Not safe yet O’Neill warns Stoke despite crucial Birmingham win
Stoke manager Michael O’Neill insists his side are not safe yet despite their 2-0 win over Birmingham City.
Danny Batth bundled home from close range to give Stoke a 12thminute lead and Sam Clucas doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time as the hosts opened up a four-point gap on the relegation zone. O’Neill said: “We have to get as much as we can out of the final three games, but it’s nice to get to a point where you think another result will be enough.”
Birmingham, who sit 18th after a fourth succesive league loss, have the same points as Stoke, but worse goal difference. minute’s silence for their club’s record appearance-maker, they put on a 90-minute display that encapsulated the great man’s belligerence and belief.
It was not pretty and did not begin to resemble their 5-0 waltz against Stoke City
– but Charlton would have approved.
Of course, it was a falsehood when critics accused Charlton’s tactics of being exclusively those of the hefty boot and the blind gallop, but it cannot be doubted he revelled in the roll-upyour-sleeves challenge.
Swansea only needed a point to leap above Cardiff City, their nearest and dearest, into the play-off places and, after perhaps shading the first half, they bedded down for that scenario in the last quarter.
With Bielsa screaming “again, again” like a sadist in a dentist’s chair, Leeds continuously streamed forward. Patrick Bamford will never know how Freddie Woodman turned away his diving header in the 64th minute, then in the 80th minute Jack Harrison’s effort saw only skylight.
Hernandez, the former Swansea favourite, was responsible for both chances and it was inevitable the immutable law of the ex would apply when the visitors finally found a way through.
The 35-year-old has hamstring problems and has yet to start since the resumption, but the creativity and nous he brought when appearing after the break surely identifies him as the ideal influence to steer these youngsters across the line. When Luke Ayling pulled it back, the savvy Senor was there to side-foot the ball in off a post, and so the entire squad and the coaches euphorically joined the mass huddle at a corner flag. Well, all but one. “When you score at the end it’s a higher feeling,” Bielsa said. “But I cannot enjoy this. The only thing I can enjoy is the last objective – if we get it.”
(4-3-1-2) Woodman (Mulder 90+3); Naughton, Cabango, Guehi (Celina 90+1), Bidwell (Cullen 90+1); Roberts, Fulton (Byers 90+1), Grimes; Gallagher; Ayew, Brewster (Routledge 81). Dyer, Kalulu, Dhanda, Van der Hoorn. Brewster, Fulton. (4-4-1-1) Meslier; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas (Alioski, h-t); Costa (Shackleton 90+2), Phillips, Klich, Harrison (Beradi 90+5); Roberts (Hernandez h-t); Bamford. Miazek (g), Douglas, Poveda-Ocampo, Struijk, Bogusz.
Klich, Harrison, Hernandez.
Keith Stroud (Hampshire).
Chloe Morgan, the former Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper, has shed further light on the gulf in resources between Premier League clubs and their top-flight female counterparts, saying women players should not feel like “secondclass citizens” to a men’s team.
Morgan left Tottenham at the beginning of last month after her contract expired and yesterday announced her move to Women’s Championship side Crystal Palace.
Last week, the 30-year-old revealed her values had “not always aligned” with Tottenham, a club where she spent six years, but has since spoken up about issues she previously felt were “difficult and conflicting” to address as a player.
“Things could be better for the women’s side in terms of equality,” Morgan said on the Women’s Football Show. “I’m ready to stand up and speak out against that.
“That’s with the intention of making things better for the next generation of players. I never want a situation where [members of] a women’s team feel like they’re second-class citizens to a men’s team.”
Speaking about her time at Spurs, she added: “In terms of being part of the men’s set-up, there could have been ways in which we could have used the facilities better, we could have been in a situation where we could have met the men’s team a little bit more often.”
Spurs have refuted those claims, with a club spokesman saying the club remain “fully committed” to
Stinging exit: Chloe Morgan said she was ready to speak out against inequality
their “evolving” women’s set-up. “Equality and inclusion is of paramount importance to us as a club. Our men’s players have shown cohesiveness with our women’s team by attending matches in support, engaging with them on social media and appearing alongside them at community events as we recognise that our men’s and women’s players provide equal inspiration to young people within our area.”
Tottenham split their women’s training across the Hive in London – which is shared with men’s National League side Barnet – and Spurs’s elite training centre.
Where the women’s side train is “based on logistics and in compliance with regulations pertaining to gender appropriate changing areas”, a club spokesman added.
Tottenham women also have full access to medical provision at all times, but Morgan suggested such rudimentary measures were not enough, adding: “There were just things that would go on behind the scenes that I just feel need to be addressed. There were instances where I definitely felt the cohesion between the two teams could have been a lot better.”