England Hits Stunner As Top Two Share Spoils

Manchester City 3-3 Chelsea

by Ben Gilby.

The Barclays Women’s Super League top two could not be separated after a dramatic afternoon at the Academy Stadium.

Chelsea could have gone ahead after just twenty-five seconds when Sam Kerr’s effort came off of Ellie Roebuck’s legs and Beth England couldn’t push the follow up over the line.

Ellen White then fashioned City’s first chance after being played in by Keira Walsh, but the visitors cleared for a corner.

Chelsea had another opportunity when Jonna Andersson combined with Beth England who played in Kerr but Roebuck denied the Western Australian star.

Canadian star Janine Beckie then played in an excellent cross but Caroline Weir sent her first time volley over the bar. The Scottish international missed another chance when her header from Jill Scott’s free-kick, following a foul by Magda Eriksson, flicked wide.

The WSL’s only unbeaten side had two great chances within two minutes when Sophie Ingle combined with Guro Reiten before Millie Bright rampaged through the middle and found England. Only a diving save from Roebuck denied the Chelsea hot-shot. From the resulting corner, the City defence flapped with Demi Stokes missing her kick, almost allowing Erin Cuthbert in, but the danger was eventually cleared.

Four minutes later though, it was City who went ahead. Scott found Beckie who played in a ball which was swept into the net by Ellen White in the six yard box, off of Berger’s legs. Replays suggested there was more than a hint of offside about White’s position, but the officials were not to be moved.

In adversity, it was Chelsea who rallied and had the best of the remainder of the first half. First, a beautiful through ball flummoxed Stokes again and Kerr was in, but Roebuck denied her. Four minutes later, England scampered down the left, cut inside and shot, earning a corner.

Six minutes before half-time, Emma Hayes’ side were level when Kerr’s cross was headed clear by a City defence under pressure from Cuthbert. The clearance went straight to Ji So-yun who fired it home first time for a great finish. The scores were level at the break.

The home side had the better of the opening exchanges of the second half, but the best opportunity of the period fell Chelsea’s way on 54 minutes when Reiten played England in, but Roebuck saved. Shortly afterwards, Houghton could only clear Reiten’s cross into the path of Beth England whose shot was pushed away for a corner.

The resulting set-piece was pushed out by Roebuck to England whose first shot hit the City keeper in the face, and second attempt was parried away by the young custodian.

On the hour mark, the Sky Blues made Chelsea pay for the missed opportunities when, from Lauren Hemp’s pass, Lioness Georgia Stanway thumped in a shot which beat Berger.

Chelsea responded well and only took eight minutes to level. Erin Cuthbert’s ball found Sam Kerr whose ball was headed out for a corner. The flag kick was eventually recycled and Jonna Andersson crossed back in, Beth England flicked on to Magda Eriksson who headed home from a central position in the box.

The drama continued as, from the resulting kick-off, City mounted an attack which ended with Sophie Ingle being adjudged to have fouled Caroline Weir. However, Ann-Katrin Berger made an excellent save from Stanway’s spot kick.

With just over fifteen minutes of regular time left, Chelsea looked to have punished the home side for the miss when Ramona Bachmann, on as a sub for Guro Reiten, found England who fired in a stunner from thirty yards into the bottom left hand corner.

It was a goal that would have deserved to win any game, but within two minutes, City were right back in it when Weir played Hemp. The Norfolk born star hit a left footed shot into the net to level the scores.

Shortly afterwards, Beckie found Hemp. This time the youngster, with her back to goal found Weir, whose effort missed.

Chelsea hit back when Cuthbert found England. The striker’s cross towards Kerr was cleared by Steph Houghton for a corner. Mjelde’s flag kick found Eriksson, but the Swede’s header failed to trouble Roebuck.

The game became disjointed after two long stoppages for injury, first Gemma Bonner with an ankle problem and then Ellie Roebuck who had to be strapped up and carried from the pitch. After around twelve minutes of stoppage time, it was all over.

City remain top from the Blues by a single point, but Chelsea’s game in hand at Everton ensures that the Londoners still have the title race in their own hands.


MANCHESTER CITY: Roebuck, Bonner, Houghton, Scott, Stanway, Beckie, Hemp, White, Weir, Walsh. Subs: Benameur (GK for Roebuck), Coombs, Bremer (for White), Toland, Park, Wullaert, Fidalgo.

Scorers: White 22, Stanway 60, Hemp 76.

