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Birmingham City 4 (Williams 7,27, Carney 37,70) Bristol Academy 0
Birmingham City gave a commanding performance to lead the WSL standings at the end of the first round of matches, beating Bristol Academy 4-0 at Stratford on Thursday.
Rachel Williams and Karen Carney shared the honours with an equal share of goals and assists as
Blues totally dominated their opponents. But for fine goalkeeping by Siobhan Chamberlain, the result would have been even more embarrassing for Academy as they were overrun in midfield and completely unable to construct any forward momentum until late in the match.
The opening goal was of the highest quality as Jade Moore swept a pass beyond the defence for Carney on the right to pick out Wiliams who buried a first time finish on seven minutes. Williams was involved in everything at this stage, forcing a fine save by Chamberlain from a looping 15-yard header.
Carney delivered a left footed free kick which seemed to have evaded everyone until met inches from the ground by a Williams diving header from about four yards out for 2-0 on 27 minutes. Williams then turned provider, releasing Carney for a cool finish on 37 minutes to give Blues a decisive and deserved half time advantage.
Atfer such a high tempo display, it was not surprising that Birmingham were slightly less dominant after the break, though they always looked the likelier to score. Academy did manage to build a few attacks of their own and give their back four some respite. However, Marie Hourihan's goal was never really threatened and Birmingham's back four dealt comfortably with their forward line.
Inevitably, Williams and Carney were involved in the fourth goal on 70 minutes. When Academy gave away possession twenty yards out , it was Carney's clever dummy which released Williams, whose effort was well saved by Chamberlain, only for Carney to finish from 15 yards despite skipper Corinne Yorston's attempt to clear off the line.
Despite the dynamic duo grabbing the attention, other Blues players were also very impressive with Moore, Emily Westwood and Jo Potter running the midfield and the back four solid when the occasional Yorston set piece threatened in the first half . Academy will need to find another gear in their FA Women's Cup Semi Final against Liverpool on Sunday and their next WSL match away to Arsenal next Thursday.
Birmingham City: Marie Hourihan, Kerys Harrop, Laura Bassett, Sally Stanton, Chelsea Weston, Jo Potter, Jade Moore, Karen Carney, Dunia Susi (sub Stef Curtis 76mins), Rachel Williams (sub Isobel Christiensen 72mins), Emily Westwood. Subs not used: Jess Wright, Faye Cardin, Laura Watts.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Alex Cullen, Corrin Yorston, Emma Jones, Grace McCatty, Helen Bleazard, Michelle Green, Anouk Hoogendijk (sub Katie Daley 55mins), Loren Dykes (sub Ann Marie Heatherson 55mins), Lillie Bilson, Jessica Fishlock (sub Jaz Matthews 82mins). Subs not used: Alex Windell, Jemma Rose.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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