THE TASK of qualifying for the Women’s Champions League is now ‘monumental’ according to Birmingham City Ladies boss David Parker after watching his side drop two points away at Reading Ladies on Sunday.
Reading almost punished the Blues for a lacklusture first half by taking the lead two minutes after the break through a Melissa Fletcher, but Bella Linden rescued the Blues with a later equaliser two minutes from time.
The draw leaves the Blues five points off second-placed Chelsea, but they have played a game in hand on their rivals and Parker knows it was two points dropped in the quest for European football.
“It’s hard to take and we know it’s going to be a massive up hill struggle to finish in the top two,” said Parker. “We have a mountain to climb and we’ve got to hope other results go our way now.
“We knew that if we’d won on Sunday and against Doncaster then we would have gone into the Chelsea game all guns blazing.
“It was a massive. It was two points extra points that we should have come away with had we decided to turn up in the first half.
“It was as simple as that. We’ve played really well in the second half. They produced a great performance but we cause our own downfalls.
“We didn’t even give ourselves a platform to build off, we shot ourselves in the foot, wasted 45 minutes and we’ve given ourselves a monumental mountain to climb for Champions League football now.
“We could have pushed on and nicked the winner and probably everyone would have said rightly so towards the end the way it went on, but when we look back at the whole performance, we have to look back and think we got what we deserved, and that was a draw.”
Despite Sunday’s disappointment there were positives to take out of the match for the Blues, with Linden scoring her first goal for her new club and there was also a first team debut for teenager Connie Scofield, who came on as a second half substitute.
“I’m absolutely delighted for Bella (Linden) to get off the mark. It was a great finish and you can see she’s got real quality. That’s the difference at this level in front of goal.
“What a debut for Connie Scofield. It was a great performance. Connie is a great hope for the future. She has wonderful ability and she’ll go on to make a mark in women’s football that’s for sure.
“She just has to keep working hard and continue learning all the time but we’ve seen what she can bring to a game already.
“She could have won it for us at the end, but it was unfortunate for her, that would have capped off a great debut and she probably deserved that goal based on her performance but we’re all delighted for her. We’ll keep churning the players out off the Academy conveyor belt and we always will do.”
Up next for the Blues is a trip to Doncaster this Saturday and Parker is confident they can maintain their unbeaten run and challenge for the Continental Cup.
He added: “We’ve given ourselves a chance but I think we’ve got to hope for too many things to go our way now.
“There’s four teams in the mix and we’ve got to hope for probably too much with the points target and the way Arsenal and Chelsea are kicking on.
“But we’ve got our eyes on the Continental Cup. I want to bring some silverware to this club – I want to bring the good times back.
“We want to be considered one of the ‘big dogs’ in the division, but when you give 45 minutes like we did on Sunday, you can’t put yourself at that level.
“There are so many positives though. We’re still ten games unbeaten, we put in a great second half display, we could have still nicked it and it’s frustrating to say those words because we’re right on the cusp again.
“We are that close to being absolutely great sometimes but we don’t do ourselves any favours.”