FA Women’s Super League – Week 19 Review

A weekend of first half hat tricks; Chelsea hit Birmingham for six to hold on to top spot; Manchester City beat Spurs; Arsenal go third with victory at Bristol City; West Ham off the bottom after thrashing Reading; Brighton throw spanner in United’s Champions League challenge; Villa into relegation zone with defeat at Everton. D2B is back but we’re trying this on a mobile phone! Adapt or die, even if it means spelling errors and dodgy formatting. It’s week 19 of the Women’s Super League…

Chelsea 6-0 Birmingham City

Three ‘n’ easy: Sam Kerr took her league tally to seventeen versus Birmingham…

“It was a performance that the whole squad contributed to. When you play so many games like we do everybody has to be at the same level. This was the first game this season where I thought no matter who I put in, there isn’t going to be a drop in standard anywhere. For that reason, it was the complete performance and even harder considering we’ve had to come back from Wednesday’s game so I was delighted with everybody.”

Emma Hayes, Manager, Chelsea, via ChelseaFc.com

Chelsea followed up their midweek Champions League success against Wolfsburg with an emphatic WSL victory against Birmingham City.

Sam Kerr bagged a first half hat trick while strike partner Fran Kirby converted a second half brace either side of Guro Reiten ‘s first league goal of the campaign.

Carla Ward’s side had defended stoutly up to the point Kerr gave the Blues a 25th minute lead. Keeper Hannah Hampton kept out out Erin Cuthbert’s low drive but couldn’t prevent the Australian converting the follow up from a tight angle.

Under relentless pressure, it was then a question of whether the visitors could keep the score at 1-0 until the break. They couldn’t. On the stroke of half time Pernille Harder hit the crossbar and Kerr nodded in the rebound.

And to compound matters the striker scored again in stoppage time arriving at the back post to power Cuthbert’s swirling free kick past Hampton.

Beth England joined the fray in the second half as Blues boss Emma Hayes started to rest players. England set up Kirby’s first goal on 61 minutes after a neat interchange with Niamh Charles down the right.

Substitute Guro Reiten added a fifth with virtually a carbon copy finish after Kirby and Charles sliced through the Birmingham defence.

Kirby had the last say in stoppage time, running on to England’s headed flick, beating two defenders and driving past Hampton.

Going into the international break Chelsea continue to lead the pack.

Birmingham remain three points above the drop zone.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 Manchester City

Caroline Weir scored City’s third goal against Spurs.

“It wasn’t easy. It was a well-earned three points. Spurs worked really hard, pressing, and they tweaked a few things – they threw an extra player forward. You’re not always going to get things right. Our decision-making could have improved but it’s never an easy game here. In the second half, we started brightly and potentially could have had a couple more goals but you have to be really happy with three goals and three points.”

Gareth Taylor, Manager, Manchester City, via mancity.com

After a disappointing exit from the Champions League on Wednesday, Manchester City bounced back into league action and extended their WSL winning streak to twelve games at the Hive.

Tottenham’s resistance held our for just five minutes with keeper Becky Spencer failing to deal with Chloe Kelly’s corner.

Canadian international Janine Beckie coolly slotted a one v one finish seven minutes before the break and Caroline Weir added a third just after the hour.

Spurs were unable to fashion a clear goal scoring opportunity.

The result leaves City two points behind leaders Chelsea. The two teams face each other after the international break.

Spurs are safely ensconced in mid table.

Bristol City 0-4 Arsenal

Joe Montemurro: making tracks at the end of the season…

In a week where the players had to process the imminent departure of manager Joe Montemurro, Arsenal were all business on the park, blowing out strugglers Bristol City.

This week the Gunners boss confirmed he would be moving on at the end of the season after three and a half years at the club.

It didn’t appear to be to much of a distraction with Vivianne Miedema opening the scoring inside four minutes after some trademark build up involving Kim Little, Danielle van de Donk and Jill Roord.

Miedema and Jordan Nobbs both went close to doubling the visitors’ lead, but both then combined first half injury time to give van de Donk a tap in.

Beth Mead rifled a shot against the post from 25-yards but got on the scoresheet in the 63rd minute from Anna Patten’s deflected cross.

Miedema got her second and Arsenal’s fourth goal two minutes later knocking in from close range after keeper Sophie Baggaley had parried Nobbs effort.

Montemurro’s side move above Manchester United into third on goal difference.

Bristol City drop to 11th, one place above the drop zone.

“I’ve been away from my family for three and a bit years, so that was part of it. I had to look at the bigger picture and the value of both things [club and family]. Sometimes you have to make these decisions which, from an outsider’s perspective, probably look a bit strange.”

