Category Archives: women’s football

Leicester City Win Promotion to FA WSL

Leicester City Women secured promotion to the WSL with a 2-0 win over London City Lioness on Sunday 4th April. Goals in the second half from Samantha Tierney and Natasha Flint ensured them of a historic win. It means the club will play in the WSL for the first time in their history.

With two games to go the Foxes have run away with the league having lost just one of their 18 games. They have been on a run of 12 straight wins as they secured the title at the weekend.

Leicester City Manager Jonathan Morgan, told LCFC TV after Sundays game:

“To say we are officially WSL, it’s awesome really. We’ve got to the pinnacle of the women’s game in England and we just want to keep pushing ourselves and getting further and further with it and getting better and better.

“It’s been a long journey. It’s been seven years, where we were playing, in all honesty, off parks and out of tin sheds for changing rooms. I remember when I first started, I didn’t have even a squad. I think we only had 12 players, so to see that growth, it’s been a fantastic achievement.”

The club turned professional in August 2020 after being taken over by King Power (parent company of Leicester City). Leicester City will now be able to look forward to playing the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in the WSL next season.

Morgan hopes this will inspire more local girls to take up football saying:

“I think, for me, with the women’s game, it’s still about growing it,” he explained. “It’s still about encouraging the next generation of young female athletes and now the girls of Leicester have got a top team in the best league to look up to and to aspire to.

“I think that does more wonders than anything that we can ever think about really.”

Leicester born defender Ashleigh Plumptre admitted to becoming emotional as they closed in on the victory against London City telling LCFC TV:

“I literally looked at the badge before I walked out and then, with five minutes to go, I looked at it again and I ended up tearing up when I was on the pitch with five minutes left!

 “I don’t just play football just because I want to do well in it. I like to represent something that’s bigger than me and I’ve grown up here.

“I had to go away and then to America and then I’ve come back I’ve been able to come back to the only team that I wanted to come to. I’ve managed to do it with literally my hometown team. I have shirts [from] when I was like four years-old, going to games when the men were in the Championship.

“Now to think I’m representing my club, where I’m from, and to win… like I said, I play for something bigger than me and I play to win and to think that I’ve done that here, I literally cannot ask for anything better.”

Being the only fully professional side in the league gave Leicester added pressure, but Plumptre stated that just made the squad come together:

“Nobody wanted us to win really because we’re the only team that are fully professional. We’re provided with everything. So people want to get a one up on us and we’ve just got through all of it and now we’ve come out winners.

“Everybody’s in there celebrating together, and rightly so. It’s a season to be celebrated because I definitely think we deserve it. We’ve worked so hard and there were times where you can see it in the way that we play and the way that we talk to each other on the pitch.

“We gear each other up because we know that we can’t just win with 10, we just can’t win with 11, we have to win with everybody and, I put it out to all the girls, within the first five minutes, we were doing headers and clearances and I could hear the subs from the off.

“I really think, for me personally, it’s hard to get through a season with everything we’ve been through without things like that, without people being there when you need them. It’s not just the players, it’s the staff, too. It’s just been a huge collective effort and it’s finally come to fruition.”

Leicester can look towards next season and playing in England’s top flight as they test themselves against some of the best players in the world.

FA WSL Round up: The Blues remain top of Women Super league

Champions Chelsea remain top of the WSL after two goals from Sam Kerr earned them a win over struggling Aston Villa.

Manchester City kept the gap at the top to two points with a 87 minute winner from Chloe Kelly helped them to a one nil win over Reading.

Manchester United, meanwhile, remain in third spot as Lauren James and Cristen Press scored in a two nil win over West Ham.

Arsenal also won the North London derby by three goals over Tottenham with goals from Caitlin Foord, Vivianne Miedema and Katie McCabe.

Elsewhere, Everton hit Brighton for five, Hayley Raso getting a hat trick, while Birmingham and Bristol City drew 1-1, with Bristol moving into tenth place.

Manchester United 2 – 0 West Ham United

It was a historic day for Manchester United as they played at Old Trafford for the first time.

United had an early chance as Lauren James turned on the edge of the box and looked to put the ball into the top corner. Her effort however was comfortable for West Ham keeper Courtney Brosnan.

West Ham’s Martha Thomas made a decent run at the home side defence but put her shot wide of the goal.

United took the lead not long after half time with James scoring. West Ham failed to clear a United corner, and Maria Thorisdottir headed back across the six yard box towards James who’s flicked header from close range found the net.

It was 2-0 just six minutes later with Press getting onto Jackie Groenen’s though ball. Groenen ran at the West Ham defence and despite having her shirt tugged was able to slide the ball into the box finding the run of Press who finished with the inside of her left foot.

The home side were in control of the second half were helped as Laura Vetterlein was shown a second yellow for cynical foul.

A good win for United on their first appearance at old Trafford, midfielder Ella Tonne living the dream told BBC Sport:

“As a Manchester United fan it was a dream come true to play on such an amazing pitch so it was a special occasion and I’m glad we went out there and got the three points.”

Manager Casey Stoney was more concerned with her side performance than the venue:

“We weren’t good in the first half – that was probably the worst I’ve seen us in a long, long time, so I think there was definitely a case of the occasion. That’s done now. They know what it’s like.

“Players know when they are not good enough. I said [at half-time] if you want to qualify for Champions League football, you have to play at a Champions League standard and we weren’t.

“When we started playing collectively in the second half we were better.”

