KAREN Carney’s brace secured a precious 2-1 victory for Birmingham City Ladies at Manchester City Women on Sunday which has kept alive the Blues’ chances of clinching the FA Women’s Super League 1 title.
Victory lifted David Parker’s side into second place in the table – two points behind leaders Chelsea – ahead of Sunday’s final game at home to Notts County, against whom victory could clinch the title should Chelsea slip up at Manchester City.
With qualification for next season’s Champions League guaranteed with a victory, Carney and her team-mates have everything to play for this coming weekend, as the skipper talks about in her latest column.
“WE WERE thrilled to win at Manchester City to keep our title hopes alive. On a personal level it was pleasing to score both our goals but the result was all that mattered.
“It was a hard fought game against a quality side with lots of good players and pleasing to come out on the right end of a tight match, having seen a few go against us in recent weeks.
“We were the better team in the first half and deserved to be 1-0 up but we knew Man City would come at us hard in the second half and that’s exactly what they did, scoring a goal of the season contender through Jill Scott to equalise.
“However, we kept going and Kirsty (Linnett) was alert enough to capitalise on a mistake from their keeper to set me up for the winner. I struck the ball well and it was a great feeling to win an important game late on.
“Hannah Keryakoplis made a big difference for us when she came on midway through the second half. She was clever in the way she played and changed the game for us and I’m pleased for her as she’s a good player who has had to bide her time for chances this season.”
Change of fortune
“REFEREEING controversies in some of our recent matches have been well documented and we have been considered unlucky by many to have lost matches against Arsenal and Liverpool as a result of contentious decisions.
“I don’t like to dwell on these things but the management had spoken to us about maintaining our focus and not feeling sorry for ourselves, urging us to believe something would go our way soon.
“As it happened, the mistake from Man City’s keeper gave us the chance to win the game and perhaps that’s a bit of justice if you want to call it that. We have felt unlucky on several occasions but this time we got the win and it’s left us in good shape going into the final match.”
“IT WOULD mean everything to the girls to win the league this weekend, but that’s out of our hands. That’s a shame after being top of the table for a long period but everyone really has given 100 per cent and that’s all we can do.
“We have to try and get the win against a good Notts County side who play football the right way and who have a very good forward in Jess Clarke and a manager who I have a lot of time for, Rick Passmoor.
“If we do that, then of course we’ll be hoping for favours from Man City against Chelsea. Man City have a Continental Cup final against Arsenal the following midweek so may rest players. Who knows? That’s their prerogative.
“We must focus on ourselves and, having moved back into second place, do have the knowledge that victory will give us Champions League football again.”
Season to savour
“SUNDAY is a fun day at Solihull Moors as the club launch the BCLFC Former Players’ Association (see the Blues’ Ladies website for more details). There will be lots of fun activities for the kids to enjoy and after the game the squad will be spending time with the fans to thank them for their support this season.
“It will be a time to celebrate because we have given everything this season and enjoyed some fine moments. It would be the icing on the cake to be celebrating the title but, whatever happens, the team can be proud of this campaign.”