football.”

Above: Grace Horrell in action for Cardiff City against Portsmouth. Photo: Neil Wildy.

The Cardiff City Ladies media officer then cast his eye over the FA Women’s National League Division One South. “As a division, it is so very strong. Over the last few years there have been huge strides by the FA to make all divisions in the Women’s game competitive and it’s definitely evident that this is the case. From top to bottom, there’s a belief that anyone can beat anyone. I hate to use that cliché but it’s so true in this case. More women are signing up to the ‘game’ and this is beginning to show as we go throughout all the tiers of the league.”

In terms of progress for this season, Lewis said: “It’s important that we progress. Last season we achieved an excellent second placed finish but the level of competition has only got better this year and we love to compete with the best players and the best teams. Who wouldn’t!? Unfortunately we couldn’t achieve a sizeable cup run this year but there is no shame losing to a fantastic Southampton side. Our focus needs to be pushing our younger players to achieve more and for our more senior players to take us to a new level. I can’t emphasise how excited we are about this current squad.”

Whilst as a Wales based club, Cardiff City Ladies play in the English women’s pyramid system, I asked Rogers to assess the standard of the Welsh women’s club game and to highlight the relationships that City have with Welsh club sides.

Above: Cerys Jones in full flight. Photo: Neil Wildy.

“It’s getting so exciting. I know many people in the Welsh League might think this may be a bit of lip service but it’s true. The level of football is so exciting and passionate and we are so proud of all these teams for the promotion of Welsh women’s football. We still own the record of winning the FAW Cup 11 times but we’re seeing so many fantastic sides get to the level that they may even overtake that longstanding record. It’s great to see that a lot of the sides in the Welsh Premier have excellent academy/junior systems and we have the pleasure of playing them on a weekly basis. We obviously have our own reasons for leaving the Welsh League system but we can honestly say that we’d love to play against many of these teams.”

I then turned to the huge growth in media coverage for the women’s game starting with last summer’s World Cup and how this has been reflected back in the Welsh capital, Rogers felt: “It broadcast to the world what many women’s football supporters have known for a number of years and that is the level of quality football being played. That’s all football supporters really want, quality football. Who doesn’t want to see a speedy winger ripping through the defence? Or a strong challenge from the centre back. I’d argue that the level of quality and interest from many of our young girls has always been there but finally women’s football is finally getting the recognition it rightfully deserves. The level of interest has been huge in all aspects but we can’t rely on the popularity of the World Cup to carry us through. There needs be a massive push from all clubs around the world from senior players to our junior teams to really make its mark.

Above: Corrie Williams in action for Cardiff City Ladies. Photo: Neil Wildy.

With things moving undoubtedly in a positive direction at Cardiff City Ladies, I asked Lewis Rogers what he feels the biggest challenges are that the club face at present. For him, “the number of high quality teams that have had to cease existing is absolutely abhorrent. I feel for the staff, the girls and, more importantly, the supporters in these situations and something needs to be done about it but we get to the stage where young girls no longer have an option to play for their local team. That would be a travesty. As for our club specifically, only we (the staff and players) can deal with the challenges on the pitch and I hope that continues as it has done so in the last few years. Progression is a massive factor. Sadly, we live in an era of football that states that if you’re not going forwards then you’re stepping back. It’s vital that progression is at the forefront of everybody’s minds when making decisions. I’m so positive that the league and the FA have this in mind.”

Linked to this, I asked Lewis if he thought that with more money gradually trickling into women’s football from the richer men’s club parent sides, whether the era of smaller clubs reaching the top levels was over. He feels: “I mentioned that finances previously and it will always be a stumbling block for most. There is no doubt that many will follow the pattern of ‘to make money you have to spend money’ and it’s clear why. We’ve heard of many clubs like Yeovil that have been threatened with administration when reaching the top league and it’s hard to match the ‘big powers’ but many sides are gunning for the ‘top teams’ and I fully believe that will happen in the not too distant future. Fortunately the staff at Yeovil have done an amazing job of rebuilding that team and full credit goes to them.”

Finally, we looked ahead to the future and where the Cardiff City Ladies media officer thought his club and the game in general could be: More generally, improvements have been made year on year and, hopefully, this is something that will continue. Many coaches and players will tell you that they hope that in the future that many girls will be wearing club shirts with their favourite Women’s players on the back. We need to set the standard high. As for Cardiff City Ladies, we would love to be a club that promotes our most talented Welsh footballers and provides players that affords the opportunity to play for the National Team and go onto major tournaments with success.”

Above: More success for Cardiff City! Photo: Neil Wildy.

W League Round-up

Week eleven of the Westfield W League in Australia was full of shocks and upsets as the two sides still looking for their first victories finally got off the mark in some style…and impacted on the title race in the process. Impetus editor Ben Gilby reports.

The biggest shock result of this W League season is still causing tremors three days after Adelaide United claimed their first win of the campaign with a clinical victory over championship chasing Western Sydney Wanderers.