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

Scorers: Ji 39, Eriksson 68, England 74.

Referee: Rebecca Welsh.

Attendance: 3,542.

Red Hot Reiten Strike Keeps Treble Hopes Alive

Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool

By Ben Gilby

Chelsea’s dreams of a domestic treble go on after producing a dominant performance against Liverpool.

However, a combination of great saves from Anke Preuss and excellent organised defence ensured that Emma Hayes’ side never quite managed to be as consistently penetrative in attack as they would have liked. The consequence was that, against all the odds, the Reds were still in the tie until the very end.

Despite only winning one WSL game all season, Liverpool have an excellent defensive record, conceding an average of just 1.23 goals per game – a hugely impressive statistic for a team who have lost nine league matches this term.

Above: Sam Kerr returned from international duty to claim a spot on the bench for Chelsea. Photo: Lauren McGarvey,

Chelsea welcomed back Ji-So Yun and Sam Kerr from international duty in the Asian qualifiers for the Olympic Games. Indeed, Kerr had only played for Australia just four days earlier in Parramatta.

With all the play from the very start, it took Chelsea almost fifteen minutes to break through the shackles of the Merseysiders’ defence, but Erin Cuthbert’s effort was snaffled up. Five minutes later, Preuss made a sensational save with her feet to deny Ji-So Yun.

Shortly afterwards, Norwegian star Guro Reiten, in fantastic form over the past few months had an effort cleared off the line by Sophie Bradley-Auckland as Chelsea turned the screw tighter.

Above: Erin Cuthbert is held off by the Liverpool defence whilst Ji-So Yun appeals to the referee. Photo: Ben Gilby

However, Reiten was not to be denied and, from Sophie Ingle’s ball, she smashed an absolutely stunner of a volley into the roof of the net. It was a goal that deserved to win any game.

Her fellow countrywoman Maren Mjelde almost added a second when her shot from the right went narrowly over with Preuss beaten.

Liverpool responded with a rare attack on the break when Melissa Lawley combined with Niamh Charles. Charles’ attempt to play in Ashley Hodson was intercepted.

The second half was a carbon copy of the first in terms of Chelsea dominance. Preuss was called upon to make another great save to deny Cuthbert’s effort.

The Reds ventured forward seldomly, but from one of their sorties, Jemma Purfield passed to Ashley Hodson who returned the favour, but Magda Eriksson headed away the danger.

Above: Anke Preuss denies Chelsea yet again in the second half. Photo: Ben Gilby

Eriksson was involved at the other end when her header from Maren Mjelde’s free kick went close.

With Chelsea only holding a single goal advantage for all their possession and territory, there was a scary moment for the home support near the end when Niamh Charles’ fierce effort was well held by Ann-Katrin Berger.

The final whistle was greeted by rapturous cheers from the home support. The Blues go on to face Liverpool’s cross city rivals Everton away in the Quarter-Finals. Before attention can turn to that though, there is the small matter of a top of the table WSL clash away to Manchester City this Sunday and the Continental Cup Final against Arsenal at Nottingham Forest FC the following weekend.

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

Scorer: Reiten 26.

LIVERPOOL: Preuss, Fahey, Bradley-Auckland, Lawley, Hodson, Charles, Jane, Purfield, Linnett, Furness. Subs: Clarke (for Hodson), Robe (for Jane), Murray (for Linnett), Foster, Rogers, Roberts.

Referee: Stacey Pearson.

Attendance: 2,630.

W League Round-Up

The Westfield W League in Australia returned after a two week break for the first stage of the Matildas Olympic Games qualifying campaign. What a round of fixtures it was with the top four facing each other in cross city derbies! Impetus editor Ben Gilby reports.

Melbourne City took a decisive step towards the Minor Premiership trophy after thrashing rivals Melbourne Victory 4-0 in front of 1,097 at Lakeside Oval to move six points clear at the top.

City’s Emily van Egmond and Kyah Simon played a key role in the demolition job, just three days after the conclusion of the Matildas Olympic Qualifying group games, in which they both played such an influential role.

Victory were on the back foot from the start and the only surprise was that it took the Sky Blues twenty-one minutes to get the opening goal. It was another stunner from van Egmond, who followed up her strike into the top left corner for Australia against China on Thursday with a similar effort, which this time went into the top right.

