WSL week 9 review: Birmingham and Bristol back on track
Credit: Joerdeli Photography | Daniela Porcelli

There was little change for the bottom five as they all lost following the international break with Everton succumbing to title favourites Arsenal, Yeovil falling to a resurgent Chelsea and Brighton unable to hold off Reading. Elsewhere, West Ham slipped up in the Midlands against an inform Birmingham City as Bristol saw off Liverpool.

Bristol City 2-1 Liverpool

Having a respectable season so far though struggling for consistency, the Vixens picked up their third win of the campaign against an ailing Liverpool side. Controlling proceedings from the off, the hosts took the lead on the quarter hour when Lucy Graham rose well to hammer home Julie Biesmans’ corner before Ella Rutherford added a quick-fire second.

Growing into the game, the Reds found a response ten minutes before the break when Courtney Sweetman-Kirk slammed home Laura Coombs’ cross to set up a tasty second half. Hunting for an equaliser, the visitors were close but couldn’t find the magic touch to get the better of the frantic home defence or Sophie Baggaley between the sticks. 

Everton 0-4 Arsenal

Having parted ways with Andy Spence and well off of the pace of the league, there was little respite for Everton when Arsenal rolled into town. A string of fine saves from Kirstie Levell in the first half enough to keep the slick attack at bay though it was for naught as the Gunners tore the floodgates open after the break.

Having notched their first just before the break when Daniëlle van de Donk fired high into the net, the visitors added two in two early second half minutes as Jordan Nobbs then Vivianne Miedema made it three. The match wrapped up by the free-scoring Miedema just after the hour when she tucked home Nobbs’ net pass.

The main talking point from the match, Nobbs’ second half injury that has been confirmed as an ACL problem that will keep the midfielder out for the season and likely the upcoming World Cup

Birmingham City 3-0 West Ham United

Kerys Harrop’s early header set the tone as the Irons wheezed against the Blues at Damson Park. The home side’s lead doubled five minutes before the break when Emma Follis chipped Becky Spencer from inside the box after having been picked out by Chloe Arthur. Unable to turn the tide, the visitors succumbed to a third ten minutes from time when Lucy Staniforth claimed her first league goal of the season, knocking home from close range having been set up by Charlie Wellings.  

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-4 Reading

Still looking for defensive stability to build on, the Seagulls had another tough day at the office as Reading hit them for four. A goal down 20 minutes in when Rachel Furness’s chipped pass found Fara Williams for the veteran to knock home. Things went from bad to worse after the break as Brooke Chaplen added a second having benefited from another pinpoint pass from Furness.  

Scoring a rare goal – her first and Brighton’s sixth of the season – the Seagulls could have pulled off a surprise comeback when Aileen Wheelan nodded Ini Umotong’s dinked pass beyond Grace Moloney. The comeback was however short-lived as the Royals soon pulled away, Williams’ second goal of the afternoon fumbled by Marie Hourihan before Gemma Davison fired in a late fourth from range. 

Chelsea 5-0 Yeovil Town 

Having banished the scoreless draws that plagued their first few outings of the season, Chelsea climbed to third with a win over the still developing Yeovil side. Having only kept their opposition out once so far this season, there was an inevitability to Millie Bright’s opening goal flying past Megan Walsh in the 20 minute.

From then on it was a one-sided affair with Ji So-yun’s solo goal enough for a second, the South Korean having slipped her away through the park under little challenge before slotting the ball home. Off of the pace but still just about competing, things fast turned sour for the Glovers as Nicola Cousins was given her marching orders, the team shipping two goals immediately afterwards. As first Erin Cuthbert slammed home a fine volley before Ramona Bachmann swivelled in the box, sliding the ball into the bottom right corner in the process. The visitors regained some form of balance after the break to keep the WSL champions at bay, a late inch-perfect strike from second half substitute Beth England the final flourish for the hosts.