The South Australians were on top of the game from the off at the Marden Sports Complex as they imposed a pleasing on the eye passing game on the Parramatta based side who were playing their game in hand on leaders Melbourne City.

With just six minutes gone, Emily Condon’s effort came crashing back off the bar. Eleven minutes later, Alex Huynh lost possession and Adelaide’s Chelsie Dawber hit an effort in from 20 yards.

Then, with half-time approaching, the Lady Reds deservedly hit two goals in six minutes. Firstly, from Condon’s inch perfect cross, Mallory Weber tapped home. Then, into first half stoppage time, Weber ran onto Charlotte Grant’s long ball to dispatch it into the net perfectly.

Matters could have got even worse for Wanderers at the start of the second half when Weber was denied her hat-trick by an offside call, and Huynh atoned for her earlier error by denying Dawber.

It took Western Sydney until the 81st minute to gain a realistic chance when Kristen Hamilton was pulled down in the box by Matilda McNamara. Her penalty effort flew dreadfully over the bar. With a minute of normal time left, the visitors finally got on the board when American Sam Staab headed in Ella Mastrantonio’s cross.

Three minutes into stoppage time there was a glimmer of hope for Wanderers when Kyra Cooney-Cross’ ball in was headed into her own net by Lais Dos Santos Araujo. Two minutes later, the visitors could have levelled matters but captain Amy Harrison’s volley failed to connect. It would have been cruel on Adelaide if it had. It was just a shame that only 569 spectators were present to witness their famous win.

For Western Sydney Wanderers, they are now six points behind leaders Melbourne City having both played the same number of games. Their clash at Marconi Stadium on 20th February now offers the Wanderers a final opportunity to have any hope of denying the Victorian side the minor premiership.

Melbourne Victory stepped up their finals hopes with a comfortable 3-0 win over Canberra United at Lakeside Stadium in front of 562 spectators.

A two goal burst just after the half hour mark set up Melbourne’s fourth successive win when Darian Jenkins’ cross was met by Melina Ayres. Seven minutes later, the home side doubled their lead when Angela Beard’s high ball in was laid off beautifully by Natasha Dowie for Ayres to score again.

It was Dowie who scored the third with thirteen minutes left when she nodded home despite a large number of Canberra defenders ahead of her – any of whom could have cleared the danger.

Whilst Melbourne now have strong hopes of contesting the final four, the capital city side have now gone a staggering five games without scoring. This for a side who, earlier in the campaign were in the top four themselves.

Last year’s beaten Grand Finalists Perth Glory earned their first win of the 2019/20 season at their ninth attempt with a vital 4-2 success away to fellow strugglers Newcastle Jets in front of 828 spectators at the McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Glory built on their positive performance against championship chasing Western Sydney Wanderers last week and, whilst it’s too late to aim at a finals campaign this time round, the Western Australians will be going all out in the final quarter of this season to put distance between themselves and the bottom three.

Perth will also be delighted by the performance of 16 year-old starlet Hana Lowry who scored a superb goal to celebrate her first start. On 22 minutes, she sent a bullet of a header arrowing into the net from Crystal Thomas’ corner.

Glory doubled their lead just before the break when Thomas was pushed over in the box by Newcastle’s Tessa Tamplin and Morgan Andrews dispatched the resulting penalty as the visitors went in 2-0 up at the break.

Newcastle rallied briefly at the start of the second half, but it was Perth who were on the scoresheet next on 65 minutes. Morgan Andrews hit a scorcher from outside of the area which came crashing back off the crossbar and fell at the feet of Caitlin Doeglas who couldn’t miss.

The home side got on the scoresheet nine minutes later, although it had a slight piece of fortune about it when Tessa Tamplin’s attempted cross from well outside the box fly over Perth keeper Morgan Aquino’s head and straight in.

However, what Tamplin could do in the freak strike stakes, Perth’s Spanish star Celia could also do as she curled in a beautiful lofted goal from over 20 yards just three minutes later as the Western Australians re-established their three goal lead.

There was still time for a further goal as Newcastle grabbed a second. Renee Poutney played in Lauren Allen beautifully. Allen took the ball on and fired high into the net from an acute angle, but it was Perth Glory who took the honours with a 4-2 win –  a result which sends Newcastle Jets crashing three places to the bottom of the table.

Melbourne City, Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar all had the bye this week.

There is now a two week break in the W League as the Matildas embark on their Olympic qualifying campaign. The next round of fixtures from 13th-16th February see some huge matches with the top four taking on each other. Firstly, Western Sydney Wanderers’ season is on the line when they take on cross city rivals Sydney FC in a second v third clash and then leaders Melbourne City take on in form rivals Melbourne Victory. Don’t miss our round-up of those matches and the other two clashes here on Impetus next Tuesday.

Latest Westfield W League Table:

 PWDLFAPtsPD
Melbourne City981016325+ 13
Western Sydney Wanderers9612211119+ 10
Sydney FC961216819+ 8
Melbourne Victory952214917+ 5
Brisbane Roar9423141214+ 2
Canberra United10316102310– 13
Perth Glory912611185– 7
Adelaide United91179184– 9
Newcastle Jets91179184– 9

Teams in bold qualify for the Finals play-offs.