Another Melbourne City Matildas duo, Ellie Carpenter and Steph Catley were tying Victory up in knots as they danced down either flank. It was Carpenter who created City’s second goal on the half hour. She opened the Victory defence to play in Claire Emslie and the Scot rounded Melbourne Victory keeper Casey Dumont and hit it home.

It took five minutes after the break for the game deciding third. Catley’s surging run found Emslie who hit a shot which crashed off of the advancing Dumont, ballooned up and fell back at the Scot’s feet and she had the easiest task to tap home.

The final goal arrived on the hour mark. Yukari Kinga supplied Catley, whose effort came off of Dumont’s legs before falling to Kyah Simon who simply could not missed.

Melbourne City will look to wrap up the minor premiership in their next game against Western Sydney Wanderers, a team, who as we will discover below, have their own season on the line.

The Wanderers’ fairytale campaign is in danger of imploding as the campaign reaches its final stages after falling to a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to city rivals and reigning champions Sydney FC in front of an impressive crowd of 2,309 at Cromer Park.

Western Sydney have fallen from top spot to third after defeats in two of their last three games – a run which has first ruled out minor premiership hopes and now even threatens their dreams of a first ever top four finish – thus potentially missing a maiden finals campaign.

It is worth remembering that this was a Sydney side having to cope with the departure of Matildas stars Caitlin Foord and Chloe Logarzo to the FA Women’s Super League sides Arsenal and Bristol City respectively.

The reigning champions were fired up from the start – determined to erase the painful memories of their brutal 5-0 loss to the Black & Reds in Parramatta before Christmas.

Within two minutes, they were ahead. Sofia Huerta’s cross was missed by the Wanderers defence and met at the back post by Veronica Latsko to score.

The visiting Black and Reds rallied briefly, but on fourteen minutes Sydney doubled their advantage. Teresa Polias’ corner was met by Ellie Brush and the former Wanderers player’s header flew in.

Western Sydney star Ellie Harrison let fly with a great effort from distance that bounced off of the bar and behind. However, after this, the game tightened up and the challenges got ever tastier. It was no surprise therefore that, after a number of yellows being shown, a red finally followed for Wanderers’ Kristen Hamilton for a second bookable offence.

The Sky Blues ramped up the pressure in the final twenty minutes as Brush, Latsko and Young Matilda Amy Sayer all missing opportunities. The third goal had to come, but it waited until second half stoppage time when Sofia Huerta hit a great shot into the far corner.

Perth Glory’s fine run of form continues as they picked up a second successive victory, with a hugely impressive win at home to Brisbane Roar at Dorrien Gardens.

Victory for the Queenslanders would have seen them enter the top four, but they reckoned without a superb effort from the Western Australians. The only disappointment was that only 498 spectators were present.

It took just two minutes for Perth to go ahead when Morgan Andrews’ thumping header from a corner arrowed in.

Ten minutes later, Roar were rocked as the Glory went 2-0 up when Celia played in Crystal Thomas who raced through and lofted the ball over Mackenzie Arnold, who was caught betwixt and between; not knowing whether to come out or retreat in the Brisbane goal.

Shortly afterwards, Thomas was in again, but Arnold made amends by snaffling the ball in the one-on-one.

However, seven minutes later, Glory did chalk up their third of the afternoon. Matildas’ Clare Polkinghorne handled in the area and Morgan Andrews dispatched the penalty.

Frustratingly for Perth, their comfortable command of the momentum was undone just after the half hour mark when Morgan Aquino in the Glory goal fumbled Carson Pickett’s ball and compounded matters by allowing it to drop over the line at her second attempt to clear the danger.

Roar continued on the front foot after the break and Tameka Yallop headed over just a minute into the second half. They upped the pressure further and after 58 minutes, Yallop had better luck when her initial shot came back off of Aquino and into her path. She couldn’t miss.

With the game delicately poised now at 3-2, Brisbane pushed forward again and Pickett missed three great opportunities.

But, it was Perth who finished strongly, belying their tally of only five points going into this match. They confirmed their victory in stoppage time when Ayesha Norrie hit home the fourth on the counter attack.

Canberra United ended their four match run of losses – a spell which also saw them fail to score – with a 3-1 win over an Adelaide United side who are now red hot favourites to be handed the wooden spoon at the season’s end.

The Lime Green machine stated their intent early on when Elise Thornses’ volley went over the bar. Three further chances were missed as Leena Khamis, Jessie Rasschaert and Thornses were all denied.

Just after the half hour mark, Canberra’s dominance was finally rewarded with the opening goal. Laura Hughes capitalised from a poor Adelaide clearance to crash home her first W League goal.

