FA WSL 2016 - Mid-season review: London Bees

The Bees finally look to have settled under new boss

FA WSL 2016 - Mid-season review: London Bees
Jo Wilson has been in inspired the for the Bees (Photo credit: Christopher Lee/The FA)

It’s been all-change at the Hive this year as the London club said goodbye to former coach Julian Broomes and enlisted Dave Edmondson to steer the club in the right direction. Edmondson got to work straight away assessing the squad, bringing in a glut of new names and bidding goodbye to a host of familiar faces.

The Buzz

Given the very limited amount of time Edmondson had with the squad before their first competitive game of the season – a forgettable 9-0 loss at home to Durham in the early rounds of the FA Cup – it’s no surprise he fielded a team almost solely comprised of development team players. By the time the Bees got their league season underway, the side was barely recognisable from that of the previous two seasons but familiar mistakes crept in late in the game and the hosts conceded twice in the last five minutes to start their campaign off with a disappointing draw. Things didn’t improve for the Bees when they travelled to Durham just five days later falling to a 2-0 defeat, players and managers left to rue missed opportunities.

When the season restarted a month later the Bees looked to kick-start their season and did well to hold of a rampant Bristol City until after the hour when the Vixens hit them for three inside of ten minutes. Fans would be forgiven for thinking, “new manager and players but the same old Bees.”  There were of course positives to be taken in defeat and just like their previous games, the Bees had looked dangerous going forward but couldn’t capitalise.

Things looked to be brightening up for the Bees in late April when they hosted Millwall, claiming their first win of the season over their London rivals clinching it at the death with a stoppage time penalty. However, it was a case of one step forward and five back when they travelled to Widnes, struggling to settle in the game and conceding late in the first half, they faced an Everton side that refused to see their unbeaten record broken and the Blue Girls came out for the second half fighting. The Bees once again letting their heads drop after conceding, and in the space of five second-half minutes they’d fallen four goals behind and although they shored themselves up it was too little too late as they were consigned to their biggest defeat of the season to date.

Some strong words from Edmondson seemed to be right tonic for the young side and they looked to put their shaky performance against Everton behind them as they put seven past Watford over the course of two matches, first claiming a confident 2-0 win in their Continental Tyres Cup preliminary round match then soundly beating the Golden Girls 5-0 at Vicarage Road.
When the Bees took to the pitch in their last match of the month they were still brimming with confidence and will have been frustrated to let another two points slip, after a commanding first-half they were slow to get going after the break and played out an engrossing 2-2 draw with familiar opponents, Durham.

A Step in the Right Direction

Edmondson is still working out what's best but is getting there | Photo: BBC.co.uk
Edmondson is still working out what's best but is getting there | Photo: BBC.co.uk

There was a huge amount of frustration that came with watching the London Bees last season, the potential was there but the players never hit top gear. This year however, the Bees have a definite style, Edmondson is wholly about possession based football and you can see his years of experience on the pitch, the new players he’s brought in are coming up to speed with the style and it’s all coming together. When VAVEL spoke to Edmondson there was a slight frustration from the manager that everything was very rushed at the start of the season, players signed their contracts and were immediately thrust into the season without time to get used to each other. But every match and training session has seen the squad grow, the players getting to know one another and finding their footing in the team.

It’s still very much, early days, and Edmondson is still playing around with formations as he continues to get to know his squad but the signs are nothing but positive, this is a team that will continue to grow and strengthen. Although they might not be strong enough to challenge for promotion this season the Bees are not to be taken lightly and will certainly be causing some upsets when the season restarts.