Sion Swifts: Strabane side beating the odds and aiming for the Champions League

Impetus editor Ben Gilby spoke to Sion Swifts’ manager Tony McGinley who tells the fascinating story of a women’s team based in Strabane who are becoming one of the top women’s sides in Northern Ireland.

Whilst Linfield may have won the last four Northern Ireland Women’s Premiership titles, there is side eighty odd miles away who may not have the same name recognition, but are becoming a major challenger to the Blues position as the top side in the nation.

Tony McGinlay, the manager of Sion Swifts tells us all about the club’s development: “The journey Sion Swift’s Ladies and Girls has been on is an exciting one. In 2010 we created a senior team and started from the bottom to create the first girls team in the local area. In 2014 we re-established our youth section of the club and that’s when it all started to pick up as our ladies team were playing top flight football and it was time to focus on the youth. We were slowly getting more and more girls into the sport and going from one youth team to two youth teams and so on. It was difficult as there are not any girls’ leagues in this area so we started playing in boys leagues until we decided a few years ago to travel to Belfast (over eighty miles away) to play in the South Belfast Youth League. We now are able to offer girls from six years old to senior ladies the chance to play the sport they love in a fun environment. We have recently formed a new committee, brought in more youth coaches and are doing everything we can to get girls football.”

For McGinley, the development of the game in Northern Ireland is incredibly exciting:

Above: Jumping for joy! Sion Swifts have come a long way in a short time. Photo supplied by: Tony McGinlay.

“Since the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) have taken over the women’s game, it has really taken women’s football to the next level and it is now starting to get more recognition. People are starting to realise the talent in this women’s league is outstanding and it goes to show as players have left from our league to play for professional clubs. However, we need to get more clubs on the same level. If we can get the Premiership from six teams to ten teams but have every game competitive and more of a contest then I think each team will grow stronger and then when it comes to things like the champions League more clubs from Northern Ireland will be ready for it.”

Sion Swifts have had to overcome particular major challenges in order to reach their present status, and McGinlay reiterates the particular issue of youth football in the Strabane area: “There really aren’t many girls teams around here, so we would just play a friendly here and there to give our girls a chance to play against girls. Our youths play in the South Belfast Boys Youth League. It’s very competitive so our girls just need to keep their heads up and battle on. I would be hopeful in a few years’ time there would be an all girl’s league in this area that’s competitive across all age groups and different levels of abilities so we can take girls football in this area to the next level.”

I asked Tony if the fact that Sion Swifts are not connected to a men’s Northern Ireland Premiership side is another added challenge. For him, “it doesn’t really worry us as we just put all our focus on our Ladies and Girls and do what’s best for them and the club and if we had a men’s team in the Premiership then we would just do the same thing we are doing now as its working. Having said that, it would give us a bigger profile to have a Premiership men’s side as a parent club.”

The World Cup was a factor in developing the recognition of the work that Sion Swifts are doing for girl’s and women’s football in the Strabane area: “It gave us a better image definitely through social media as there was fantastic coverage and it boosted our clubs image. We now would have just over a hundred girls from the girls/women’s side and it’s incredible to have such numbers and we hope to continue to grow.”

Above: Sion Swifts squad – the pride of Strabane. Photo supplied by: Tony McGinlay.

Our conversation concluded by looking to the future for both Sion Swifts and the wider women’s game in Northern Ireland. For McGinlay, “At Sion Swifts, we will just continue to try and improve our game and the women’s game by taking our players to the next level, filter the youth into the senior squad and slowly transform them into young ladies and most of all have fun whilst doing it. Things are getting better at the minute. It’s a shame there are only six teams good enough for the Premiership this year but I would like to think in five years’ time the competition will get stronger and we can make the Premiership bigger. We hope to be playing Champions League football within the next five years as it would be such an achievement for our wee town!”

Sion Swifts qualifying for the UEFA Women’s Champions League is very much an achievable aim. Keep an eye on this club, it’s a remarkable story and one which is only going to get better.

W League Round-Up

It is week ten of the Westfield W League in Australia, and Impetus editor Ben Gilby updates us on the title race as the two Sydney based sides continue to cling to Melbourne City’s coat tails.

Melbourne City went six points clear at the top of the W League after continuing their unbeaten run this season with a routine 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.

Despite their sparkling football and incredible run of results this season, City have not been rewarded by large numbers of spectators coming through the gates. Therefore a crowd of 1,989 for the match played directly before the men’s A League clash between the same two sides is a step in the right direction.

That City would record an eighth successive win was not really in doubt as they started strongly ahead of Milica Mijatovic’s seventh minute bullet header from Kyah Simon’s cross.

Despite this strong start and domination, Melbourne City could not add to their tally in the remainder of the half. Newcastle had escaped and they now needed to make the most of the let off in the second half.

Typically though, the side from Victoria’s state capital upped the ante to erase any hopes the Jets may have had when Emily van Egmond crashed in a twenty yard effort.