The Reds, with just one win all season hit back just before the break. Isabel Hodgson latched onto Chelsie Dowler’s accurate pass to place the equaliser confidently into the net.

The 1,202 gathered in McKellar Park sighed a relief in the second half as the capital city side wrestled back the advantage in quite some style.

Thorsnes and Hughes missed opportunities before Simone Charley found Khamis who turned and fired home to re-establish Canberra’s lead.

Matters were sealed with ten minutes to go when Karly Roestbakken’s searing run played in Thorsnes. Her cross was headed home by Charley.

Newcastle Jets had the bye.

Latest Westfield W League Table:

Melbourne City1091020328+ 17
Sydney FC1071219822+ 11
Western Sydney Wanderers10613211419+ 7
Melbourne Victory10523141317+ 1
Brisbane Roar10424161614=
Canberra United11416132413– 11
Perth Glory1022615208– 5
Newcastle Jets1021711187– 7
Adelaide United1111910234– 13

Teams in bold qualify for the Finals play-offs.

van Egmond Exocet Saves The Day

Australia 1-1 China

By Ben Gilby

The Matildas gained the point they needed to ensure they topped Asia Qualifying Group B for the Olympic Games Women’s Football tournament with a draw in Parramatta.

However, due to their own profligacy, basic errors and a punchy Chinese side, the Green and Golds were made to wait until the depths of second half stoppage time for the all-important goal.

When it came, it was an absolute rocket from Emily van Egmond – her third strike in the last two games, and ensured a memorable and dramatic conclusion to an enjoyable game.

For the first time in the qualifying tournament, Australia’s coach, Ante Milicic named what resembled a more first choice line-up. That this side produced the number of errors that they did on the night will be of concern to Matildas fans ahead of their two legged final qualifier with Vietnam next month.

Sam Kerr, who had a quiet night by her standards, created the first opportunity on two minutes. The East Fremantle born star popped up on the right and played the ball into Caitlin Foord. The new Arsenal signing controlled instantly and then curled a shot wide.

Shortly afterwards, the Chinese showed warning of how dangerous they could be with an intricate passing move up which needed Ellie Carpenter at right-back to tidy up. On eleven minutes, they stole a loose Australian pass and Li was away. Her ball found Ma whose effort needed Lydia Williams to be alert in the Matildas goal.

Just after the half-hour mark, the Matildas made a hash of trying to clear Yao’s corner which allowed Li to head back to Wu who fashioned an opportunity which was eventually cleared. Opposition with more potent players would have punished the Australians.

The Chinese were now being roared on by a good number of the large ex-pat community of Sydney (the NSW capital being just fifteen miles from the Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta). A poor back pass needed Williams to race from her goal to clear as the visitors continued to take a grip on the game.

The final chance of the half saw a spectacular 25 yard effort from Wang which was deflected onto the top of the bar.

Australia had been warned. They needed to tighten up their passing and concentration in the second half or else they would face a significantly tougher final qualifier against South Korea.

The Chinese started the second half on the front foot. Tang danced round the Australian defensive duo of Clare Polkinghorne and Ellie Carpenter before drawing a save from Lydia Williams.

The Matildas stepped it up and had a good fifteen minute period. First Carpenter went on a trademark run down the right and cut in towards the edge of box before hitting a shot narrowly wide. Caitlin Foord then put in a curling cross which was too high for Sam Kerr.

China were let back into it from a poor clearance from Lydia Williams, who was not enjoying her finest game, which found the feet of Tang. The attacking midfielder motored down the right, drew and beat the challenge of Steph Catley before putting in a cross which was beyond any of her team mates.

Sensing that the Australians were back in careless mode again, Wang drove forward, but just as she was about to pull the trigger for a likely goal, out of nowhere appeared Polkinghorne to put in a sensational tackle to save the Matildas’ blushes.

With just over twenty minutes to go, W League top scorer Kyah Simon was introduced and she had a positive impact. Dancing down the right, her cutback found Elise Kellond-Knight whose attempted pass to Kerr failed to make its target.

China had two golden chances within two minutes of each other. First, Yao found Li whose shot was disappointing, but on 78 minutes they really should have scored. Tang’s ball was played back but neither Williams or her defence could get a command of the situation and eventually the danger was cleared, but only after the Australian keeper had to retreat to parry a shot which should have never been allowed to happen.

