Tag Archives: Beth Mead

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. 

WSL UPdate: Manchester United top of tree at Xmas

Manchester United continue to lead the way in the WSL after dishing out a 6-1 thrashing to Bristol City. Two each for Leah Galton and Tobin Heath along with goals from Jessica Sigsworth and Millie Turner means that United will go into Christmas as league leaders.

Arsenal, meanwhile, kept the pressure on after a 4-0 win over Everton, meant that they remain in second place. Reading beat Brighton 3-1 with Jess Fishlock starring getting two goals and an assist. Elsewhere, Birmingham against Manchester City was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Manchester United 6-1 Bristol City

Bristol City are still searching for a first win of the season and had the first real chance of the game. A long ball from inside their half over the top of the United defence allowed Ebony Salmon to get behind Amy Turner. After lifting the ball over Mary Earps her effort went wide.

United came back though with Ona Batlle long range effort pushed over by Sophie Baggaley. Tobin Heath also hit one from distance putting the ball on to the top of the bar.

City were trying to sit deep and narrow to frustrate United, but Leah Galton found a pocket of space on the edge of the area. Turning to create herself a little space she fired a shot with her left foot into the roof of the net.

Baggaley could do nothing about Galton’s effort but she was in fine form to stop Heath’s close range effort with a wonderful reaction save.

United were two up in first half stoppage time thanks to Millie Turner, from a Katie Zelem corner. Zelem put the ball across the six yard box and Turner powered in at the far post to head into the goal.

It was 3-0 after 52 minute’s, Jessica Sigsworth after going down as Bristol defended Heath’s corner. Sigsworth was up quickly to smash home after Bristol failed to clear.

Galton made it 4-0 to United with another stunning goal. Toone’s pass spilt the Bristol defence to find Galton on the outside of the box. Galton struck beautifully into the far corner from a tight angle.

Bristol City caught United on the break on 72 minutes, a long ball finding Salmon behind the defence again. Earps saved the initial shot but the ball fell back to Salmon and she found the net.

United’s fifth came from Heath, chipping the ball over Baggaley from outside the box. Heath got her second just three minutes later, Hayley Ladd sliding the ball to Heath who shot low to get her second of the game.

United stay top two points ahead of Arsenal, but for Bristol City they remain bottom with just two points and yet to pick up a win.

Arsenal 4-0 Everton

Arsenal were ahead after just four minutes, Beth Mead’s run inside the area and ball across the six yard both gave Jordan Nobbs a simple tap in.

Six minutes later Arsenal were two up with another tap in this time for Caitlin Foord. Jill Roord’s ball across the box found Catlin Foord in space and she tapped in from inside the six yard box.

Nobbs capitalised on some poor Everton defending to set up Roord but her effort was well saved by Maciver.

Just after the hour Arsenal had their third. Katie McCabe’s corner was met at the far post Jen Beattie. Beattie headed into an empty net after Maciver came and failed to punch the ball away.

Mead made it four with a stunning curling shot from outside the box. Mead curled the ball into the far corner leaving the Everton keeper no chance.

Foord had the chance to make it five breaking though the Everton defence, but was met by Maciver who stood her ground well and saved well as Mead tried to go around her.

Arsenal are second and four points behind Manchester United. Everton sit fifth with 14 points.

Brighton 1-3 Reading

Reading took the lead in this game on 17 minutes thanks to Fishlock. A poor pass from Fliss Gibbons was latched onto by Fishlock, taking the ball to edge of the area she fired low into the bottom corner.

Brighton levelled on 21 minutes with a Inessa Kaagman Penalty. After working into the Reading box a heavy tackle from Denna Copper gave the referee an easy decision. Kaagman sent the keeper the wrong way to fire home form the spot kick.

Reading took the lead just before half time, Fishlock getting her second. After getting the ball into the box, the deflected cross fell to Fishlock, controlling the ball on the chest then smashing the ball in from close range.

After the break Brighton had an early chance to level. Gibbons’ long range shot was saved and Whelan’s follow up went wide.

Fishlock was in fine form as she attempted a long range effort as she looked to get het hat-trick. Playing a nice one two she shot just wide of the goal.

Reading sealed the points in stoppage time with Rachel Rowe getting the goal. Winning the ball on half way it fell to Fishlock who drove forward and played a clever pass to Rowe. Rowe with a lovely chip over the keeper and after hitting the far post and being cleared off the line, the assistant referee flagged that it crossed the line.

Reading are currently sixth on 13 points while Brighton are ninth with 8 points.

The WSL returns on January 9th as Aston Villa host Arsenal and Manchester City will host West Ham United.

FA Womens Football Weekend Round up

Womens Football took centre stage this weekend with the FA’s Women’s Football Weekend. A thrilling Manchester derby, Second City derby and a London derby all part of this weekends action.