Both sides had a further chance – Clare Emslie had a free kick pushed away by Claire Coelho in the Jets goal, and the visitors’ Jenna Kingsley was denied after an impressive counter attack move.

Western Sydney Wanderers, who have a game in hand on the league leaders, are up to second after a 3-1 win over winless Perth Glory side that was far tougher than the score line suggests.

An impressive crowd of 3,024 gathered at Parramatta’s Bankwest Stadium were wowed after just three minutes when Courtney Nevin’s cross was headed in by Caitlin Cooper at the back post. It could have been 2-0 shortly afterwards, but Perth keeper Eliza Campbell did well to deny Courtnee Vine, although she paid the price for her effort by having to leave the field due to concussion fears after colliding with Vine in mid-save.

After the break, the Western Australians began to produce some of their best football of the season and they found an equaliser eight minutes in the second half when Caitlin Doeglas forced the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.

The Black and Reds showed their title credentials in spades by stepping up to the plate at the first sign of danger. Within three minutes they restored their lead. Tash Rigby’s attempted clearance was jumped on by Courtnee Vine who didn’t need to be asked twice to steer the ball in.

With four minutes left, Perth’s brave resistance was finally ended when the home side chalked up their third, but it was cruel on the Glory as Courtney Nevin’s cross deflected off the visitors’ Isabella Warhead and wrong footed sub keeper Morgan Aquino. To rub salt into their wounds, Perth had a goal ruled out in the dying moments when Ari Romero was called offside.

Third placed Sydney FC saw their minor premier hopes take a setback as they failed to gain more than a single point at home to top four challengers Brisbane Roar.

On a wet Thursday night, 1,397 spectators turned out at Leichardt Oval to watch what would later be revealed as Sydney and Matildas legend Caitlin Foord’s last game in a Sky Blue shirt before her move to an as yet unnamed club overseas.

Either side controlled the opposite ends of the first half with Brisbane starting strongly. It was the Roar who created the first opportunity of the night when Rylee Baisden’s shot was hit straight at Sky Blues keeper Aubrey Bledsoe. As the match travelled towards the break, Sydney had two half chances, but the efforts of Caitlin Foord and W League top scorer Remy Siemsen went wide and over the bar respectively.

The second half was pretty scrappy and only a small number of opportunities presented themselves but Brisbane’s Allira Toby and Tameka Yallop failed to take advantage as did Baisden who conjured up two further chances for the home side.

Melbourne Victory renewed their top four chance with a third straight win to closing the gap on fourth placed Brisbane Roar after a comprehensive 3-0 win at winless Adelaide United in front of 692 spectators at the Marden Sports Complex.

Victory were on the front foot from the start with Laura Brock, Natasha Dowie and Amy Jackson all missing chances in the opening fifteen minutes.

However, the pressure finally told on seventeen minutes as Jackson laid the ball back for former Lionesses star Natasha Dowie to turn it in.

Melbourne had two further opportunities before the break but Dowie hit a free-kick over the bar and Angela Beard sent a header over.

Adelaide finally conjured an opportunity after 56 minutes when Isabel Hodgson lashed an effort that was far too high. Any hope that the South Australians had of gaining anything from the game evaporated on 76 minutes when Rosie Sutton turned Jenna McCormick’s pass into the net.

Five minutes later, Victory confirmed the three points when Darian Jenkins nodded back to Natasha Dowie to volley home.

Latest Westfield W League Table:

 PWDLFAPtsPD
Melbourne City981016325+ 13
Western Sydney Wanderers861119819+ 11
Sydney FC961216819+ 8
Brisbane Roar9423141214+ 2
Melbourne Victory842211914+ 2
Canberra United9315102010– 10
Newcastle Jets81167144– 7
Perth Glory80267162– 9
Adelaide United80176161– 10

Teams in bold qualify for the Finals play-offs.

Follow us on Twitter – @impetus49255112 and on Instagram at https://instagram.com/impetuswomensfootball.

Ben Gilby is the editor of Impetus and has over fifteen years experience in voluntary media officer roles within the sports of Football and Rugby Union, has appeared on BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Radio Norfolk sports shows several times and published the book ‘The Game: Tales From A Season Travelling Around The Rugby Union Grounds of South-East England’.

In My View

From the tweets of Daisy Wildsmith, the Impetus contributor offers her opinion on Manchester City’s 2-0 win at Birmingham City yesterday afternoon.

Birmingham kept everybody waiting in the tunnel, their little mascots freezing. Then only Staniforth ran onto the pitch, the rest waltz on all lacklustre, they faff for ages on the pitch, get into position all lackadaisical….and they concede within the first 34 seconds…as City strung together thirteen uninterrupted passes from kick-off to that goal.

In the early stages, you could clearly see the superiority of City compared to Birmingham. They were consistently protecting and intercepting possession with their bodies, something Birmingham were not doing. Having said that, for the hosts, Staniforth was shining in the early stages.