Foord fashioned an opportunity for Australia when she curled a delightful effort agonisingly wide. Simon popped up on the right again and hit a speculative effort which Shimeng didn’t need to deal with.

Then, with four minutes to go, the Chinese went ahead. From Ma’s ball, Tang fired in a shot which Williams simply couldn’t stop. That goal put China provisionally top of the qualifying group, which would send the Matildas into a tough decider with South Korea.

However, to their credit, Australia transformed themselves in the final minutes into a far more recognisable version of the technically gifted and quality attacking outfit that they really are. Tameka Yallop on as a sub, joined the attack. Carpenter troubled the Chinese defence and the Matildas won a succession of corners, which frustratingly came to naught.

Then, two minutes into stoppage time, the moment of true quality that this Matildas side are always capable of. Catley played a long angled pass from central midfield into the feet of Caitlin Foord who lost her footing somewhat, but crucially managed to nudge the ball back towards Kyah Simon. The Melbourne City striker, born just up the road from Parramatta in Blacktown, played the ball to the right to Emily van Egmond who was positioned on the edge of the eighteen yard box. She smashed the ball into the top left corner first time to spark delirious scenes both on the pitch and in the Bankwest Stadium stands. Australia had gained the point they needed to top the group. But they made it harder work than it needed to be.

The Matildas now go on to face Vietnam over two legs, first in Newcastle, NSW on 6th March, with the second leg following five days later in Cam Pha. Despite the South-East Asian side being ranked well below Australia at thirty-two in the world, the Matildas will have to produce a far more consistent performance in order to confirm their place at the Tokyo Olympic Games. They will want to leave the McDonald Jones Stadium with a good lead, which they are more than capable of achieving, or else the second leg promises to be extremely tough.

The official Matildas photo gallery of the game can be seen here: https://www.matildas.com.au/news/gallery-westfield-matildas-produce-thrilling-finish-against-china


AUSTRALIA: Williams, Carpenter, Polkinghorne, Kennedy, Catley, van Egmond, Kellond-Knight, Logarzo, Raso, Kerr, Foord. Subs: Luik, Roestbakken, McCormick, Micah (GK), Yallop (for Kellond-Knight), Gielnik, Simon (for Raso), Arnold (GK), Gorry.

Goal: van Egmond 90.

CHINA: Shimeng, Zhai, Lin, Wu, Luo, Li, Ma, Yao, Zhang, Wang, Tang. Subs: Xiolin, Shan Shan (for Zhang), Ying, Yangqu, Li, Zhang, Duan (for Li), Yang.

Goal: Tang 86.

Referee: Y. Yamashita (Japan)

Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta.

Crowd: 5,660.

Classy Carpenter Supplies the Ammo

Australia 6-0 Thailand

By Ben Gilby

The Matildas shot to the top of their Olympic Qualifying Group thanks to another comprehensive victory, this time against Thailand.

The win, their second in four days, sees Australia now need only a point in their final match against China to ensure they finish top and face the easier task on paper in the final qualifying round by taking on Vietnam over two legs. Finish second, and they would face South Korea.

Just as they did on Friday night against Chinese Taipei, the Matildas started in total control – but unlike that match, the Thais kept their shape and defended well.

Coach Ante Milicic made six changes to his starting line-up from the previous game. One of those was the return of Ellie Carpenter on the right of defence who was hugely influential all night long.

Australia’s dominance was total. Katrina Gorry had a long range effort go wide from Emily van Egmond’s corner. The latter built on her superb showing against Chinese Taipei with another excellent performance, and the midfielder was next to chance her arm when she hit a speculative half volley over her own shoulder from Carpenter’s corner, but Sorripao in the Thailand goal held it well.

Three minutes later, van Egmond was in action again and Sorripao had to come to her country’s aid by stopping the curling shot from the left of the box.

Caitlin Foord, a hat-trick hero from the opening qualifying game went on another stunning long mazy run which was finally ended by Sorripao.

With over half an hour of the first half gone, Thailand were still maintaining their defensive effort brilliantly in the face of relentless pressure. Australia were doing very well not to become frustrated. They believed the breakthrough would come eventually and kept battling away.

After Emily Gielnik cut in from the left and hit a shot wide, it looked like it would be goalless at the break. Yet, as the half approached its dénouement, finally the dam burst.

Phornphirun Philawan’s attempted clearance fell to Ellie Carpenter and the talented 19 year-old sent in an inch perfect ball for Emily van Egmond to angle a foot at the ball to knock it into the net.

