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Blues Ladies 1 Bristol Academy 1

Posted: Mon 27 Aug 2012
Author: Andy Walker

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Blues Ladies played out a 1-1 draw with Bristol Academy in front of the live ESPN cameras at Stratford.

Jodie Taylor’s 18th minute opener was cancelled out by Natasha Harding’s equaliser for Bristol Academy four minutes later and, despite plenty of effort, both sides struggled to get their noses in front.

The point lifted Blues into second position in the FAWSL on goal difference behind leaders Arsenal.
With rainfall soaking Warwickshire in the build-up to this game, it was a relief just for this game to go ahead after previously being postponed on two occasions due to a waterlogged pitch.
And it turned to out to be an historic occasion at the DCS Stadium with the first-ever live televised fixture taking place at the venue.
It was a lively start from both sides but Bristol’s Siobhan Chamberlain was the first goalkeeper called into action, diving to her left to keep out a solid Jade Moore strike.
The hosts were building momentum and, having seen Taylor have an effort cleared off the line and Jo Potter rattle the bar, they took a deserved lead in the 18th minute
Chelsea Weston’s ball from the back found Taylor’s clever run and she cooly slotted beyond Chamberlain. Taylor almost doubled her tally and Blues’ lead within two minutes. Rachel Williams’ run down the left ended with a cross that found Taylor’s head only for her effort to bounce narrowly wide.
Yet the visitors were back level in the 22nd minute. Harding broke clear and, despite her best efforts, Kerys Harrop’s last-ditch tackle only helped the effort loop over a stranded Marie Hourihan from 18 yards.
The tempo of the game dropped considerably and it was only half-chances for both sides for the remainder of the first-half. Jess Fishlock had an ambitious effort from distance sail wide while Williams headed a Potter free-kick over from close range.
Both sides continued to trade blows after the break. Williams sent a stooping header over from 12 yards while she failed to reach a selfless pass across the area from Taylor.
At the opposite end, Karen Carney was called into defensive action in the 53rd minute to head Harding’s shot off the line after Fishlock’s  dangerous corner had sparked panic in the box.
The tireless Williams continued with her efforts with no reward. The forward calmly chested down Potter’s delivery from the left only top drag her eventual effort wide in the 67th minute.
While Bristol were arguably the better side in the second-half, the game petered out into a scrappy affair in the closing stages and a draw was ultimately a fair result.

                                                                                                                                                                                               

Blues Ladies: Marie Hourihan; Chelsea Weston, Laura Bassett, Emily Westwood, Kerys Harrop; Eni Aluko, Jade Moore, Jo Potter, Karen Carney (Izzy Christiansen 90+1); Rachel Williams, Jodie Taylor.
Subs not used: Emily Simpkins, Anna Wilcox, Hannah George, Harley Simpson, Marie Ballard, Christina Torkildsen.

Goals: Jodie Taylor (18)
Bookings: Chelsea Weston, Jade Moore and Emily Westwood..

Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain; Alex Windell, Jemma Rose, Angharad James, Corrine Yorston; Natasha Harding, Laura Del Rio, Jess Fishlock, Loren Dykes; Nikki Watts, Mel Lawley (Grace McCatty 79).
Subs not used:  Anna Marie Heatherson, Molly Clarke, Jasmine Matthews, Ellie Curson, Rhian Cleverly, Ellie Leek.

Goals: Natasha Harding (22)

Player-of-the-match: Karen Carney

Attendance: 513