Fair play though, after 20 minutes, Birmingham found their flow and got City ball chasing. As the rest of the half developed, they fully came alive. If only they had started the game with that sort of momentum. In the end, a second City goal finally killed Birmingham off and they looked tired compared to City. Another plus for the home side was keeper Hannah Hampton doing what she does so well, showing that she is a senior England goalie of the future.

Follow us on Twitter – @impetus49255112 and on Instagram at https://instagram.com/impetuswomensfootball.

Daisy Wildsmith is a regular contributor to Impetus and is a women’s football supporter from the West Midlands.

Outstanding Blues Out Gun Arsenal

Arsenal 1–4 Chelsea

By Ben Gilby

A performance of sheer class from Chelsea in the opening twenty-five minutes set up a hugely deserved thrashing of Arsenal in front of a sell-out crowd at Boreham Wood FC.

The Blues were absolutely unplayable at times as they produced a display that, quite simply, was stunning in its quality, tempo and sheer skill. The standard of the goals that they scored in the period was equally as impressive.

Within three minutes the visitors fashioned their opening opportunity when Ji found Jonna Andersson, but the Swede’s ball in was too high for Beth England in the box. A minute later, the same fate befell Sophie Ingle’s cross towards the same Blues and Lionesses attacker.

Six minutes in and Chelsea fashioned another chance when Erin Cuthbert, mindful of the sun in the eyes of Arsenal keeper Manuela Zinzberger, played in another high ball which was claimed by the Austrian international over the head of Sam Kerr. Cuthbert played in another chance for England, but the home defence cleared.

However, every time Arsenal cleared, the ball came straight back at them, and on nine minutes they could hold out no longer. Louise Quinn gave Beth England way too much room, and the Blues ace cut inside and curled in an unstoppable shot into the far corner past the despairing dive of Zinzberger.

Just four minutes later it was 2-0 as a glorious ball in from Norweigan maestro Guru Reiten was nodded in by Matildas star Sam Kerr for her first FA WSL goal.

It took Arsenal eighteen minutes to fashion their first serious chance when Jordan Nobbs angled a pass to Katie McCabe, with the Republic of Ireland international having her effort blocked by Ann-Katrin Berger’s legs. There was more frustration for the home support shortly afterwards when the they claimed Magda Eriksson handled in the box, but referee Abigail Byrne turned down their penalty claims.

From here, Chelsea rampaged forward once more and earned a free kick on the right, which was headed out towards Sophie Ingle outside the area on the left hand side and the Welsh international arrowed home a half volley into the top right hand corner of the net. 3-0 Chelsea and Arsenal were being made to look more like relegation candidates rather than championship winners with just nineteen minutes on the clock.

On thirty-two minutes, it really should have been 4-0 as Arsenal struggled to clear another Chelsea free-kick on the right, and Sam Kerr was through one on one with Zinzberger, but mis-hit her shot wide.

One of the other highlights of the opening stanza was the ongoing battle between Erin Cuthbert and Katie McCabe, with the Scot largely having the better of the exchanges, which tended to end with a free kick going her way.

As the half entered its last ten minutes, the intensity dropped and Arsenal fashioned a couple of half chances as Kim Little held off Guru Reiten in midfield to earn a corner, but Ji comfortably cleared the danger. Just before the break another Cuthbert/McCabe clash ended with a free-kick going Arsenal’s way just outside the box in a central position but Kim Little’s attempt going straight into Berger’s arms. 3-0 to Emma Hayes’ charges at the break.

If Arsenal were to have any chance of getting back into this match, they needed a fast start to the second half and up the tempo. They achieved neither as Chelsea created the first chance after Eriksson was taken out in the centre circle and the ball found its way to Ji whose effort from the edge of the box went over.

In a bid to shake things up, Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro brought on Lisa Evans and Beth Mead (for Louise Quinn and Jordan Nobbs respectively).

Despite this, it continued to be Chelsea who created the best openings. Millie Bright played through a magnificent ball which took out the whole of the Arsenal defence for Sam Kerr to run onto, but Leah Williamson managed to get back in time to block. Shortly afterwards the Western Australian was found by Ji, but was denied again.

Arsenal blew two chances in quick succession as the half entered its mid-point. First, McCabe found Miedema down the left. Her fellow Dutch international Danielle van der Donk waited in the middle, but Miedema went alone and hit an effort wide. A minute later, Kim Little ran down the right and put in a cross which Berger snaffled easily when, once more van der Donk was available for a pass.

Chelsea ensured that the home side would rue those two missed chances when a fantastic team move from the Blues involving swift passing which Arsenal couldn’t deal with ended with Guro Reiten’s bullet header arrowing home for 4-0.

The home side began to press as Evans and Mead began to show their influence on the game, albeit with the outcome decided. On 74 minutes the home side got a goal back when McCabe’s ball in from the left was met by Beth Mead’s header which squirmed in off of the unfortunate Ann-Katrin Berger.

Arsenal had a fair amount of possession in the closing stages, but Chelsea comfortably dealt with it. Beth Mead had two further chances. First, she cut past attempted tackles from Cuthbert and Reiten before hitting wide and at the death, her effort was comfortably saved by Berger after being played in down the right by Kim Little.

