Category Archives: women’s football

White Scores HAT-trick As England Secure Thumping Friendly Win over Northern Ireland

Ellen White stole the show as England triumphed 6-0 over Northern Ireland in their first fixture of the year at St George’s Park earlier today. 

Lucy Bronze, Rachel Daly and debutant Ella Toone also got on the scoresheet as interim boss Hege Riise got her tenure underway with a comfortable victory. 

The Lionesses dominated the encounter from start to finish, with Kenny Shiels’ side struggling to get out of their own half for large periods of the game. They will also be grateful to goalkeeper Becky Flaherty for keeping the scoring in single digits. 

Riise raised a few eyebrows with her first starting line up, as Chloe Kelly was only named on the bench. Houston Dash’s Rachel Daly was afforded a start on the wing with Georgia Stanway and Jordan Nobbs joining Jill Scott in the centre of the park. The on loan Everton midfielder was given the captain’s armband on her 150th appearance for England. 

Keira Walsh pulled out of the squad late yesterday after a thigh injury and will now be assessed by Man City. 

Kenny Shiels gave Birmingham full back Rebecca Holloway her first cap, with striker Simone Magill, as expected, coming back into the side after injury to lead the line. A late injury to Jackie Burns also saw Sheffield United goalkeeper Beckie Flaherty starting in goal. 

With the Olympics coming up in the summer and the vast majority of the squad being made up of English players, the Lionnesses intent to stake their claim to be on the plane to Tokyo was clear from the off. 

They hassled and hurried the Northern Irish defence and had a number of chances before the eventually broke the deadlock on 18 minutes. 

Man City striker White met Daly’s cross with just three minutes of the contest gone, but couldn’t direct her header on target.  The 31-year old had another opportunity moments later when Scott slipped her through, but she was denied by Flaherty, before the goalkeeper reacted well to save from Nobbs on the follow up. 

England could have been three goals to the good inside the first ten minutes were it not for Flaherty, who pulled off another good save to prevent Bronze’s header from finding the top right hand corner.

Shiels will be disappointed in the manner in which Northern Ireland conceded the opener. White capitalising on a misplaced pass from McCarron, intercepting the ball  before driving into the area and firing a effort into the far corner.

That goal opened the flood gates, and Riise’s side got two more in quick succession. On 23 minutes, Bronze burst down the right and delivered a pinpoint cross for White, who glanced a header into the net for her and England’s second.

Their third game just five minutes later, again from a good cross into the box which Northern Ireland struggled to deal with. This time it was Hemp on the opposite flank putting in a tantalising delivery which Bronze at the back post slid into to tap home. 

The Lionesses’ were hungry for more and had one more clear cut chance late in the half to further extend their lead. Jordan Nobbs swung in a free kick to the near post, and the unmarked Hemp got on the end of it, but her header went wide.

Riise opted to make one change at the break, with Manchester United midfielder Ella Toone making her international bow in place of Jordan Nobbs. 

England continued to dominate the early proceedings of the second period as White’s spurned a glorious opportunity for her hat-trick. Toone was involved almost immediately, finding White in the box, who lifted the ball over the onrushing Flaherty, but off-target. 

She didn’t have to wait for her third for long however, with the hat-trick goal coming just two minutes later on 49 minutes. Scott threaded the ball through to the striker and she did the rest, wriggling past Nelson and rifling the ball into the top corner for her 39th England goal.

She had the ball in the back of the net for a fourth time just after the hour mark, by which time Everton keeper Sandy MacIver, had come on for her debut in place of Roebuck, but the goal was ruled out for offside. The former Birmingham forward had just strayed beyond Nelson before latching onto Kelly’s cross. 

England got their fifth not long after however, with Rachel Daly, who was a thorn in Northern Ireland’s side all game, sweeping home from close range after Bronze had surged down the right and put it on a plate for her.

They almost had a sixth on 72 minutes after a well worked short corner routine presented Kelly with a chance to strike from distance. The Man City winger tried to bend her effort into the far corner but it whistled wide of the far post. 

The final goal of the day came with just fifteen minutes of the game remaining. Kelly, who looked lively when she came off the bench, went down under a challenge from Holloway and the referee pointed to the spot.