A few minutes into stoppage time, Foord missed a great opportunity when her effort cannoned back off the post after she had rounded Sorripao. Right on the half time whistle, the Matildas doubled their lead and, again it was Carpenter and van Egmond involved.

The defender sidefooted a highly accurate ball into the box which was played back to van Egmond who was adjacent to the penalty spot and hit it home. Thailand’s super rear guard efforts had all come to nought.

Australia continued to rack up the chances at the start of the second half. Defender Jenna McCormick had two great opportunities within four minutes of each other. First, her header was well held before she sent an acrobatic overhead kick wide following a corner.

Ellie Carpenter came to the fore once more with a speculative cross come shot which was heading towards the top left hand corner before Sorripao saved well.

On the hour mark, Sam Kerr was introduced in place of Katrina Gorry with Hayley Raso replacing Emily Gielnik. The changes had their intended impact as Australia went on the rampage.

Kerr played in Karly Roestbakken who fired in a ball and W League top scorer Kyah Simon stuck out a leg and in it went.

This was the start of a golden period for the Matildas as four goals were scored in just six minutes.

Four minutes later, van Egmond completed her hat-trick. Simon combined with Kerr. The Chelsea hot shot played a sidefooted pass in for the Melbourne City star to knock in.

It was 5-0 less than a minute later with Kerr involved again. This time, the East Fremantle born player put in a nice ball to Hayley Raso who scooped a lovely goal into the net.

A further minute past before Australia added a sixth. Van Egmond sent in a free kick from the right of the box which was met by a superb thumping header from Kyah Simon.

Despite there being eighteen minutes plus stoppage time left on the clock, there were no further goals.

Thailand put in a great effort, but a heroic first half defensive effort eventually buckled in the face of the Matildas’ skill. The hosts had 75% of the possession, mustered 38 shots on target to Thailand’s one and made 635 passes compared to the opposition’s 223.

Australia top the group on goal difference from China at present. The two sides meet in the last game of this stage of the qualifiers on Friday in Parramatta. It’s a hugely important game as, despite the fact that both sides are assured of a place in the final qualifiers against South Korea and Vietnam, finishing top comes with the benefit of avoiding the Koreans.  


AUSTRALIA: Arnold, Roestbakken, McCormick, Kennedy, Carpenter, van Egmond, Luik, Gorry, Foord, Simon, Gielnik. Subs: Williams (GK), Polkinghorne, Logarzo, Catley, Kellond-Knight, Micah (GK), Yallop (for Simon), Raso (for Gielnik), Kerr (for Gorry).

Scorers: van Egmond 44, 45, Simon 67, 73, Raso 71.

THAILAND: Sorripao, Philawan, Chinwong, Srangthaisong, Saengkhun, Phetwiset, Pram-Nak, Khueunpet, Intamee, Pangdal, Chelthabal. Subs: Boonsing, Makris, Prancha, Mongkoldee, Sungrigoen, Pengngam, Waenngoen, Somnank, Sulthibul.

Referee: Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan)

Venue: Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney.

Olympic Games Asian Qualifying Group B Table:

Chinese Taipei31021123

Top two qualify for final qualifying stage. Team finishing first in Group A will play Vietnam over two legs and team finishing second in Group B will play South Korea over two legs. The winners of each tie will qualify for the 2020 Olympic Women’s Football competition.

Foord Fires Matildas To Opening Win

Australia 7-0 Chinese Taipei

By Ben Gilby

Above: The Matildas opened their Olympic qualifying campaign with a comfortable win.

The Matildas opened their Olympic Games Qualifying campaign with a comfortable victory over Chinese Taipei in Campbelltown, Sydney.

Australia were in control from the very start, and the statistics shown after the final whistle just emphasised the gulf between the sides. The Matildas had 80% of the possession, made 743 passes to Taipei’s 187 and had 28 shots on goal. In truth they could easily have scored at least another seven.

Despite Sam Kerr being named on the bench, with Westfield W League top scorer Kyah Simon taking her place as the focal point of the attack, Ante Milicic named a strong side for the game, the first of three qualifiers for his team over the coming seven days. Jenna McCormick, so impressive in November’s two friendlies against Chile, kept her place in defence.

The Matildas were passing their way around Chinese Taipei from the kick-off. Elise Kellond-Knight created an early chance for Steph Catley, but the visitors cleared. It took only nine minutes though for Australia to get on the board with an inch perfect ball played through for new Arsenal signing Caitlin Foord to latch onto and hit home.

