Saturday, 30 June 2012

Lincoln Ladies 1 v. Bristol Academy Women 3 - FA WSL

Saturday 30th June 2012,
at Ashby Avenue (home of Lincoln United FC)
FA Women's Super League
Lincoln Ladies (1) 1
Precious Hamilton 2
Bristol Academy Women (3) 3
Jess Fishlock 6, Natasha Harding 14, Nikki Watts 34
Admission £6, Programme £1.50, Attendance 226
Lincoln Ladies
Hobbs, Daly, McCallum, Bradley, Stoney, Megan Harris, Hamilton, Cantrell, Allen, Walton, Staniforth
Subs: Horwood, Martha Harris, Clarke, Barker, Roberts, Rood
Bristol Academy Women
Chamberlain, Dykes, Yorston, Rose, McCatty, James, Fishlock, Lawley, Harding, Watts, Del Rio
Subs: Windell, Isacc, Curson, Simkin
Prior to kick off, four of the top six teams in the WSL were sat on 8 points apiece, with third placed Lincoln at the top of that quartet, on goal difference.
Following today's result, Bristol are now third, level with second placed Birmingham City, on 11 points, while the Lady Imps slipped to fifth in the table.
Aim ...

Lincoln were already a goal to the good after just two minutes, with Bristol still finding their bearings, Precious Hamilton got onto the end of Collette McCallum's cross in behind the Academy side's defence, to steer the home side in front.
But their joy was short lived, as the visitors pulled themselves back on level terms in the sixth minute and then began to assert themselves on the game.
Bristol's captain and the main contender for the 'woman of the match', Jess Fishlock, fired home the equaliser, from a free kick out on the left, that went in through a scrum of bodies.
You could say that Lincoln's keeper, Nicola Hobbs, should've dealt better with the in-swinging dead ball, but her path was blocked by a cluster of bodies around a crowded back stick and any number of Lincoln players could have headed the ball clear before it nestled just inside the post, so you couldn't really put all of the blame on one person.
Either way, it was a quality strike.
Fire! Jess Fiahlock equalises with a direct free kick

The visitors were 2-1 ahead on 16 minutes, when Laura Del Rio, perfectly timed her cross from out on the left for Natasha Harding, just as she arrived unmarked inside the box to power home a header beyond Nicola Hobb, who this time had been left completely exposed by her defence, who had gone AWOL, having been completely wrong footed by the length of Del Rio's delivery.
Despite Nicola Hobbs and Sophie Bradley's efforts,
Nikki Watts puts Bristol 3-1 ahead

Harding was again involved in Bristol's third goal.
Her shot cum cross was difficult to deal with for Hobbs, who couldn't hold onto the ball ... Sophie Bradley was on hand to try hooking the ball away, but Nikki Watts was indulging in a spot of goal hanging (a most noble of ancient arts, if ever there was one) and took advantage of the panic in Lincoln's ranks to knock the ball home.
After the break, the game went off the boil a bit entertainment wise ... the visitors knew they could let Lincoln come at them and counter attack on the break as and when, the Imps were repeatedly thwarted in their attempts to break down an impressive Bristol rearguard ... and last but not least, an overly fussy, picky and often baffling display by the whistle happy referee Nigel Smith, rendered inert the possibly of any kind of flow to the game.
Late on, with Lincoln trying to push forward to get back in the game, Bristol's Jess Fishlock came closest to scoring again, but her effort from twenty yards out flew narrowly high and wide of the target.
I've seen Lincoln Ladies in action several times before and they are capable of playing much better than they did today.
As for Bristol Academy Women; this is the first time I've ever seen them play, but if their first half display is typical of how they usually perform, then I'm not at all surprised that they are now level on points with second placed Birmingham City.