Up stepped young Toone, who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, sending Flaherty the wrong way to complete the route and net her first international goal on her first appearance.

Debuts then followed for Arsenal’s Lotte Wubben-Moy and Bristol City’s Ebony Salmon as England saw out the game, with Northern Ireland failing to register a single shot on target on a difficult afternoon for Shiels side. 

Speaking post match, the former Derry City manager told the BBC:

“There were some positives and some negatives. England are stronger and quicker than us and that was a big obstacle for us to overcome,

“We made three uncharacteristic mistakes for the three goals and I wish we could have been a bit more competitive,” he concluded. 

Opposition number Riise was delighted with England’s performance in her first game in charge:

“Obviously I’m pleased with six goals, four players getting their first cap and that we pushed for 90 minutes and wanted more goals. We tried to find the pockets in between, run at them and I think we showed character” stated the former Norwegian international.

She continued, “We probably could’ve scored more goals but the performance and energy that we put into the game was good.”

Northern Ireland now have to regroup ahead of their historic Euro 2022 two legged play off game, and they will discover their opponents of that tie next month.

As for the Lionesses, they will take on Canada in April as the squad gear up for the rescheduled Olympic Games.

England Vs Northern Ireland Preview: Lionesses Aiming for First Win Under Riise’s Reign

England are in action for the first time in almost a year tomorrow in their first game under new boss Hege Riise, as they take on Northern Ireland in a friendly at St George’s Park. 

It is the first of a double header of games for Riise and her squad in the upcoming months, as they attempt to build some momentum ahead of the rescheduled European Championships, which will take place on home soil next year. 

They face Canada on 13th April in their second fixture announced by the FA, with many players hoping to impress in these two fixtures and make the Team GB squad for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo 

Tomorrow’s game will be the first meeting between the two nations since 2008, when the Lionesses triumphed 2-0 during a European Championship qualifier at Mourneview Park.

Much has changed since then, especially for the Green and White Army, who have enjoyed an upturn in form under former Derry City boss Kenny Shiels, winning their last four Euro 2022 qualifying games to secure their passage to the two legged play off games in April. 

The exhibition game is as beneficial to Northern Ireland as it is England, as it forms part of their preparation for the crunch two legged tie. It is their sole fixture before the historic games, which will take place in less than two months time.  

England, who are ranked sixth in the world and 43 places above their opponents, have not played since they were defeated 1-0 by Spain in March of last year. 

Riise has stuck with the majority of the squad who played in what turned out to be Phil Neville’s last game in charge before taking up a role as Inter Miami manager, naming ten Manchester City players in her twenty-one strong panel.

One of the stalwarts included is on loan Everton midfielder Jill Scott, who is in line to make her 150th appearances for the Lionesses at St George’s Park tomorrow. 

Demi Stokes is injured along Chelsea duo Millie Bright and Fran Kirby who both withdrew from the squad at the weekend and were replaced by Manchester United defender Millie Turner and Arsenal winger Beth Mead, who had narrowly missed out in the initial squad announcement. 

Nikita Parris is another notable absentee. The Lyon forward is unable to join up with the team due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Toni Duggan, who now features for Athletico Madrid, is another who misses out on selection. 

Young Bristol City forward Ebony Salmon, who only turned 20 in January, receives her first call up along with other uncapped players such as Birmingham goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, Everton shot stopper Sandy MacIver, Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy and Manchester United forward Ella Toone.

Man City’s Ellie Roebuck seems the most likely of England’s inexperienced goalkeepers to get the nod to start in goal. 

Captain Steph Houghton will be partnered by Arsenal centre back Leah Williamson, whilst FIFA Best Winner Lucy Bronze and Rachel Daly will line up at left and right back respectively. 

Jordan Nobbs and Jill Scott should feature in the centre of the park and will be flanked by Chloe Kelly and Georgia Stanway on the wings. Bethany England and Ellen White should start up front. 

Riise gave her inaugural press conference ahead of the game, expressing her satisfaction with how the training camp before the game has gone so far:

“We are delighted to have a fixture against Northern Ireland, to prepare ourselves for this week and I have been very impressed by the spirit and determination I have witnessed from our players in camp so far.”

