Sunday 18 March 2012
FA WSL Continental Cup match
Lincoln Ladies made a successful start to this years Continental Cup as they travelled to Chelsea Ladies in a close run affair.
Unlike last year, a loss wouldn’t have spelt the end for the reds with the Continental Cup now taking a group stage format. However, now, a win against Liverpool would all but seal their route to the semi finals.
It was the away side who started the game the brighter and it took just four minutes for them to create their first opportunity. Sophie Walton picked up a loose ball thirty yards out, she cut in side but could only fire straight at the Chelsea ‘keeper.
The game was becoming very stop start as it entered the quarter hour mark, both sides winning a number of free kicks. It was Chelsea who came closest to scoring though as Buet whipped a ball across the box and Lincoln defender Meghan Sargeant could only flick the ball on, but thankfully for the away side, it flew just past the post.
However, no side was able to maintain constant pressure on their opposition and the Lady Imps went straight down the other end, a dangerous cross from left back Rachel Daly only just evaded the head of Megan Harris.
The rest of the half passed without too many chances for either team, the game turning into a midfield battle for the majority of the half.
Straight after half time both teams had a great chance to take the lead. First, a free kick from Collette McCallum was whipped in and evaded everyone, falling to Meghan Sargeant who couldn’t get the ball under control. Chelsea reacted well though and a clever ball split the Lincoln defence, but Lappin’s touch was heavy and the ball rolled harmlessly through to Hobbs.
Six minutes into the second half Lincoln made the breakthrough. Jess Clarke played a bending ball over the top, Williams in the Chelsea defence looked to have it under control but Precious Hamilton muscled in to steal the ball and lift it brilliantly over the Chelsea ‘keeper and high into the net.
Hamilton’s first goal for her new club had given Lincoln a real advantage. However, before they could increase their lead, Chelsea were level. Lincoln looked to counter attack from a Chelsea corner, but the ball was played back over the top to Bleazard, the winger took the ball down and finished calmly into the bottom corner.
The floodgates looked to have opened and Lincoln almost got the lead back just five minutes later. Jess Clarke cut in front the right hand side and bent a shot against the post, the rebound falling to Megan Harris, the tireless midfielder reacted well but her follow up was cleared off the line. From the resultant corner Lincoln retook the lead, Staniforth stepped up and curled the corner into the near post, where it beat everyone and flew in to the back of the net.
The last twenty minutes continued in the same end to end fashion as the first seventy had been, but Chelsea weren’t able to find the all important equaliser.
Lincoln manager Glen Harris was delighted with the character his side showed, “we looked good and I think we played really well and deserved to take the lead. After we conceded we were a bit shaky but then we got the lead back and I think we dominated from there.”
This was the first time the Lincolnshire side have beaten Chelsea and Glen feels this shows the progress his side has made. “We made a few changes today but the team reacted well. That’s the first time we’ve beaten Chelsea, and with the performance last week, it really is pleasing.”
Lincoln’s next game sees the Super League kick off as they host Birmingham Ladies on April 8th at Ashby Avenue.