Tre­ble chance is blown by Blues


The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Joshua Richards

CHELSEA skip­per Gilly Fla­herty con­ceded her team were sec­ond best against Birm­ing­ham City as their dream of win­ning the do­mes­tic tre­ble died last week­end.

The FA Cup win­ners and WSL 1 lead­ers were look­ing to con­tinue their progress in the Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup as they seek to­tal dom­i­na­tion.

But a stun­ning free-kick from Jo Pot­ter, backed up by a res­o­lute per­for­mance from Birm­ing­ham’s back five, saw Chelsea fail to score for only the fourth time this sea­son.

And Fla­herty ad­mit­ted her team got what they de­served.

“We wanted to go one bet­ter than last sea­son when we reached the semi-fi­nal, but we weren’t the bet­ter team,” said the 30year-old.

“I don’t think the task of go­ing for the tre­ble af­fected us in any way. If you are up there with the best, you want to be com­pet­ing in ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion.

“Don’t take any of the credit away from Birm­ing­ham. They’ve been fight­ing for sur­vival and, in a way, had noth­ing to lose in this com­pe­ti­tion.

“They came out fight­ing and bat-- tling. They showed up and we didn’t.”

Liver­pool will join Birm­ing­ham in the semi-fi­nals af­ter Natasha Dowie struck four times in their 4-1 de­feat of Bristol Academy.

The teams were level at half-time af­ter Jade Boho-Sayo can­celled out Dowie’s 35th-minute penalty.

But the 27-year-old was un­stop­pable af­ter the break, rat­tling in three more and Ang­harad James ad­mit­ted Dowie was sim­ply too hot to han­dle.

“We knew be­fore the game what a good player Tash Dowie is and we had a plan to try and stop the sup­ply to her, but it ob­vi­ously didn’t work,” said James.

“The story of our sea­son is that some of our per­for­mances have been ok, but there’s not been enough end prod­uct and that was the case again.”

At Meadow Lane, Notts County de­fender Alex Greenwood struck two min­utes from time to end Read­ing’s brave chal­lenge in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The sole WSL 2 team left in the draw stood toe-to-toe with the FA Cup run­ners-up.

He­len Ward and Melissa Fletcher scored in re­ply to strikes from Aileen Whe­lan and Greenwood, and the quar­ter-fi­nal looked des­tined to go to ex­tra-time un­til the Eng­land full­back curled in the win­ner.

“It was a great game for the neu­tral,” said Lady Pies boss Rick Pass­moor. “We’ve now been in four semi-fi­nals over the past two sea­sons, so it’s show­ing you the progress.”

The other quar­ter-fi­nal be­tween Ar­se­nal and Manch­ester City was post­poned, af­ter the lat­ter were charged by the FA for field­ing an in­el­i­gi­ble player against Sun­der­land in the group stage.

In the week­end’s only league con­test, Yeovil Town and Ever­ton played out a 0-0 stale­mate at Huish Park to hin­der the pro­mo­tion prospects of both.

Sarah Wilt­shire was guilty of miss­ing the Glovers’ best chance as the clock ticked down.

Con­se­quently, Ever­ton are now nine points be­hind sec­ond-placed Read­ing with four to play, while Yeovil are five points off the top two hav­ing played a game more.


HOT-POT: Jo Pot­ter’s free-kick is too good for Chelsea keeper Hed­vig Lin­dahl SMART ALEX: Notts County’s Alex Greenwood cel­e­brates af­ter net­ting the Lady Pies’ late win­ner against Read­ing

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