Kenny Shiels is missing a number of influential members of his team and so again has opted to name quite a youthful squad, with seven changes from their last outing against Faroe Islands in December. 

The stand out call up is for 16 year-old defender Ella Haughey. The Lisburn Rangers full back had been training with the senior side on a trail basis before receiving the call that she would feature in the squad for the game. 

The teenager this week cited Lucy Bronze as one of her idols growing up and told the BBC that:

“It’s hard to put into words how much the call up means to me”.

She joins Crusaders goalkeeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford as the only other uncapped member of the squad, coming in for Forfar Farmington goalkeeper Lauren Perry. 

There are recalls for Linfield duo Casey Howe and Rebecca McKenna, as well as Birmingham’s Rebecca Halloway and former Hearts midfielder Louise McDaniel. 

Demi Vance is out with a knee injury whilst sisters Caitlin and Kirsty McGuiness are unavailable for selection.

In a huge boost for Shiels, star striker Simone Magill has recovered from her injury and is included in the travelling squad. She is part of the experienced spine which Northern Ireland have, which includes the likes of centre backs Ashley Hutton and Julie Nelson as well as midfield trio Rachel Furness, Sarah McFadden and Marissa Callaghan. 

Given how well their 4-3-3 formation served them in the thrashing of the Faroe Islands, Shiels is likely to stick with his tried and tested methods. 

Burns is a nailed on starter in goal and will have experienced duo Hutton and Nelson at centre back, with Halloway and Caldwell completing the back four.

In front of them, Northern Ireland will likely line up with a midfield three of McFadden McClaron and Furness, the latter two being some of the Green and White Army’s more creative players. 

Magill should slot back into the side and lead the line with Wade and Wilson lining up on the flanks.

Ahead of the mouthwatering encounter Shiels was realistic in his assessment of the task ahead of Northern Ireland, but was keen to stress that whatever the result, it will be a great learning curve for his side:

“When we leave England after the match I will know straight away what we learnt from the game,

“The result will not be indicative of what we are looking to achieve. As long as the girls get better collectively then we will get better as a team, and it is inevitable that results will follow.”

The game kicks off at 12:30pm tomorrow and is available on the BBC iPlayer and website. 

FA WSL round up: City come out on top in the Derby

Manchester City came out on top in the Manchester Derby on Friday night. Lucy Bronze and Laruen Hemp putting City two up, before a stunning chip from Caroline Weir made it 3-0.

Reading drew 1-1 with Everton after Rachel Rowe give the home side a 1-0 lead at half time. Denmark international Nicoline Sorensen got Everton’s equaliser after 77 minutes.

Elsewhere, in a preview to the Conti Cup Final Chelsea run riot and put five past Bristol City. Fran Kirby (2), Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr and Beth England all on the scoresheet for The Blues.

Finally Aston Villa’s home match against Arsenal was called off due to a frozen pitch.

Manchester City 3-0 Manchester United

On a bitterly cold night at The Academy Stadium Manchester United looked to stay above their City rivals.

In form Leah Galton was played in by Jackie Groenen, but Galton’s ball across the six yard box was cleared by Alex Greenwood.

The deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute by Lucy Bronze. United failed to clear Chole Kelly’s corner and the ball fell to Bronze who smashed the ball into the far corner.

Georgia Stanway’s cross almost caught out United Keeper Mary Earps going just over the bar and onto the roof of the net.

Hayley Ladd fired a shot wide as United looked for an equaliser. Kelly not clearing from a United free kick, the loose ball finding Ladd and shooting on the turn put the ball wide.

Ellen White forced Earps into a decent save with her overhead kick attempt. Kelly’s cross finding White who initial shot was blocked, White went for the spectacular with the rebound.

United were dealt another blow just before the break as Leah Galton was forced off. In an off the ball incident, the United player was helped from the field looking in some discomfort.

Earps was again called into action saving from White. Laruen Hemps low cross from the left finding White inside the box. The forward’s first time effort was pushed away by Earps.

United tried to get back into the game, Christen Press attempting a lob over a advancing Ellie Roebuck but she put her effort over.