Joe Montemurro, Manager, Arsenal, via SkySports.com

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Manchester United

On the spot. Brighton’s Inessa Kaagman with the winning penalty versus Manchester United

Brighton & Hove Albion got back to winning ways against Manchester United at the People’s Pension Stadium, seriously denting the Red Devils’ Champions League aspirations.

The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot after defender Maria Thorisdottir was adjudged to have handballed from a free kick. Seagulls midfielder Inessa Kaagman sent keeper Mary Earps the wrong way to get her team on their way to a fifth victory in six matches.

It was a perfect reaction from Hope Powell’s side to last weekend’s 5-0 thumping at the hands of Everton.

For United, their season is starting to come apart at the seams. They have lost their last three away matches and manager Casey Stoney later bemoaned the squad’s injury problems which have blighted their run in after such a strong first half of the campaign.

Reading 0-5 West Ham United

Martha Thomas… Making D2B eat our words, “can’t buy a goal”? Think again…

“I’m delighted for the girls to get the win, to have scored the goals and played the way we did. The girls played without fear today, which is what we had hoped for. It’s difficult to play that way, with that nothing-to-lose attitude, because every game between now and the end of the season is crucial. This is a group that has belief, and this result will inspire confidence. I thought this type of performance and result was coming and I’m delighted that it’s arrived today.”

Olli Harder, Manager, West Ham United, via WHUFC.com

Martha Thomas was the hat trick hero as West Ham butchered woeful Reading on their own patch to give manager Olli Harder his first win since taking the reins. All five goals were scored in the first half with the Royal gifting their opponents a host of cheap opportunities.

There was a modicum of luck involved as well. Reading squandered possession in the 7th minute, Kenza Dali took the ball out to the right touchline and drove in a cross that sailed over everyone, including keeper Grace Moloney, but crept inside the far post.

Two minutes later Kate Longhurst robbed a defender in the penalty area and fizzed in a cross that Katerina Svitkova headed in at close range.

Dali turned provider sixty seconds later latching on to another loose Reading pass out of defence and playing Thomas in who had just power on her shot for it to squeeze past Moloney.

A whole eighteen minutes passed before the visitors scored again. Cecile ‘Redisch’ Kvamme combined with Thomas and teed up the striker to slide in her second.

The best of the five goals capped Thomas’s hat trick. Dali lofted the ball over the Royals’ back line from midfield and the Scottish international, now full of confidence, took the ball in stride and lobbed the on-rushing keeper on the half volley.

The home side came out with more purpose in the second half and Courtney Bronsnan was forced to make one fine save. Fara Williams also hit the woodwork but Reading couldn’t find a consolation goal.

West Ham moved off the bottom of the WSL table. Reading fell to seventh, a point behind Brighton.

Everton 3-1 Aston Villa

Everton’s Izzy Christiansen: Is there a player out there who visibly enjoys her football more?

“We knew today that we couldn’t be complacent. We do not want the season petering out into nothing. It’s important that we’re professional and keep accumulating points. And put in good performances. [Although] it was a struggle for the players to find any flow or rhythm on that pitch.

Willie Kirk, Manager, Everton, via EvertonFC.com

Everton sent Aston Villa to the bottom of the Women’s Super League with a comprehensive victory at Walton Hall Park.

Lucy Graham headed in Izzy Christiansen’s cross in the 36th minute to give the Toffees a lead going into the break.

Graham had the chance to double Everton’s lead from the penalty spot but Lisa Weiss saved brilliantly low to her left.

Villa’s young attacker Freya Gregory had a golden opportunity to equalise but was denied by Sandy MacIver at point blank range.

It was to prove a costly miss as Everton doubled their lead from a second spot kick after Rikke Sevecke was fouled. Christiansen stepped up and drove the ball down the middle.

Jill Scott played Simone Magill in behind Villa’s defence but Weiss parried low to her right. But the Northern Ireland international wasn’t to be denied minutes later, prodding home after Anita Asante had blocked Scott’s initial effort.

The visitors were able to generate a fairer reflection of the game in the score line when they grabbed a stoppage time consolation courtesy of a Chloe Arthur header from Asmita Ale’s free kick.

Everton have not been able to push into contention for a Champions League spot this season but look the ‘best of the rest’ by a sizeable margin.

The Villans’ biggest match of the season awaits after the international break when they take on Bristol City.

“We were just on the wrong side of those moments. Lisa [Weiss] has a really good save and then you really think it’s your day. Then we get another penalty decision against us. I was really pleased in terms of the way we finished the game and that will give us a huge lift going into this break now.”

Marcus Bignot, Manager, Aston Villa, via Birminghammail.co.uk

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