Sunday, 2 September 2012

Lincoln Ladies 1 v Birmingham City Ladies 2 - Continental Cup Semi Final

Sunday 2nd September 2012, at Ashby Avenue, Lincoln
Continental Cup Semi Final
Lincoln Ladies (0) 1
Laura Alleway 88
Birmingham City Ladies (1) 2
Jodie Taylor 44, 76
Admission £6, Programme £1,
Super-strength Coffee (as requested and required) £1
Lincoln Ladies:
Hobbs; Walton, Stoney, Bradley, Alleway; Barker (Horwood 81), Allen, Harris, Staniforth; Hamilton, Clarke.
Unused Subs: Cantrell, Martha Harris, Rood, Roberts.
Birmingham City Ladies:
Hourihan; Weston, Bassett, Westwood, Harrop; Aluko, Potter, Moore, Carney, Taylor, Williams.
Unused Subs: Christiansen, Simpkins, Wilcox, Simpson, Ballard, Torkildsen.
The 'Lady Imps' lost 2-1 again, just a few days after going down by the same scoreline against Doncaster Rovers Belles in Thursday night's WSL game.
Today their misery was compounded by the fact that it was one of their former players who scored both of the goals that finished off their chances of reaching the Continental Cup final.
And a season that started off with so much hope and optimism, is fast becoming one of mid table mediocrity and underachievement, for a team who have the personnel, throughout the whole squad, to have accomplished so much more.
No doubt, if they can keep the current squad together for next season, they've got the foundations in place to build on and do much better.
And I'm sure that they will.
But that doesn't help matters for them this afternoon.
In front of a decent sized turn out, bolstered by quite a few vocal Blues followers, Lincoln started well, but their game soon went a bit flat as they came up against a well organised team, who had bags of quality to match their work rate, focus and commitment.
You would have expected Lincoln's front pairing of Jess Clarke and Precious Hamilton to have made a big dent in the visitors rearguard this afternoon, but City rarely looked unduly troubled and always seemed to get in the defensive challenges at precisely the right time.
Both teams hit the woodwork in the first half, but it was the in form Jodie Taylor who finally forced the issue when she scored just before half time, from the edge of the six yard box when Lincoln had failed to deal with a set piece corner.
Lincoln kept their calm and showed some good touches after the break, but Birmingham were equal to them in a fairly evenly matched game that could still have gone either way.
But with just under 15 minutes to go, Birmingham's keeper Marie Hourihan launched a long clearance down the park, that Jodie Taylor latched onto and lobbed Nicola Hobbs who was coming out to close down the angle, to increase Birmingham's lead.
It was harsh on Hobbs, because having been left exposed, she had no option but to advance from her line ... and only moments before she'd pulled off a great one handed save (below) to keep Lincoln in the game.
Ah, the joys of being a goalkeeper, eh!?
One minute you're a hero, the next your defence has left you right in the line of fire and the focus is squarely on you.
But remember, there is no I in TEAM and there is such a thing as collective responsibility.
With just two minutes to go, Jess Clarke controlled the ball in the middle of a goalmouth scramble and played a neat, measured ball, across the face of the visitors goal to the big Australian Laura Alleway, who powered the ball into the net and Lincoln were back in the hunt.
Albeit briefly.
Deep into stoppage time, Lucy Stainforth had the opportunity to take the game into extra time, but her free kick from just outside the penalty area went agonisingly wide of the post.
It's wasn't that Lincoln Ladies played badly, because they didn't, in fact they finished the game strongly after losing two goals and couldn't be faulted for their effort today.
But on the whole Birmingham City had that little bit more in their engine and deserved the win.
I'm now well on the way to reaching my initial target of 50 games this season ;-) and I've got a couple of games lined up over the next few days too, namely: Harworth Colliery v Kiveton Park in the CMFL North on Tuesday and one of : Harworth Colliery U19 v Ollerton Town - NMU19L Div. 2, AFC Mansfield v Sherwood Colliery - CMFL North, or Newark Town v Nottingham United - CMFL South, on Wednesday.
But I could end going just about anywhere, so get the kettle on, just in case.
Lincoln Ladies blogger and number 1 fan amuses himself
with a cheeseburger during a break in play