This was supposed to be Jess Fishlock’s farewell to Reading. Having joined the club on loan for 8 months, she was finishing up and heading back stateside to re-join OL Reign ahead of the NWSL season. In her pre-match video, she touched on her team’s frustrating inconsistencies, stating it made the wins more difficult to enjoy. The match that was to follow was the perfect example of this and if Reading were hoping to give her something to celebrate in her final fixture, it wasn’t to be.
Today is a ground-breaking day in the history of the women’s game in England. The announcement of a three-year rights agreement with Sky Sports and the BBC to broadcast the Barclays FAWSL from next season is another huge WOW moment in its progress.
At 14:30 on Sunday, Bristol City will walk out at Vicarage Road for their first ever appearance in the Continental Cup final. It is a feat than even just a few weeks ago seemed slightly impossible.
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.