Chelsea’s victory and the scoreline sent out a warning that they are ready to regain the Super League title. The Blues may stay in third place, but are only a single point away from Arsenal and Manchester City now, with a game in hand at Everton also up their sleeve.

Teams:

ARSENAL: Zinzberger, Schnaderbeck, Williamson, Quinn, Walti, Roord, Little, Nobbs, Van der Donk, McCabe, Miedema. Subs: Peyroud-Magnin (GK), Evans (for Quinn), Maier, Filis, Grant, Mead (for Nobbs).

Scorer: Mead 74

CHELSEA: Berger, Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson, Ingle, Cuthbert, Reiten, Ji, England, Kerr. Subs: Telford (GK), Blundell (for Reiten), Cooper, Napier, Bachmann, Spence (for Kerr), Carter.

Goals: England 10, Kerr 13, Ingle 20, Reiten 68.

Referee: Abigail Byrne.

Attendance: 4,000

Burnley Women: Large Leaps In Lancashire Part II

In the continuation of the feature started last week (click on this link to read Part I: https://impetus885775742.wordpress.com/2020/01/09/burnley-women-large-leaps-in-lancashire/), we find out more about life in the FA Women’s Northern Premier, and the club’s links with the men’s side which is helping to increase both fan numbers and sponsors. Thanks to Sinead Kennedy-Peers of Burnley FC Women for her assistance with compiling this feature.

Above: Burnley Women FC. Photo supplied by: Sinead Kennedy-Peers.

Despite the marvellous start to the season for the Clarets, the club are under no illusions about the challenges they face as the campaign develops: Their aim, ultimately is just to stay up this season as they aim to build on their positive start in the coming seasons. Step three football is tough league, so there’s a long journey ahead. Burnley have been on a rapid rise to get to this level, and at the beginning of this season saw them practically a whole new squad which takes time to embed at the club.

Whilst many clubs have reported a huge boost in terms of players and interest on the back of the World Cup, for Burnley that interest has been impressively consistent over the past few years. The club have reported that the increased interest in their patch has been down to the recent success of the first team as it means there is now a higher-level exit route. This success also helped Burnley attract a higher number and better-quality player to the club. At the beginning of this season eighty players attended trials for the club across two sessions. Having a consistent home ground relationship at Padiham FC has also helped to attract supporters to games and offers some consistency in order to increase numbers and fan engagement. The final key to the raising of women’s football’s profile at Burnley is the close relationship with the parent men’s club at Turf Moor, which sees the women sharing content on the Burnley FC platforms and social channels too which helps spread the word about Burnley FC Women and encourage fans of the male game to follow the women too.

An example of this growing relationship with the men’s side at Turf Moor came when two Burnley FC Women players joined Burnley FC Manager Sean Dyche and two first team men’s players for a BBC and Premier League initiative called Super Movers. The four players featured in a Super Movers film which showcased a series of matchday warm ups for children to try, with the aim to get them active so they are ready to learn in the classroom. The video was launched with a local whole school assembly where over 200 pupils took to the school hall floor to try out the Super Moves, before a surprise appearance and question and answer session with the four players and was shared across all our club platforms, alongside Premier League, Premier League Communities and BBC Education platforms. The Women’s club also tied in with Burnley FC, to align the two clubs, to launch the new 2019/20 season Burnley FC kit. Burnley FC Women striker Sarah Greenhalgh joined the men’s players for a photoshoot to release the new kit, with the images featured on channels across both clubs and were shared with local press.

Above: Burnley Women’s Sarah Greenhalgh taking part in the club’s kit launch ahead of the 2019/20 season in a joint venture with the men’s team.
Photo supplied by: Sinead Kennedy-Peers.

Income from sponsorship is something that women’s football really needs, and this is something that Burnley Women have placed high importance on. This season, Burnley announced that Michael Bailey Associates Plc will continue as principal kit sponsor for the season,” states Kennedy-Peers. Additionally, the international recruitment company, founded by Burnley FC Chairman Mike Garlick, has sponsored the Burnley FC Women junior and senior team’s kits since 2018. Their logo features on the kit of all 149 Burnley FC Women players, from the under tens team through to the first team. This partnership also further highlighted Burnley FC’s commitment to women’s football.  One further crucial relationship is the one with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), which has seen the seat of learning becoming Burnley FC Women’s first official shirt sleeve sponsor.

Looking ahead to the future, Burnley Women hope to continue to benefit from the increased exposure of the women’s game and continue to be playing at a high level in the women’s football pyramid. The club are well aware though that more hard work will be needed to achieve that as the women’s game is no different to the men’s in so far that money has a big impact and certainly an attractive club badge can be beneficial.

W League Round-Up

Impetus editor Ben Gilby reports on the ninth weekend of action in the Westfield W League which saw five of the nine teams in action and a shock change at the top of the table.

Previously unbeaten championship challengers Western Sydney Wanderers suffered a shock 4-0 thumping at home to Brisbane Roar in front of 1,186 at Marconi Park.