Press saw another shot blocked by a combination of Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton.

City weathered the pressure from united and extended their lead on 71 minutes. Chole Kelly firing a shot which Earps pushed away but the ball found Hemp who’s left footed shot flicked off Amy Turner and into the goal.

Caroline Weir wrapped up the Derby win for City with a potential goal of the season. Picking up a loose ball Weir’s left footed chip went over the stretching Earps.

Caroline Weir scores stunning goal in Manchester Derby.

City pick up the win and move into second in the WSL table five points off leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.

Reading 1-1 Everton

Reading started brightly with Amalie Eikeland forcing a save from Everton keeper Korpela. Eikeland again could only find the gloves of Korpela with a long range shot straight at the keeper.

Eikeland was causing Everton problems as she hit the post after Rowe’s free kick. Natasha Harding then headed over form the rebound.

Readings pressure told after 34 minutes as Rachel Rowe put the home side ahead. Sam Carter was unable to put in from Lilly Woodham’s cross but the ball fell to Rowe who had on open goal to aim at.

Everton started to pressure the home side in the second half. With out troubling the goal Everton had several half chances but did get the equaliser. Nicoline Sorensen heading in after 77 minutes. Wold’s cross to the far post was met by Sorensen who headed in to level the game.

Neither side could find a second goal with both sides having some half chance efforts.

Bristol City 0-5 Chelsea

Chelsea put five past Conti Cup Final opponents Bristol City in a game that they dominated. The Blues had 24 attempts at goal with 9 on target.

Fran Kirby gave them a 14 minute lead before Harder made it two after 36 minutes. Kirby got her second to make it three nil before the break.

Goals from Sam Kerr and Beth England in the second half made it five for the Champions.

Chelsea’s lead at the top is five points, while Bristol sit bottom – two points behind West Ham United.

FA WSL round up: the blues bounce back to defeat london rivals

Chelsea bounced back from their loss to Brighton at the weekend with a thumping 3-0 win over Arsenal. Pernille Harder with two goals and a late third from Fran Kirby giving Emma Hayes’ side a three point lead at the top.

Elsewhere, meanwhile, Brighton carried on the momentum from their victory over Chelsea by beating West Ham by a goal to nil.

The second City derby due to be played was called off due to a frozen pitch, as was Tottenham match with Bristol City.

Chelsea 3 – 0 Arsenal

The perfect response from the champions after a shock defeat to Brighton, as they returned to winning ways.

Chelsea pressed high up the pitch early on and and Fran Kirby was able to win the ball in the corner. Linking up with Harder and Ji, Kirby had a shot on the turn but it went straight at Arsenal keeper Williams.

Chelsea high press put the Arsenal defence under pressure that Arsenal struggled to deal with. Wubben-Moy poor pass left Williams in trouble and her clearance fell to Melanie Leupolz who’s long range effort went well wide of the goal, as Williams scrambled to get back.

Arsenal had a great chance to take the lead but Miedema’s shot was well saved by Berger. Danielle van de Donk won the ball from Millie Bright and slipped in Miedema who worked her way into the box. Miedema’s left footed shot was met by the outstretched leg of Berger.

Fran Kirby went even closer to opening the deadlock with her strike being well saved down low by Williams. Getting the ball on the right Kirby cut inside and played a 1-2 with Leupolz and hit a first time effort towards the bottom corner. Williams down low to her right got a strong hand on the ball to turn it away.

The opening came three minutes after the break from Harder. Ji winning the ball and Kirby giving it to Harder who shot from outside the box. The ball bouncing just in front of the keeper and in to the bottom corner, for Harder’s fifth WSL goal of the season.

Kirby and Harder combined for Chelsea’s second. Kirby’s cut back inside the box was struck first time by Harder in to roof of the net.

Katie McCabe’s deflected effort almost pulled one back for Arsenal, but Berger at stretch was able to push the ball away from goal.

Kirby added a third on 90 minutes, coolly sliding the ball past Williams to make it 3-0.

Emma Hayes spoke after the game saying:

“Everybody knows what the standards are at Chelsea and it’s not always easy to live with.