Tottenham Hotspur 0 – 3 Arsenal

Arsenal secured 3-0 win over Tottenham in the North London Derby, which was played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Caitlin Foord linked with Noelle Martiz down the Tottenham right to give The Gunners the lead after 25 minutes.

Arsenal were on top as the first half went on with Jordan Nobbs twice trying from outside the box forcing Rebecca Spencer into action. Spencer making two good saves to keep her side in the game.

The visitors pressure did tell as Vivianne Miedema made it two nil. Katie McCabe’s whipped in a corner which was met on the volley by Miedema and riffled into the top corner.

McCabe made sure of the win with Arsenals third just after the hour. A poor pass from Abbie McManus allowed McCabe into the box and she put the ball past Spencer.

Tottenham had the chance to pull a goal back but were denied by a triple save from Manuela Zinsberger.

The win keeps Arsenal in fourth just three points of Manchester United with a game in hand.

Chelsea 2- 0 Aston Villa

Chelsea cruised to victory over Aston Villa with two goals from Sam Kerr.

Kerr’s first came after 24 minutes after Fran Kirby lifted the ball into the box and Kerr looped her header over Villa keeper Lisa Weiss.

It was Kirby and Kerr who combined for the second after 57 minutes. Kirby finding Kerr in space in the box and Kerr lifted her shot over the keeper.

Kerr had the chance of a hat trick after being played in by Harder but she sent her shot just wide.

Chelsea were always in control of this game but were unable to get a third goal.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes praised the duo of Kirby and Kerr:

“Both of them are in the form of their lives and that combination is dynamite, it’s telepathic. It’s rare in football to find those things. I know that they are going to get chances in every game and it’s about capitalising on those chances.”

Manchester City 1 – 0 Reading

City left it late to clam victory at home to Reading with Kelly scoring the winner in the 87th minute.

Rose Lavelle forced Grace Moloney into a good save as City looked to gain the advantage. Moloney had to sharpe again turning away Caroline Weir’s low effort.

Reading almost took the lead as Fishlock played Eikeland in and the Norwegian International forced a good save from Ellie Roebuck.

Kelly put a good low cross across the Reading six yard line, but Stanway subsequently put it wide. A real chance to give City the lead.

Lauren Hemp saw her effort come back off the post, again coming from a Chole Kelly cross across the Reading Box.

The second half started like the first as Moloney again denied Lavelle. The American shooting from the edge of the area only to see Moloney turn it away.

It was looking like a frustrating night for City as Weir then shot over the bar.

City did get their breakthrough in the 87th minute with Chole Kelly finishing. After a mesmerizing run from Lauren Hemp, who made her way past four Reading players. She squared the ball to give Kelly a tap in.

A vital win for City in their chase for the title but heart breaking for Reading who battled and defended so well for this game.

Brighton 0 – 5 Everton

Everton put in a dominant performance as they put five past Brighton.

A mix up in the Brighton defence saw Raso fouled and Everton win a penalty. Izzy Christiansen put the penalty into the bottom left corner, Megan Walsh went the right way but unable to stop it.

Hayley Raso made it two after running past several Brighton players into the box to poke the ball into the net.

Raso had her second just after the restart. Claire Emslie taking advantage of an error by Maya Le Tissier to give Raso a easy header on the line.

Simone Magill added a fourth after more sloppy defending from the home side. Raso then got her hat trick shooting though a crowd of players to wrap up a good away day for Everton.

Birmingham City 1 – 1 Bristol City

In a relegation battle Birmingham and Bristol hap to share the points. Ruesha Littlejohn tested City keeper Sophie Baggaley early on, the Bristol keeper pushing the long range effort over the bar.

Bristol took the lead on 13 minutes, Carla Humphrey’s initial effort blocked the ball fell to Charlie Wellings who turned the ball home.

Birmingham levelled on 58 minutes thanks to Christie Murray, firing a shot into the top corner from inside the box.

Theatre Of Dreams for United Women

Manchester United Women are set to play their first ever match at Old Trafford. United’s match against West Ham will be moved to The Theatre of Dreams instead of their usual home venue of Leigh Sports Village.

A gap in the Old Trafford schedule has allowed the switch to take place. The match is scheduled to take place on Saturday 27th March with a 11.30 am kick off.

United are third in the FA WSL and are currently chasing a Champions League place. The Red Devils still have an outside chance of catching league leaders Chelsea.

The match will be played behind closed doors so United will be unable to welcome their supporters but the move shows the club’s commitment to their women’s side.

United Manager Casey Stoney told manutd.com:

“Playing at Old Trafford will obviously be a special moment in the history of this team and it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the women’s game, which has seen huge growth over the last few years.

“We, of course, will miss our fans. They are such an important part of this club and we have felt their amazing support from afar throughout the season.

“We are all eager to get them back in the stands as soon as possible and hope that there will be many more opportunities to play at Old Trafford in the future.”

Chief Operating Officer, Collette Roche added:

We are thrilled to be hosting our women’s team at Old Trafford. The international break this month created a gap in this season’s relentless programme at the stadium and we all agreed that this was the right time to welcome Casey and her squad to Old Trafford.

“We would have loved for fans to able to be there to witness this moment, but that time will come. For now, our preparations are in full swing as we set the stage to host our match with West Ham United next week”.

United to will travel to play fourth placed Arsenal on Friday 19th March before heading to Old Trafford the following week.

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.