Often Partisan

Blues Ladies exit cup on penalties

Birmingham City Ladies exited the SSE Women’s FA Cup at the first hurdle on Sunday having lost 5-3 on penalties to Arsenal. Charlie Wellings who came on as a 119th minute sub was in tears after hitting the post with her penalty which was the only miss in the shootout.

Blues Ladies had taken the lead midway through the first half thanks to a Freda Ayisi breakaway but they were pegged back eleven minutes from time when England striker Danielle Carter lashed home from distance.

While penalties was always going to be a cruel way for a team to lose this game I think Blues Ladies can take comfort that they did so well against a team that would have expected to have won the game comfortably. Despite missing the experience of Jade Moore and Remi Allen in the middle, Blues looked like they were capable of handling Arsenal for long periods with 17-year-old Chloe Peplow looking like she belonged from the off in the middle of the park.

Likewise, Freda Ayisi who last year looked more combative than goalscoring has markedly improved, breaking her former team-mates offside trap on more than one occasion with ease with well-timed runs onto balls played through. It was a sumptuous Jo Potter ball that created the goal; Ayisi latched onto it clear of the Arsenal defence and when one on one with Sari van Veenendaal slotted home with ease. If she had been at 100% fitness then she may have been able to stay on the pitch throughout and it’s easily possible Blues could have hung on.

Coral-Jade Haines could have wrapped it up in the 78th minute after Jess Carter’s run down the left played her in but her first touch let her down and Blues were made to instantly regret it as Arsenal broke and scored through England striker Danielle Carter. In fairness Arsenal had been on top and had created many chances but Blues looked like they’d be able to stand firm throughout.

For all the disappointment, however, the decision of Blues to continue pursuing their policy of developing their own talent looks to be a good one. Aoife Mannion once again looked imperious at the back; Jess Carter – who is still only 18 – looks to have improved again on her fitness and pace while Peplow was probably player of the game for Blues (despite who the match day sponsor voted for) even though she’s only 17.

The Ladies travel to Liverpool on Wednesday for their first WSL match knowing it’s an important game as Liverpool are seen to be one of the clubs they can compete with in the division. They’ll once again be without Corina Schröder who won’t join up with the team until next week but on the face of Sunday’s performance they should be okay.


Baggaley, Windell (Wellings), Mannion, Sargeant, Harrop, Carter, Potter (Stringer), Peplow, Lawley, Linnett, Ayisi (Haines)

Blues Ladies - sponsored by Hollywood Monster

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2 Responses to “Blues Ladies exit cup on penalties”

  • oldburyblue says:

    All in all a very good performance against a very strong team. Arsenal seemed to be the fitter team in the second half which made me fear for the extra 30mins but in fairness we seemed to get a second wind and could easily have won it. I stood behind the goal for the penalties and it was clear that there could only be 1 winner. I like Sophie Baggaley as a goalkeeper but she seemed tiny compared to their keeper who filled the goal and looked like she could stretch to either post whereas there looked a large gap either side of Sophie. I am optimistic for the season ahead though.

  • That is another reason why arsenal are at the top , as success is made up of many little things , with good positioning Sophie’s height and reach wouldn’t effect a game , but with penalties and having to stand on the goal line the team would be at a definite disadvantage …KRO

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