Birmingham City Ladies 0-0 Reading
Women’s Premier League
A HARD fought goalless draw at home to newly promoted Reading saw Birmingham City Ladies extend their unbeaten run to four matches as David Parker’s side moved up to third in the Women’s Super League.
Both sides had chances to snatch all three points but on reflection both managers could be pleased to have picked up a point at the Automated Technology Group Stadium on Thursday evening.
Dave Parker’s side came into the match on three-game unbeaten run and they made a confident start with Abbey Stronger firing wide from the edge of the area with four minutes played.
The home support were crying out for a penalty with nine minutes gone when it looked as though Jo Potter was brought down by Reading goalkeeper Mary Earps but the referee waved away the strong protests.
Blues continued to press with Melissa Lawley hitting a curling shot over the bar and Freda Ayisi saw her shot deflected wide.
Reading had made a fairly quiet start but as the half progressed they soon found their feet in the match.
On 16 minutes Jess Carter made a brave challenge to break up a dangerous attack and a mistake at the back by Sophie Baggaley presented a shooting chance for Rachel Rowe but she could not take advantage and the ball was cleared to safety.
Chances were few and far between for the hosts as Reading grew with confidence and the visitors ended the half strongly.
Blues skipper Emily Westwood had to be brave to block a powerful Laura Walkley shot but the best chance of the half fell to the impressive Emma Follis on 35 minutes.
Hines was given space to deliver and inch-perfect cross from the right which found Follis unmarked in the area but her volley was well saved by the alert Baggaley.
The half-time whistle was met with a sense of relief by Parker’s side who had weathered the storm and at half-time both Jade Moore and Remi Allen were introduced to bulk up the midfield.
An early chance in the second half saw Lawley free inside the area but instead of going for goal she elected to pull the ball back but it was eventually cleared from danger, while at the other end Baggaley had to be alert to keep out Rachel Rowe’s long range effort.
The hosts began to stamp their authority on the patch with Moore and Allen proving effective but they failed to find the all important breakthrough.
Moore had a great chance to score her first goal of the season on 63 minutes but she could not find the target as her volley drifted wide.
Reading always looked dangerous on the break and they almost got their noses in front against the run of play three minutes later when Amber Stobbs’s deflected shot looked to be going in but Baggaley made another smart stop to keep her clean sheet intact.
With 20 minutes remaining Blues stepped up their search for a goal and created several clear cut chances to go ahead.
Ayisi could not get enough to Moore’s pull back in front of goal and Moore herself unleashed a powerful 30-yard strike that whistled inches wide of goal.
Player of the match Jess Carter produced an excellent tackle to block off Follis at the other end before the best chance of the match fell to the Blues 15 minutes from time.
Harrop linked well with Lawley down the left before sending across a dangerous cross which was met by Ayisi but her glancing header dropped narrowly wide of goal.
With five minutes added on for injury-time there was one final throw of the dice by the Blues but again Moore was wasteful, this time dragging her low show wide of goal in what proved to be the final opportunity of the match.
Team: Baggaley, Carter, Harrop, Mannion, Westwood, Peplow (Moore 45), Stringer (Brazil 79), Potter, Wellings (Allen 45), Ayisi, Lawley
Subs not used – Scofield, Edwards, Brown, Johnson