Second City is Blue

Villa Park was the venue for the Second City derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Villa had the first chances, Birmingham failing to fully clear a corner but a tame shot went wide. Villa had real chance to break the deadlock when Shania Hayles dispossessed Rachel Corsie on the edge of the box. Hayles’ shot though was straight at Birmingham keeper Hannah Hampton.

Birmingham’s first chance came from Mollie Green, a curling effort from the edge off the box taken comfortably by Lisa Weiss in the Villa goal. Green had another chance after being played in behind the Villa defence. Again though an easy one for the Villa Keeper.

The Blues continued to look for the opener in the second half. A poor clearance from the Villa keeper found Mollie Green but her shot went wide. Villa’s first chance of the second half came from a free kick out on the right. Whipped high towards the far post the ball was met on the volley by Marisa Ewers, but once again the shot was wide.

The deadlock was broken on 72 minutes by Birmingham with Claudia Walkers fifth goal of the season. Lucy Whipp crossing from the byline, Elisha N’Dow’s headed clearance only found Walker who smashed her shot on to the underside of the bar and in the back of the net.

Despite pressing for an equalizer Birmingham disciplined performance restricted Villa to a few half chances. A good day for the blue side of the City this weekend.

Saturday’s other matches saw Everton and Reading draw 1-1. Everton open the scoring on 39 minutes thanks to Simone Magill. Some good interplay from Everton down the right saw Nicoline Sorenson in space inside the box. Her shot was saved by Reading keeper Grace Moloney, but the loose ball was headed in by Magill. Reading leveled before half time. Jess Fishlock long pass found Welsh team-mate Natasha Harding free on the right. Harding lifted the ball over into the far corner of the goal. Both teams pushed for a winning goal in the second half.

First Point for Bristol City

Bristol City hosted Tottenham and Bristol took the lead on 37 minutes from a Chole Logarzo penalty. A back heel from Ebony Salmon found Florence May Allen in the box, she was brought down by Siri Worm. Bristol who were hit for 8 last week by Man City couldn’t hold on to the lead. Just five minutes late it was Worm getting Tottenham level. With a free-kick deep on the right side her curling cross flew past everyone in to the net.

Tottenham took the lead on 64 minutes Worm involved again. A floated cross into the box was headed in from close range by Ashleigh Neville. Rianna Dean got a straight red for a late challenge on Bristol keeper sophie Baggaley. Bristol were able to clam their first point of the season with a second in stoppage time. A hopeful long ball from Jemma Purfield found Ebony Salmon who had got ahead of the Spurs defence. As the ball came down she fired it into the net to make it 2-2.

Arsenal Miss Chance to go Top

Arsenal missed a chance to go top on Sunday after drawing at home with Chelsea. Arsenal hit the bar twice from Foord’s long range effort latching on to a loose pass from Sophie Ingle. The shot bouncing off the bar twice before Chelsea cleared.

The first chance in the second half fell to Chelsea with Beth England shooting over the bar. Katie McCabe made an important block from a shot form Erin Cuthbert. Arsenal had the lead on 86 minutes as Miedema beat Millie Bright for pace down the left. Miedema played the ball across the box for Beth mead to put the ball into the net. Chelsea levelled on 90 minutes, Pernille harder whipping a cross from the by-line which took a wicked defection of Carlotte Wubben-Moy.

The draw means Arsenal stay second a point behind Manchester United. Chelsea are third but have a game in hand which if they win could see them go top.

Sundays other game saw Brighton beat West Ham by a goal to nil. Rianna Jarrett getting the only goal of the game on 69 minutes. Lifting the ball over the Hammers keeper, Jarrett headed in from close range. Brighton are eighth on eight points while West Ham are ninth on four points.

Womens FA Cup quarter Final Preview

2019/2020 FA Cup Resumes

As strange as its sounds to talk about FA Cup Quarter Finals in September, with all that’s going on in the world credit to the FA for finishing last season Women’s FA Cup.

FA Director of the women’s professional game Kelly Simmons said:

“A significant amount of work has been going on behind the scenes to ensure the Women’s FA Cup can be completed and I am delighted that we have received the necessary approval for its conclusion”.

Simmons continued:

“The Women’s FA Cup is a showpiece fixture in the football calendar and because of that there was a huge appetite for the remaining rounds to be played”.

The show piece final will take place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 31st of October. But before that we have the quarter and semi finals to be played.

The quarter finals will take place this weekend starting with the north London derby on Saturday (Kick off 17:15). The winners of this will face the winners of Leicester City v Manchester City who met on Sunday at 14:00. Also on Sunday Everton host Chelsea at 13:00 with the winners facing Brighton or Birmingham who will face off at 14:00.

All games will be played behind closed doors. Arsenal’s game with Tottenham will be shown on BBC2 from 5pm on Saturday. While Everton v Chelsea will be streamed on the FA Player.