Seven minutes later, it was almost 2-0 when Emily van Egmond’s effort dribbled agonisingly wide. Almost immediately afterwards, Steph Catley was involved with Hayley Raso before playing in van Egmond who again couldn’t quite get on the target.

After 23 minutes the second goal finally arrived for the Matildas and Emily van Egmond was involved yet again as she and Chloe Logarzo, a new signing for Bristol City, combined to dispossess Chinese Taipei on the edge of the box and played in Caitlin Foord who walked the ball in.

Hayley Raso created the Matildas next chance after she went on a quite magnificent diagonal run from midfield into the box but she was tackled just before pulling the trigger.

Just after the half hour mark, the third goal finally arrived when Steph Catley’s angled run from out wide ended with her confidently lofting the ball over Chen in the Taipei goal for a rare goal which she celebrated with glee.

Five minutes later, it was 4-0 as van Egmond played a chipped ball into the box for Foord to complete a 29 minute hat-trick. It remained that way at the break.

The second half was a repeat of the opening stanza with the Matildas dominating possession to the extent that they could, effectively score whenever they chose.

Four minutes into the second period, Hayley Raso forced a fine one handed save from Chen and, seconds later, Kyah Simon hit a shot narrowly wide.

After 54 minutes, Raso scored the goal her performance deserved. In a sweeping move which began when Chloe Logarzo muscled Zhro off of the ball (at worst by holding a bit of her shirt, and certainly not elbowing her in the face which the Taipei midfielder’s actions suggested) and found Raso who skipped past attempted tackles and crashed the ball home.

Raso was involved in the next opportunity from the Matildas. Caitlin Foord cut in from the left wing and found the Australian number sixteen whose deflected shot looped up high into the hands of Chen.

Above: Steph Catley celebrates her goal against Chinese Taipei. Photo: via @TheMatildas Twitter Feed. See original here: https://twitter.com/TheMatildas/status/1225711105420324864/photo/1

Sam Kerr was introduced on the hour, and it took just four minutes for Chelsea’s January signing to make her mark. Logarzo played in a lovely ball which Kerr controlled instantly and shot home for the sixth goal of the evening.

Less than a minute later, Logarzo found Kerr again and the Western Australian hot-shot found the net again, but she was ruled offside, by about a big toe’s width.

With eleven minutes to go hat-trick hero Caitlin Foord was substituted to a rousing reception and replaced by Emily Gielnik.

Hayley Raso had another opportunity with another of her superb diagonal runs, but was closed down before she could get a shot away. Shortly afterwards Kerr was unlucky again as she chested down a long pass and hit a half volley outside the area, but Chen saved.

Chinese Taipei conjured a rare opportunity after an uncomfortable moment for Matildas keeper Lydia Williams who came rushing out of her area and got nowhere near the ball. Luckily for her, Lee’s effort for the visitors came bouncing back off the post.

With the game reaching its closing stages, Australia missed two further opportunities. First, from an Emily Gielnik cross, Kerr’s instant control and first time side foot went wide. Gielnik also had a side footed effort saved by Chen.

Two minutes into stoppage time sub Katrina Gorry made it 7-0 after scoring her first goal for the Matildas for almost three years when Raso’s cross bounced off of Chen’s foot straight to the Brisbane Roar midfielder who volleyed home.

There was a final opportunity for Australia when a trademark Sam Kerr header landed on the top of the bar.

Whilst this was a comfortable start to the Matildas qualifying campaign, their next game on Monday in Parramatta against World Cup qualifiers Thailand won’t be as straightforward. Their final group game is back at Campbelltown next Thursday against China, which will likely decide who will top the group and earn a home tie to decide who will take one of Asia’s two qualifying spots for Tokyo 2020’s women’s football tournament.


AUSTRALIA: Williams, Catley, McCormick, Polkinghorne, Roestbakken, van Egmond, Kellond Knight, Logarzo, Foord, Simon, Raso. Subs: Carpenter, Luik, Micah (GK), Kennedy, Gielnik (for Foord), Arnold (GK), Gorry (for van Egmond), Kerr (for Simon).

Scorers: Foord 9, 23, 38, Catley 31, Raso 54, Kerr 64, Gorry 90.