The Wanderers, returning after a bye last week were without their star striker Lynn Williams who was away with the United States side, but regardless the plaudits need to be given to the Queenslanders who started on the front foot and never stepped off the gas throughout.

Chloe Raso and Clare Polkinghorne had great chances in the opening period with Western Sydney relieved that their keeper Abby Smith was in top form. Rylee Baisden was also denied by home defender Sam Staab’s block tackle as Roar racked up fourteen efforts at goal in the first half alone. Kristen Hamilton had a rare chance for Wanderers but Mackenzie Arnold in the Brisbane goal denied her.

The second half saw the Queenslanders keep up the momentum and an incredible period saw them score four times in just eighteen minutes. First, Elise Kellond-Knight played a delightful ball through to fellow Matilda Hayley Raso whose shot came back off the post and into the path of Allira Toby who couldn’t miss. Ten minutes later, Brisbane doubled their lead when Raso pounced on Alex Huynh’s mistake and arrowed a shot straight in from twenty yards.

It was 3-0 when eighteen year-old Leah Davidson hit her first ever W League goal after being played in by a perfect pass from Hollie Arnold. Allira Toby completed the rout on seventy minutes. It could have got even worse for Western Sydney Wanderers as Hayley Raso had two further opportunities. How the Wanderers respond to this setback will be the key to their title hopes, and they have now stumbled to third in the table.

Melbourne City took advantage of Wanderers’ stumble to go six points clear at the top of the table – albeit having played a game more – with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Canberra United at ABD Stadium in Broadmeadows.

A larger than average crowd of 747 were treated to a Sky Blue command performance which extended their incredible run to seven straight wins.

It took just seven minutes for City to get on the board and it was Kyah Simon, recalled to the Australian national side for their Olympic qualifying squad a few days previously, on the target. She cleared the attentions of Olivia Price and rocketed the ball in from 20 yards.

Steph Catley and the prolific Milica Mijatovic missed opportunities before City doubled their lead when Canberra keeper Sham Khamis felled Sky Blues striker Claire Emslie in the box. The Scot dispatched the spot kick herself.

It was 3-0 just before the break in a virtual carbon copy of the events that brought about the second goal as Khamis again brought down Emslie. This time, Kyah Simon’s penalty was successful.

Emily van Egmond completed the rout after seventy-six minutes when she was played in by Rhali Dobson and then hit a spectacular thirty yard effort. It was a comfortable win for City who have taken a major step towards clinching the minor premiership.

Four days later, Canberra United were back in action, this time at home to Sydney FC, and sadly for the capital city side, they suffered a second consecutive four goal defeat.

The game was originally scheduled to be played on 5th January, but was cancelled due to the poor air quality over Canberra due to the catastrophic bush fires. The knock on effect of this was that whilst the home side were playing for the second time in four days, this was Sydney’s first game of 2020, and extra freshness showed.

Frustratingly for the home crowd of 1,473, Sydney dominated from the start. Sofia Huerta and Chloe Logarzo went close before W League top scorer Remy Siemsen met Teresa Polias’ free kick with a stunning header after eighteen minutes.

Elise Thorsnes had a chance to level shortly afterwards, but Sydney keeper Aubrey Bledsoe kept her effort out. The home side paid the price for the miss just after the half hour mark when Logarzo and Siemsen combined to play in Veronica Latkso to fire in her first strike of the season – and her first goal in a sky blue shirt since moving from Adelaide United.

The outcome of the game was decided on forty-nine minutes and it was a glorious move. Caitlin Foord weaved her way down the right and her ball was knocked home by the back heel of fellow Matilda Chloe Logarzo.

The fourth arrived with twenty minutes to go when another ball from the right from Foord was smashed home by Sofia Huerta.

Latest Westfield W League Table:

 PWDLFAPtsPD
Melbourne City871014322+ 11
Sydney FC860216818+ 8
Western Sydney Wanderers751116716+ 9
Brisbane Roar8413141213+ 2
Melbourne Victory73228911– 1
Canberra United9315102010– 10
Newcastle Jets71157124– 5
Perth Glory70256132– 7
Adelaide United70166131– 7

Teams in bold qualify for the Finals play-offs.

Six Goal Blues Rock The Robins

Ben Gilby tells the story of yesterday’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League game between Chelsea and Bristol City from Kingsmeadow from his photos (and a few words!) from the game.

Chelsea 6-1 Bristol City

It was a fast start at Kingsmeadow by Chelsea who were looking to mark Emma Hayes’ 200 game in charge by defeating a Bristol City side who shocked Manchester United at the Leigh Sports Village last time out.

The first fifteen minutes saw the Blues rack up seventy-five per-cent possession and create numerous opportunities to open the scoring, with the midfield probing of Ji So-Yun and Erin Cuthbert particularly impressive:

It was a classic case of rueing a host of missed opportunities (Chelsea could easily have been three or four clear in the opening ten minutes) as, from their very first attack, Bristol City’s Ebony Salmon (second picture below) smashed home, which was responded to with enthusiastic celebrations (immediate photo below).

