Next up in our series of mid-season reviews, we look back at how Birmingham City Ladies have fared so far this season.
Bad start with three negative results in sequence
Birmingham started the season with several changes from last year's team. With Rebecca Spencer and midfielder Karen Carney both for opting for a move to Chelsea Ladies, the team needed new signings for the season.The experienced coach David Parker sought new players for the club like striker, Freda Ayisi. The former Arsenal Ladies forward was brought in, and goalkeeper, Sophie Baggaley was promoted to the first team.
In March, the team kicked off their season against Arsenal Ladies. The FA Women's Cup quarter-final tie saw the home side make a positive start and Ayisi latched onto a neat through ball and the Blues striker powered into the box before firing the ball underneath goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal. Arsenal would level through Dani Carter in the second half and, on penalties, the Blues were eliminated by the London club. Birmingham's last title in the competition was in 2012, when they beat Chelsea in the final.
With the start of the FA WSL, Birmingham started with a defeat at home Liverpool Ladies. The were beaten again, this time by Manchester City Women, next time out; a worrying situation for the Midlands outfit.
Following good games and invincibility
The first victory for Birmingham in the current FA WSL season came against Doncaster Rovers Belles. After conceding the first goal early in the game to Natasha Dowie, Birmingham City turned the match around with Ayisi and Lawley replying in the first half. After that first victory, the team regained confidence and started on a good run of form.
After a nil-nil draw with Arsenal Ladies, two wins - both against Notts County - followed with Westwood and Allen's goals proving the difference. A draw followed with debutants Reading, with the team sat in third place, behind Chelsea and Manchester City, with seven games gone in the league campaign.
What are the prospects for the rest of the season?
It became evident during the early season, the team needed reinforcements in order to be a competitive side. They did not come at first and, undoubtedly, signings at the beginning of the campaign would have made things even better for the team.
David Parker sought to bring new players, young but with experience in competitive league. German players such as defender Marisa Ewers from Bayer Leverkusen, the attacking midfielder Bella Linden of 1. FFC Frankfurt and goalkeeper Ann Katrin Berger from PSG no doubt will be players to be well used in the club. As well as Norwegian midfielder Andrine Hegerberg, the main arrival for Birmingham.
The run-in begins June 29th against Arsenal, a rival for their current third place standing or European hopes. The 2013/14 UEFA Women's Champions League run, where the team reached the semi-finals of the competition only to be beaten by Tyreso, is still fresh in their minds. The team have a lot of work to do to replicate the Birmingham side that came close to a major final, but of course, with new reinforcements and time - success will come.