CHINESE TAIPEI: S.Y.Chen, Lan, Pan, Jhuo, Peirong, Zhro, Y. Chen, Hsuang, Zhang, C. Ting, H. Lee. Subs: Tsai (GK), Zhan, Yan-San, Shu-o, Hin, W.C. Lee, C.Y. Ting, So, Lin.

Referee: Hyeon-Jeong Oh (South Korea).

Venue: Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney.

East Enders Take A Hammering At Kingsmeadow

Chelsea 8-0 West Ham United

By Ben Gilby

Chelsea are second in the Barclays Women’s Super League – just a point behind leaders Manchester City – after a comprehensive destruction of West Ham United at Kingsmeadow.

The Blues scored at will throughout the game, with West Ham only offering very limited resistance up front in a five minute spell around the hour mark.

Above: Jonna Andersson was hugely impressive offensively in the early stages. Photo: Ben Gilby

Chelsea started on fire, with Jonna Andersson causing all sorts of problems down the wing, and took the lead on seven minutes. From Guru Reiten’s corner, Millie Bright’s pressure ensured the ball found its way to Maren Mjelde who fired home on the half-volley.

On twelve minutes, Erin Cuthbert, who had an absolutely outstanding afternoon released Beth England beautifully and the Chelsea star rounded Courtney Brosnan and had all the time in the world to roll the ball in.

Cuthbert may not have got on the scoresheet until the second half, but her terrier like attributes in chasing down seemingly lost causes and intelligent link up play with her team mates marked out her huge influence on the game.

Above: Erin Cuthbert had an outstanding game. Photo: Ben Gilby

Just before the break, it was 3-0, and again, it was from a Reiten corner. This time it was inch perfect for the run of Welsh magician Sophie Ingle who headed home.

With the second half in its infancy, the massed crowd at Kingsmeadow fully believed that their side had added a fourth as Drew Spence knocked in England’s ball, but the 3,300+ crowd reckoned without the assistant referee’s flag.

However, with fifty-two minutes played, the fourth did go in – and Erin Cuthbert was rewarded for her hard work with an absolute peach. Spence played the Scot through and a glorious drive found its way into the net. What a goal! West Ham boss Matt Beard was not impressed, claiming offside and received a yellow card for his protests.

Just after the hour mark, it was 5-0 when Mjelde added her second of the afternoon to slide home.

Above: Australian teenager Jacynta Galabadaarachchi offered some quality when she came on. Photo: Ben Gilby.

At this point, West Ham enjoyed a spell of five minutes in which they troubled the Chelsea defence for the only period of the game. The key players for them in this spell was 18 year-old Australian sub Jacynta Galabadaarachchi who showed some intelligent touches, and Alisha Lehmann who got free once or twice down the wing – but West Ham could never trouble Carly Telford in the Lionesses custodian’s return to the Chelsea goalkeeping spot.

Above: Carly Telford returned in goal for Chelsea. Photo: Ben Gilby

This inability to fashion a serious chance in the period blew up in the Hammers face as Beth England kept up her incredible scoring record – goals in all of the last seven league matches with a simple tap home for the sixth.

Above: Beth England continued her recent incredible scoring record with two more! Photo: Ben Gilby

Chelsea finished as strongly as they started and punished the Hammers with two goals in the last three minutes. First, it was sub Ramona Bachmann who, to the joy of the Swiss first time visitor stood next to me on the South terrace, steered home Carter’s cross.

The final cheer of the afternoon came in stoppage time when Murphy put the nail in the Hammers’ coffin with a powerful header.

This win was another powerful statement of intent from Chelsea who have now scored seventeen goals in their last four games. They also have a game in hand over Manchester City who they meet at the Academy Stadium in a fortnight’s time.

Photo: There was plenty to cheer about for Chelsea Women’s fans this afternoon. Photo: Ben Gilby.

For the full gallery of Ben’s photos from the game, click here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=182869896451473&set=pcb.182872976451165&type=3&theater


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

Scorers: Mjelde 7, 61, England 12, 56, Ingle 45, Cuthbert 52, Bachmann 88, Murphy 90.

WEST HAM UNITED: Brosnan, Fisk, Flaherty, Vetterlein, Kvamme, Dali, Longhurst, Simic, Baunach, Kiernan, Lehmann. Subs: Middag (for Longhurst), Galabadaarachchi (for Simic), De Graaf (for Kiernan), Moorhouse, Wallen, Littlejohn, Smith.

Referee: Amy Fearn.

Crowd: 3,304.

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:

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.