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Women's Football News
Bristol Academy 0 Birmingham City 2 (Williams 30, Linnett 63)
Birmingham City put their indifferent start to the season behind them to notch up a well earned victory and end Bristol Academy's winning run in their Continental Cup group match.
A cautious opening ten minutes saw the opening exchanges largely confined to the midfield area but Birmingham made one threatening attack when Chelsea Weston broke down the right and her cross was just too high for Rachel Williams at the far post.
Kirsty Linnett fired a free kick wide but on 19 minutes Birmingham were only denied an opening goal by some resolute Academy defending. Linnett's initial shot was blocked by Jemma Rose and Grace McCatty charged down the rebound from Issy Christiansen. The ball ran loose to Jo Potter but Corinne Yorston reacted well to get across and block her goalbound effort.
Academy had threatened little as an attacking force until this point but an instinctive piece of play led to their best effort so far. Loren Dykes' cross from the right was met by a spectacular volley on the turn by Natalia which was on target but Mary Earps did well to gather the ball above her head.
Birmingham went straight back on the attack with Melissa Lawley breaking down the right and her pinpoint cross picked out an unmarked Rachel Williams in the centre and the striker gave Siobhan Chamberlain no chance with a firm downward header.
Christiansen was inches away from scoring a second as the lively Linnett's low driven cross just eluded her in front of goal. Birmingham closed out the first half with their one-goal advantage, Academy going closest when Nikki Watts hit the side netting from a deep cross by Natalia.
The second half also started relatively slowly with very few chances before the Blues increased their lead just after the hour. Potter's corner from the right was played back across goal by Kerys Harrop and Linnett was on hand to drill the ball home from close range.
Academy made a triple substitution to try and freshen things up and Yorston tested Earps with a free kick but once more they could not make an impression against a Birmingham defence showing its best form. Potter was in dominant form in midfield for the Blues while Christiansen and Lawley also gave impressive performances.
At the other end, a deflected cross by Lawley could not quite be reached by Williams as she attempted a diving header and then Lawley herself tried her luck with a strike from outside the area which went wide.
Williams then broke through on goal and shrugged off challenges from McCatty and Jaz Matthews before unleashing a shot which Chamberlain got a hand to, the ball continued to bounce goalwards but Matthews was able to recover and hook the ball away before it could cross the line.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Loren Dykes, Corinne Yorston, Grace McCatty, Jemma Rose (sub Jaz Matthews 67mins), Alex Windell (sub Angharad James 67mins), Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Laura Del Rio (sub Ellie Curson 67mins), Nikki Watts, Lucy Staniforth, Natasha Harding. Subs not used: Rachel Hignett, Rhian Cleverly.
Birmingham City: Mary Earps, Chelsea Weston, Rachel Unitt, Jade Moore, Kerys Harrop, Laura Bassett, Issy Christiansen, Rachel Williams, Kirsty Linnett (sub Coral-Jade Haines 67mins), Melissa Lawley, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Emily Simpkins, Crissy Torkildsen, Katie Wilkinson, Hannah George, Emily Westwood.
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