WSL 1 - Week 5 review: Birmingham bounce back

Arsenal leave it late in Staines.

WSL 1 - Week 5 review: Birmingham bounce back
Credit: Getty

Liverpool stretched their unbeaten streak to five as Reading netted their second win of the year and Birmingham got back to winning ways whilst Chelsea and Arsenal played out a lively draw.

Birmingham City 2-0 Bristol City

Not having the best of it so far in the Spring, Birmingham showed no signs of still being bruised from their FA Cup final loss when they found their first league win of the year with a confidence-boosting win over newly promoted Bristol.

Despite both having chances in an open game it was the hosts who took the lead through Ellen White late in the first-half when the former Notts woman headed Sarah Mayling’s corner past Caitlin Leach. Mayling had the woodwork shaking shortly after with a driven effort from the top of the box, the frame of the goal having denied Andrine Hegerberg earlier in the half too. Though there was little the woodwork nor Leach could do when White made it two on the stroke of half-time from close range, once again set up by Mayling.

The open nature of the game continued into the second-half though neither could find a third goal, the Blues happy to close out a much-needed win to leap-frog the Vixens.  

Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal

Still with designs on the Spring Series silverware, Chelsea edged their home tie against the Gunners, but were undone at the very death by lucky Jordan Nobbs equaliser. With chances flowing for both the visitors took the lead through Jodie Taylor after a less than clear foul on Dan Carter on the edge of the box. Having conceded the spot kick, Carly Telford did well to get down to her right and save Taylor’s initial effort though there was little she could do when the England international fired the rebound into the open side of the net.

Frustrated to be down but refusing to relent, Chelsea did well to draw level in the second-half, Millie Bright the beneficiary of Maren Mjelde’s wicked free-kick delivery. With the game shuffling towards a draw, Emma Hayes used her bench to its’ full extent, Drew Spence’s introduction enough to prove vital when she fired her team ahead in second-half stoppage time, Sari van Veenendaal able to get something but not enough on her low drive.

Still with ample stoppage time to account for, Arsenal managed to salvage a point at the very death when Heather O’Rilley’s ball found Carter on the edge of the area, under heavy pressure Carter could only poke the ball forward. With her back to goal and Bright right behind her, Nobbs was only able to flick the ball up and back, Telford caught wrong-footed as the ball looped into the goal to leave the hosts stunned. 

The draw sees Chelsea lose a little ground on Liverpool, the Reds, Blues and Sky Blues all having drawn one game so far, though Liverpool have played two more than Chelsea and City, the three all with a good chance of claiming the Spring Series title.

Liverpool 4-0 Sunderland

Up against a Sunderland side that have shown their defensive mettle this year, Liverpool seemed untroubled as they hit their visitors for two either side of the break, Caroline Weir the first to breach Anke Preuss’ goal this year. Weir’s thunderbolt from 30-yards enough to have the Lady Black Cats behind for the first time in the Spring Series, the deficit doubled ten minutes later by Natasha Harding with a low effort from Alex Greenwood’s lay-off.

With Harding on four for the Spring Series, Weir drew level with her teammate, grabbing her fourth in five league games in 2017 when she blasted Ali Johnson’s ball home, Johnson only on the pitch for seconds before setting up the Scottish international. The dominant side, Liverpool continued to knock on the door until Casey Stoney grabbed her first goal for the Reds ten minutes from time, tapping in at Greenwood’s corner. 

Yeovil Town 0-1 Reading

Consistently suspect at set-pieces, the Lady Glovers went a goal down eight minutes in to a Mandy van den Berg effort at an uncleared corner after Ana Green had come close moments before. Still unable to get going in the Spring Series, Yeovil looked shaky throughout and easily could have shopped more, especially from dead-ball situations, the Royals a little short on their finishing.

Unable to find a cushion in the game, the visitors went unpunished for their lack of clinical nature, Yeovil only able to manage two shots all game, with only one on target. The win sees Reading fly up to fifth in the table, Yeovil still unable to wrench themselves off of the bottom without a point to their name this year.

WSL 1 table as it stands (Credit: The FA)
WSL 1 table as it stands (Credit: The FA)