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal head into this derby fixture having gotten off to a flying start in the WSL. With 9-1 and 6-1 wins over West ham and Reading respectively. The gunners have been on fire in front of goal. Tottenham however have suffered defeat to Everton 1-0 and drew with West ham 1-1.

New Arsenal player Steph Catley spoke to the clubs website about the competition:

“Its a brand new experience for me. the reason you play football is to win trophies, so to come in at such a late stage and be really close to winning one is really exciting”

Arsenal boast a wealth of international talent within their squad. Dutch midfielder Jill Roord has had a great start with six goals in two games. While fellow Netherlands international Vivianne Miedema has scored four goals so far. The Gunners also boast the likes of England stars Beth Mead and Jordan Nobbs, Dutch attacker Danielle Van de Donk and Scotland international Kim Little. Joe Montemurro’s side, therefore, must be considered heavy favourites.

Tottenham will be no push over’s, however, after recently signing US legend and World Cup winner Alex Morgan. Alex spoke to the club website about coming to play in England:

“I’ve heard so many great things about the WSL and some of my team-mates from the national team have come over and signed with other clubs in the WSL”. “I wanted to challenge myself and play in a different league”.

Players To Watch

For Arsenal Jill Roord and Vivianne Miedema have been scoring for fun. Jordan Nobbs and Danielle Van de Donk will also play an important part for Arsenal. As for Tottenham Australia defender Alanna Kennedy will need to be at her best. Anna Filbey will be looking to continue her good form, after Wales’ narrow 1-0 defeat to Norway. But there could be a staring role for Alex Morgan who may make her first appearance.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham

Everton V Chelsea

Everton host Chelsea in Sundays early game Kick off 13:00. The game will be streamed live on the FA Player.

Everton head into this game on the back of two wins in the WSL. A 1-0 victory over Tottenham and a 4-0 win over Bristol City. Lucy Graham scored twice in the win over Bristol while Isobel Christiansen got the winner against Tottenham.

Chelsea opened the WSL with at draw away to Manchester United (1-1) with a goal from Sam Kerr. In their second game they hammered Bristol City by nine goals. Kirby, Mjelde, Leupolz, Cuthbert, Bright, England, Charles, Harder and Kerr all getting on the scoresheet.

In the last five meeting between these side Chelsea have won four and there has been one draw. Everton’s last win was in 2013 when they won 3-2.

Players To Watch

For Everton Ingrid Wold the Norwegian international helped Norway to a 1-0 win over Wales on Tuesday will be key to stopping Chelsea’s So-Yun Ji, Fran kirby and Beth England. Scotland international Lucy Graham has two goals for the season and will be looking to add more.

For Chelsea they have world stars right across the squad. Norwegian trio Maren Mjelde, Maria Thorisdottir and Guro Reiten. Sophie Ingle, So-Yon Ji, Fran Kirby can all change games. While Sam Kerr is one of the best strikers in the world.

Prediction: Everton 0-4 Chelsea

Brighton V Birmingham City

These sides met each other on the opening day of the WSL season. Brighton won the game by two goals to nil, with stikes from Megan Connolly and Inessa Kaagman. The score flattered the Blues as Brighton hit fifteen attempts to their four.

Brighton’s second game saw them hold Man City to a goalless draw. They sit in sixth place after two games. After finishing ninth at the early end of last season Brighton will want to push on this season.

Birmingham’s poor start continued with a 5-2 defeat to Manchester United. They did lead in the match after conceding early. A Claudia Walker equaliser and an own goal from Abbie McManus giving them a brief lead. United leveled before the break, then hit three without reply in the second half.

Players to Watch

For Brighton Inessa Kaagman and Kayleigh Green will be important. Also 18 year old english defender Maya Le Tissier has looked a great talent in the first two rounds of the WSL. Birmingham will be looking for more goals from Claudia Walker.

Prediction: Brighton 2-0 Birmingham City

Leicester City v Manchester City

Leicester enter the quarter finals as the only Championship side remaining in the competition. They have begun their season with a 3-0 win over Blackburn and a 2-2 draw with Sheffield United. They sit second in the championship on goal difference.

FA Cup holders Manchester City have a win and draw in their opening WSL fixtures. City boss Gareth Taylor spoke to clubs website ahead of this game saying:

“The girls are under no illusions that we need to be better in the final third with our decision-making and final action where it matters”.

Taylor continued:

“Goals are important and of course, we don’t want to concede any. Its a positive in that respect- we’ve had two clean sheets”.

Aoife Mannion, Megan Campbell and Lauren Hemp are all confirmed to be out of contention though injuries. In positive news though Rose Lavelle may get her first start.

Players to Watch

For Leicester Natasha Flint has three goals in two games for the season. Millie Farrow has one goal in one and is another Leicester player to watch. Manchester City have an outstanding squad of international players, however, keep an eye on American pair Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis.

Prediction: Leicester City 0-3 Manchester City