“The pressure is relentless, the expectation is relentless, but it’s a place for the best to thrive, and only the best, with the highest standards, keep this dream machine flying.

“Those are my demands and I won’t compromise on that. To see the response from the team shows where the team wants to go.”

Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro:

“I think if we analyse this game too much it will drive us crazy because there wasn’t a lot wrong with that other than they scored three goals and we scored none.

“It’s very hard to keep analysing these games because we play a bit more pragmatic and then they hurt us another way – they are a very, very good team with some powerful players and it’s the quality of them that has unlocked us today.

“Mathematically there is still a lot to play for us, but sometimes realistically you have to set yourself different targets. We have a Champions League spot to play for and two games in hand to help get us there.”

Brighton 1 – 0 West Ham United

Brighton got back to back wins for the first time this season with a 1-0 win over West Ham. Aileen Whelan’s first half goal helping Brighton victory.

Brighton started brightly, playing with confidence but were unable to create a real threat to Mackenzie Arnold’s goal.

West Ham could have gone ahead as Laura Vetterlein’s header was cleared on the line by Maya Le Tissier.

Arnold had to be at her best as Nora Heroum’s looping effort headed towards the top corner. The West Ham keeper quick to react and tip over.

Brighton got the lead thanks to Whelan’s outstretched leg. Megan Connolly’s corner wasn’t cleared and flicked to Whelan who’s outstretched right leg sent the ball back across goal and into the net.

West Ham failed to create any real opportunities in the second half and Brighton had chances to make it two, but the game ended 1-0

Brighton manager Hope Powell after the game said:

“Everyone did their jobs, which meant they didn’t score and we held out for all three points.

“We’ve done a lot of work on being hard to beat and it gives us the best chance of winning – if we stop conceding goals, then we’re in it.

“The players looked a bit tired towards the end of the match after Sunday’s game but they have really responded well, which takes off some of the pressure in that bottom half of the table.”

West Ham manager Olli Harder:

“Our performance was characterised by individuals’ inability to positively contribute in key moments offensively and defensively.

“The application and effort was there again so it’s difficult to criticise, but it’s quality in key moments that determines games and again we had the opportunity to show that quality but we didn’t do that.

“The missed chances and opportunities each game are fine margins and details. We’re still in this position and we’ve got 10 games to put ourselves in a better position than we’re in at the moment.”

The WSL continues over the weekend with the Manchester derby on Friday. Kick off at 19:00 and Live on BT Sport. Three matches will take place on Sunday with Aston Villa v Arsenal, Reading v Everton and Bristol City v Chelsea.

FA WSL Round Up: Top Two Both lose

The top two side of the WSL, Chelsea and Manchester United both suffered shock defeats over the weekend. Chelsea were beaten 2-1 at home to Brighton, while United fell to Reading 2-0.

Manchester City took advantage of the teams above them losing by beating Arsenal by two goals to one. Bristol City gained a point with a draw at West Ham, and Everton and Birmingham drew 1-1. Saturday’s game saw Aston Villa beat Tottenham by a goal to nil.

Chelsea 1 v 2 Brighton

Brighton bounced back from defeat to Bristol City last weekend by ending Chelsea’s 33 game unbeaten run. Chelsea started with Harder, Kirby and Ji So-Yun on the bench, took the lead after five minutes though Sam Kerr

Kerr had a chance saved by Megan Welsh before her goal. From Beth England’s cross, Kerr saw her effort kept out by Walsh. But the forward got her 10th goal of the season heading in from Erin Cuthbert’s corner.

The lead lasted just three minute’s as Aileen Whelan headed in from Megan Connolly’s corner at the far post. Whelan got in behind Ingle to head in from close range.

Chelsea dominated the first half and peppered the Brighton goal looking to regain the lead. Beth England saw her shot hit the bar and Jonna Andersson shot well over.

On 56 minutes Emma Hayes sent out Ji So-Yun, Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder as Chelsea looked to get a second goal. The subs looked to get Chelsea back in front as Kirby and Ji linked with Andersson down the left. Harder flicked the ball goal wards from Andersson’s cross but the post sent the ball into the arms of Whelan.

Brighton’s hard work and determination at back paid off on 78 minutes as they took the lead against the run of play. Megan Connally’s corner going straight into the goal as Telford was unable to keep it out.

