WSL Week 14 round-up: Cushing leaves on top; Pitches need improvement and Beard's future in question.
Nick Cushing thanks supporters after his final game at the City Football Academy | Photo by Manchester City FC

Nick Cushing leaves with his side on top

Nick Cushing has been a permanent fixture in the women’s game for six years and has admitted that since the announcement last month of his departure to New York City FC has felt like he has “split up with my girlfriend but am still living in the same house as her”.

In his last game before his stateside switch his Man City narrowly beat title rivals Arsenal 2-1 thanks to goals from Pauline Bremer and Lauren Hemp with the Danielle Van de Donk grabbing the visitors’ only goal.

City are now top of the FA WSL, exactly where Cushing would want to leave them. Despite now being three points clear of Arsenal it is now Chelsea they should worry about. Emma Hayes’ are just one point behind Man City with a game in hand.

The two sides meet at the end of February in what looks like a title decider. For now.

State of the game leaves a lot to be desired

After last summer’s Women’s World Cup captured the imagination of the footballing public it was presumed this energy would lift the domestic women’s game in this country onto another level but two incidents this weekend showed how far there is still to go.

Liverpool had their second successive home game postponed because of the awful state of the pitch at Tranmere’s Prenton Park. The club have released a statement stating they are “doing everything it can to alleviate the ongoing problems” after their game with Birmingham City was postponed.

 

It’s a sorry state of affairs that Liverpool have ended up in this situation, away from the glitz and glamour of the international game and the marketability of the Lionesses there is serious work to be done in the WSL.

Another area that needs improving is refereeing, just ask Manchester United fans. After last week when they were denied a certain goal when the referee adjudged the ball not to have cross the line, this week Reading were awarded a penalty for handball for what was clearly a header by captain Katie Zelem.

The resulting penalty was then scored ensuring Reading drew 1-1 with Casey Stoney’s side.

If the FA are serious about improving women’s football pitches and referees desperately need addressing.

Could Matt Beard’s time be up at West Ham?

West Ham United’s 8-0 loss to Chelsea has led to the Hammers boss Matt Beard to ask questions of himself and whether he is the right man to manage the side. The top three are streaks ahead of all other sides in the division but losing 8-0 is disappointing for any side but especially for one that made last season’s Women’s FA Cup final.

West Ham haven’t had a bad season compared to last, currently sitting in eighth compared to last season’s seventh-place position and they are not in danger of relegation.

Realistically Beard might ask himself how far he can take West Ham. A cup final last season and consolidating their position in the WSL in their first season as a professional outfit was a fine achievement but can he get them into second gear.

Rest of the action

Brighton and Hove Albion got a well earned 1-0 victory over Everton putting some space between themselves and Bristol City who sit bottom. There is now six points between the Seagulls and the Robins thanks to former Toffees player Aimee Whelan’s right-foot finish.

Bristol’s game away at Tottenham Hotspur was also victim to the weather and will be rearranged for later in the season.

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