Amongst the big-name derbies that this set of mid-week fixtures in the Barclays FAWSL presented, there was another game that was of equal importance. As the relegation battle heats up at the bottom, Brighton hosted West Ham in a game that would provide vital relief to whichever side could seal the victory.
There have been many surprises in the Barclays FAWSL this season, but the development of Birmingham City has certainly been one of them. They may currently sit 11th in the table but have multiple games in hand over their rivals and have conceded the least number of goals (16) of anyone outside the top four. They produced another shock on Sunday afternoon, earning a valuable point away to Everton.
The stakes were raised on Saturday afternoon as Aston Villa returned to league action in a somewhat precarious position near the bottom of the table. With their game against Arsenal falling foul of the weather last weekend, Bristol’s first win of the season narrowed the gap as the relegation battle in the Barclays FAWSL heats up.
This weekend’s Barclays FAWSL action started with a potentially significant fixture at Twerton Park as the relegation battle gathers pace. Brighton travelled to Bristol, sitting seven points over the league’s bottom side but well aware that in football the tide can turn very quickly.
Football, as with any walk of life, is made up of a multitude of characters. The naturally skilled; the hard workers; the energisers; the personalities – these attributes are not mutually exclusive, but they are all part of why we follow the game passionately.
Every so often, you come across a footballer who encapsulates the lot. Jill Scott is one such individual – a skilled but tough opponent on the field with an undeniably engaging and infectious nature off it.
The resilience of this season’s Reading side has not gone unnoticed. Yes, they have struggled to score goals, but they have five draws to their name this season, including Manchester City and Everton, while they took Manchester United pretty close.
This time last year, we were preparing for another She Believes Cup in America, unaware of all the things 2020 was going to throw at us. For Phil Neville and England, they were struggling for form off the back of the World Cup in France, but were heading into the tournament as cup holders with hopes of a fresh start.
Could this be the moment that will spark Bristol City’s season into life?
The Vixens have not had an easy time of it so far this campaign. They sit at the bottom of the Barclays FAWSL, having shipped 45 goals and without a win. But on a rainy Wednesday night in Twerton (what else does it do in the south west?!), they displayed the sort of resilience that might just give them a chance.
Just when you thought 2020 was bad enough, the first week of 2021 has gotten off to a rather tricky start for women’s football. As fans of the game first of all, it has been tough to follow and process as confusion, frustration and at times anger has swelled. To those who say the women’s game is boring, strap in.