THE NEW SAINTS LADIES 1-5 BIRMINGHAM AND WEST MIDLANDS LADIES
FA WOMEN’S NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION 1 MIDLANDS
PLAYED AT PARK HALL STADIUM, OSWESTRY
SUNDAY 24TH FEBRUARY 2019
MATCH REPORT BY DAVID FIGG
After storming to a 16-0 home friendly win over Wrexham Ladies in their previous game on Sunday 10th February, The New Saints Ladies team must have wished they had saved some goals for that game as they crashed to 1-5 home defeat by Birmingham and West Midlands Ladies in their FA Womens National League Division 1 clash at Park Hall Stadium last Sunday (24th February).
Saints had gone into the game in 9th place out of 11 in the table 2 points behind 10th placed Burton Albion Ladies with level games and with 11th placed Sporting Khalsa a further 3 points with a game in hand on both Burton and Saints.
Meanwhile, Birmingham and West Midlands Ladies went into the game on the back of 2 straight league wins which had left them in 3rd place in the table, 2 points behind 2nd placed Wolves Women and with leaders West Bromwich Albion Ladies a further 9 points ahead.
The first chance of note came Birmingham’s way in the 6th minute when Evangeline Gallop ran through the left of middle and into the left of the box before having her left foot shot blocked by Saints keeper Beth Cleveley.
Then at the other end in the 9th minute, Lia Lewis’ forward ball from her own half found Laura Pennington who won a challenge before sending a through ball to Emily Ridge, whose ball over the top found Katie Doster who ran on before sending her right foot lob into Birmingham keeper Shan Turner’s left hand corner to seemingly give Saints the lead. However, the goal was disallowed after a controversial offside flag against Doster.
Exactly 2 minutes later, Birmingham took the lead when Emily Painter’s chipped ball from middle to right found Lauryn Bryan who took 2 touches before cutting it back low to Natalie Gibson, who curled her first time right foot shot from 18 yards into Cleveley’s top right hand corner.
It was 2-0 in the 26th minute when Painter’s through ball over the top on the left found Gallop who beat her man for pace before firing her low right foot shot from 16 yards into the advancing Cleveley’s right hand corner.
Saints pulled a goal back in the 31st minute when Ridge picked up a loose ball in the middle some 30 yards out and ran forward before firing her right foot shot from 25 yards over Turner and into her top left hand corner.
It was 3-1 in the 38th minute when Elizabeth Steele’s long ball over the top was headed on by Gibson to Bryan who ran into the right of the box and across Saints defender Kim Bebbington before firing her right foot angled shot from 15 yards into Cleveley’s right hand corner.
Saints went close just into the 39th minute when Doster fired her right foot shot only just over the bar.
Birmingham went close to adding to their lead just into the 44th minute when Gibson tapped a free kick on the left short to her right to Shannie Jennings, who fired her right foot shot from 30 yards not far over the bar to Cleveley’s left.
Then 19 seconds into added time at the end of the first half, it was 4-1 when Holly Chandler’s throw in from the left found Nadia Bacciochi who took a touch before laying it infield to Jennings who nutmegged her opponent before squaring infield to her right to Painter in the middle, who took a touch before sending her right foot lob from 30 yards into Cleveley’s left hand corner.
It was 5-1 right at the end of the 49th minute when Gallop intercepted a Saints pass and flicked the ball over Saints defender Phoebe Davies’ head before running down the left and cutting into the box berating 2 players before firing her right foot shot from 5 yards into Cleveley’s right hand corner.
Saints made a double change in the 66th minute when Sarah Jackson came on to replace Doster and Courtney Ashworth came on to replace Pennington.
Birmingham made their only change just into the 72nd minute when Evie Harms came on to replace Gibson.
The visitors went close to adding to their lead in the 74th minute when Laura Cooper’s long diagonal ball from the right of middle found Gallop on the left who ran on and onto the box before beating her opponent and having her right foot shot saved at her right hand post by Cleveley.
Saints made their final change just before the end of the 77th minute when Taylor Davis came on to replace Caitlyn Smith.
A chance came Saints’ way in the 81st minute when Davis’ throw in on the right found Pennington who cut infield before sending a long diagonal ball to Ashworth on the left, who ran into the box before firing over.
That was the last chance of note for either side and the final blast of Shrewsbury referee Emile Douzi’s whistle after 1 minute 36 seconds of added time at the end brought the game to a close.
It was a poor performance by Saints who will need to improve somewhat if they are to avoid a shock defeat by Ludlow Town in their next fixture on Sunday 10th March when the sides meet at AFC Bridgnorth’s ground in the Semi Finals of the Tom Farmer Shropshire Womens Cup, of which Saints are the holders.
Saints: Beth Cleveley, Phoebe Davies, Lia Lewis, Emily Ridge, Jodie Bragan, Kim Bebbington, Caitlyn Smith, Zoe Griffiths, Laura Pennington, Katie Doster: Subs: Sarah Parkes (GK) (not used), Taylor Davis (for Smith 77), Sarah Jackson (for Doster 66), Courtney Ashworth (for Griffiths 66).
Birmingham: Shan Turner, Laura Cooper, Ashlea Hargreaves, Shannie Jennings, Evangeline Gallop, Nadia Bacciochi, Elizabeth Steele, Emily Painter, Holly Chandler, Natalie Gibson, Lauryn Bryan. Subs: Evie Harms (for Gibson 72).
Lead image courtesy of Matthew Jones.