Chelsea responded well to the shock City goal and steadied the ship and hit back in some style – firstly through Beth England (above). The Lioness is in red hot form for the Blues at the present time, and could have added to her strike shortly afterwards (see reaction to it below).

However, once Chelsea hit the net, they cut through the Bristol City defence at will and scored a further three times before the break with Hannah Blundell, Jess Carter (above) and Ji So-Yun all on target.

The second half saw the arrival of Sam Kerr for Drew Spence, which was shortly followed by Ji adding the fifth. City keeper Sophie Baggaley produced several fine saves (see above) to prevent the home side adding to their tally before England grabbed her second and Chelsea’s sixth with eight minutes left.

A link to the full gallery of Ben’s 50+ photos from the game can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=168732101198586&set=pcb.168734291198367&type=3&theater

Teams:

CHELSEA: Berger, Blundell, Bright, Carter, Andersson, Spence, Ingle, Cuthbert, Ji, Reiten, England. Subs: Kerr (for Spence), Bachmann (for Cuthbert), Napier (for Ji), Engman, Cooper.

Goals: England 28, 82, Blundell 40, Carter 45, Ji 45, 50.

BRISTOL CITY: Baggaley, Matthews, Dykes, Evans, Sargeant, Daniels, Brown, Chance, Pattinson, Hughes, Salmon. Subs: Robinson (for Dykes), van der Linden, Wellings, Cummings, Collis, Sandford, Jones.

Goal: Salmon 15.

Referee: Emily Heaslip

Attendance: 2,866

Burnley Women – Large Leaps in Lancashire

Impetus editor Ben Gilby writes about the rapid strides that the Lancashire side are taking. In this first part of the piece, we learn about the different numbers of teams Burnley have and their progress since 2017. With thanks to Sinead Kennedy-Peers of Burnley FC Women for her assistance with compiling this feature.

Massive strides have been made in women’s football in recent years. Burnley FC Ladies, as it was known pre-2016, was very much run at a grassroots level for many years and the first team were in tier five of the women’s football pyramid.

Above: There’s been plenty to smile about in recent times for Burnley Women. Photo via: Sinead Kennedy-Peers

In 2017, Burnley FC in the Community took over operation of Burnley FC Women, providing elite training and development to players from under six to the senior women’s teams. Forming part of the organisation’s Female Football programme, qualified sports coaches now provide a professional environment for players to engage in the beautiful game and offers opportunities for females to learn and develop.

Burnley FC Women junior sides compete in various leagues across the Lancashire including the North Valley and Burnley Unity League. With competitive teams from under tens to open age, there are plenty of opportunities for youngsters to take part in regular, competitive football every week. The club has seen significant changes off the pitch too. In May 2018, Burnley FC Ladies was officially rebranded to Burnley FC Women, with the new name, logo and website designed to highlight Burnley FC in the Community’s commitment and vision for female football at the club. The first team also officially host all their home games at Padiham FC’s Ruby Civil Arena.

Over the past two seasons, the Burnley FC Women First Team have secured consecutive league titles and now compete in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, the third tier in the women’s football pyramid and the highest level they have ever competed at. At the end of December 2019 Burnley sat second in the table, six points adrift of leaders Sunderland with a game in hand over the Wearside side.

Above: Calm on the ball – Burnley Women mounting another attack. Photo via: Sinead Kennedy-Peers

This excellent recent progress up the league system has continued this season as the side have established themselves in the upper echelons of the National League Northern Premier Division. The club are more than aware that the standard in the National League Northern Premier Division this year is extremely high allied by the fact that in recent times and this year in particular; financial investment has played a part in increasing the quality of players at the level. Higher quality players have been attracted to the league, making games challenging. There are a number of teams at this level such as Nottingham Forest Women, Huddersfield Town Women, Sunderland AFC Ladies, Derby County LFC and Fylde Women FC – all have extremely strong squads with very talented individuals who are established at this level.

Whilst the recent past has been full of exciting times, the future could be brighter still. exciting things. It is clear that Burnley FC Women have strengthened under the guidance, tactical prowess and stewardship of Manager Matt Bee, who arrived in 2016 when Burnley FC in the Community took over operation. Bee has assisted the team to back to back promotions having taken the team from the Regional League Premier Division where they languished for over a decade, to the current 2nd position in the FA WNL Premier North. In November, Matt also received confirmation of his acceptance on the UEFA A License course starting in January, something which is only going to benefit the Burnley FC Women squad even further.

Also, in 2016 a Burnley FC Women committee was introduced to oversee operations and cover strategic areas for the club including Football, Finance, Marketing, Administration and Safeguarding. The committee govern all aspects of Burnley FC Women from the under six age group through to the first team. The infrastructure of the committee is key to driving the club forward, making the appropriate investment and decisions to ensure that Burnley FC Women continues to be successful and achieve great things over the years to come.”  

In the concluding part of this feature next week: We find out more about life in the FA Women’s Northern Premier, and the club’s links with the men’s side which is helping to increase both fan numbers and sponsors.