Brighton held on despite Chelsea pressure as Williams blocked Ji’s shot, and then she was able to block again as Harder shot at goal.

Manchester United 0 v 2 Reading

United missed the chance to return to the top of the table as they lost at home to Reading.

The Royals had the first chance in an even first half. Rachel Rowe heading back across goal only to see the ball bonce across the goal line. Reading were not here to sit down for United as Eikeland put her shot just wide after a good cross from Rowe.

United had a great chance to take the lead as Ella Tonne met Hanson’s pull back but her effort hit the post and fell to Grace Moloney in the Reading goal. Katie Zelem’s cross was met in the box by Galton but she headed straight at the keeper.

Moloney denied Galton again in the second half saving well with her foot. Ona Batlle sent a low shot towards goal but Moloney was down well to get a hand on it on turn it round the post.

Reading went close again as Angharad James forced Earps to push her shot over the bar. Reading did take the lead from a in swinging corner Mary Earps was able to claim which give Harding a close range header to make it one nil.

Just two minutes after their first Reading had a second from Dan Carter. Emma Mitchell sending in the ball from a free-kick, with Carter unmarked in the six yard box to head in.

United were unable to find a way back into the game as Reading held on to win.

Arsenal 1 v 2 Manchester City

Ellen White gave City the lead after 24 minutes with a stunning finish from Chloe Kelly’s cross. A quality ball in from the right from Kelly was met by White who hammered the ball into the net.

Arsenal did have the ball in the City net thanks to a lovely piece of passing play but Jill Roord was offside.

Arsenal levelled after 57 minutes thanks to Caitlin Foord. Catching City on the break Miedema playing in Roord who then picked out Foord to score. Playing the ball back across the goal giving Ellie Roebuck no chance.

City looked for a winner and Ellen White saw her effort come back off the post before Lauren Hemp’s effort from the rebound was blocked.

City however were not to be denied a sixth straight win as Lauren Hemp got the winner in the 78th minute. Chole Kelly cutting in from the right and sending a cross in the box which was met by the head of Hemp to make it 2-1 to City.

West Ham United 1 v 1 Bristol City

After getting their first WSL win last week Bristol City had the chance to move of the foot of the table as they met West Ham. A win for West Ham would see them five points clear of City with a game in hand.

Ebony Salmon had the first chance of the game firing a volley towards goal but comfortably saved by Mackenzie Arnold. On a cold and snowy day Yana Daniels tried her luck from long range but Arnold collected.

Bristol good start was rewarded with a goal. Molly Pikes corner turned into her own net by Emily van Egmond after Arnold failed to gather the ball.

As the snow started to cover the pitch Salmon had the chance to make it 2-0 but her shot came back off the post.

The conditions not helping Bristol City keeper Sophie Baggaley failed to catch but Bristol were able to clear the loose ball.

West Ham were level four minutes after the break. Katerina Svitkova eventually scoring after a scrabble inside the Bristol City box.

Baggaley kept the score line level with a magnificent save from Laura Vetterlein’s free kick. Bristol could have won the game but a combination of last gasp defending and the woodwork meaning the side draw.

Aston Villa 1 v 0 Tottenham Hotspur

Mana Iwabuchi made two goals in four games for Villa as her goal gave Villa a 1-0 win. Out of nothing the Japanese International sent a curling shot into the far corner of the goal form 25 yards. Villa leading after 12 minutes.

Tottenham had the run of play but struggled to hit the target as shot after shot went over or wide of the goal.

Everton 1 v 1 Birmingham City

Everton took the lead at Walton Hall Park as Danielle Turner’s free kick on the edge of the box went over wall and into the bottom corner of the goal. Blues keeper Hannah Hampton left rooted to the spot from the quality of the shot.

Birmingham levelled on 34 minutes after Everton’s Izzy Christiansen was penalised for a hand ball in the box. Claudia Walker stepped up to take the spot kick, her poorly placed penalty was saved by Korpela but Jamie-Lee Napier was first to the loose ball to turn it in.

Everton pushed for the winner more in the second half but neither side could craft any real chances.