BIRMINGHAM City Ladies have seen their Women’s Super League 1 title challenge dented by successive defeats, but in her latest column captain Karen Carney says the team will not give up the chase without a fight. The first chance to get back on track is Thursday’s visit to Bristol Academy, who the Blues have already faced twice this season in league and cup. City, currently third in the table – three points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand – then travel to face Everton Ladies on Tuesday.
“THERE’S no doubt that our title chances have been damaged by our defeat (3-1) at Chelsea recently and then Sunday’s loss (2-1) at home to Arsenal, but all is not lost.
“Although we still created our fair share of chances, on the day Chelsea were better than us and they deserved to win. They’ve really hit form and have some dangerous players and, even though there were good aspects to our game, we didn’t do enough really.
“Everyone was determined to bounce back against Arsenal and our management team had called on us to give a response. We certainly provided a response with a very good performance, but we were punished for being a bit sloppy in both penalty areas.
“Box to box we played some excellent football and dominated the game for long periods, but we conceded a disappointing goal from a corner and then a second goal on the break as we chased the game.
“There were many good performances, with my England colleague Jo Potter particularly superb in midfield, but things just did not go our way for whatever reason.”
One of those days
“The Arsenal game was notable for some refereeing controversy early in the second half when we were given a free kick for an earlier infringement when we’d have rather had our player allowed to play on as she was in on goal, and then moments later we were awarded a penalty only for the decision to be changed to a corner after consultation with the assistant referee.
“It was frustrating for us no doubt, but I have never been one to criticise officials and I’m not about to start now. We didn’t get the rub of the green and it was one of those days for us in that sense, but we still contributed to our own downfall with some missed chances and some slack defending.
“Referees are assessed and reports are submitted by managers. That’s the be all and end all. It’s not for us to criticise them and you just have to get on with things.”
“This week (Thursday) we have our third game of the season against Bristol Academy and we know how hard a challenge they’ll be. They beat us in a Continental Cup game earlier in the season before we earned revenge in the home league game, so it’s yet another game in this league which is impossible to predict.
“What I do know is that they have a powerful forward line and are always a side prepared to get stuck in, so we’ll have to be at our best to beat them.
“It’s another crucial night as Chelsea are playing Arsenal, who themselves could still win the title if they continue to win their matches.
“We hope to have Kirsty Linnett available up front for us after she missed the Arsenal game through concussion.”
“On Tuesday we then play Everton who are struggling this season and we will want to put in a better performance than the 0-0 draw at home earlier in the season.
“Further down the line we have Liverpool to play at home still. That’s not one for worrying about just yet, but Liverpool are the defending champions and are second in the table, so I expect them to be a massive threat in the title race.”
“Since my last column England Women have secured qualification for next year’s World Cup in Canada thanks to our 4-0 win in Wales.
“It’s a great feeling to have scored in the game which got the job done and I’m now two caps away from 100 caps for England. That would be a proud moment, but I take nothing for granted. I must keep playing well for Blues to earn selection and then these things will look after themselves.”