|Vice Captain Sally Lacey|
Birmingham City beat Premier Northern Division side Stockport County LFC, even though they were forced to play with only 10 players for the last half an hour of the match.
Kerrie Manley, making her first start for the Blues, had to come off in the second half after a nasty collision left her with a suspected cracked bone in her nose.
The collision occurred ironically enough just after manager Mickey Moore had made a triple substitution, leaving no subs to replace the injured Kerrie.
Even with 10 players the Blues were the better side though, but with a player down and only 2-1 up, Stockport should have taken advantage of the situation, but didn’t.
Instead Birmingham are now into the next round of the Premier League Cup.
The match kicked off with Birmingham’s Becky Hall threatening on goal inside the first minute, and only a few minutes later Amy McCann nearly scored when her close range shot crashed off the post.
Birmingham started well in this very competitive match, but were rusty on converting their numerous chances, especially those off corners.
|Maz Ballard's goal|
I must add at this point that standing on the sideline of the pitch taking photographs and scribbling notes isn’t as glamorous as it seems, as I found out when the ball hit me full on, not once but twice!
You’ll be glad to know that I came away unscathed, and could continue taking pictures, although I did make my way to the safety of the stands in the second half.
Back to the action and just as it seemed the Blues were unable to string a few passes together, Penny Andrea hit a beautiful cross field pass to Becky Hall, who darted to the byline and then picked out Maz Ballard, who in turn made no mistake of smashing the ball against the back of the net to make it 1-0.
The second half saw Stockport start with much more attacking verve.
Krystie Johnson’s shot from 20 yards beat Birmingham’s goal keeper Sue Wood, but instead of rippling the net, her shot crashed against the cross bar.
Birmingham seemed to quash this threat though when Precious Hamilton scored and made it 2-0. Maz Ballard made a great run and pulled the ball back for Becky Hall, whose miss-kicked shot was saved by Stockport goalkeeper Andrea Worrall, but Precious was on hand to fire in the rebound.
She said after the match: “I felt brilliant scoring on my debut. Before the match I had the mentality that I would give my all and try my best, so scoring was a bonus.
I scored 18 goals last season for my old club Derby County, and I’d love to score more goals for Blues this season. The standard of football is really high, from the coaching staff to players, and as difficult as it might be, I’m going to try my best to break into the first team.”
2-1, and sailing, or so it might have been before the most ridiculous decision by any referee, EVER, was made.
Under pressure Sue Wood made a great catch from a Stockport corner. Then as all the players began to clear from the box, the ref decided Stockport’s Nicola Doig had been pushed and pointed to the spot for a penalty.
WHAT?! Yes it didn’t make sense to me either, but Jane Fox converted the penalty and made it 2-1 anyway. I spoke to Nicola Doig after the match and she said she didn’t even realise that she had been pushed until the ref had told her!
Only 10 minutes later, Kerrie Manley was injured and with the Blues one player short and only leading by one goal, Stockport County were giving the Blues a good fight.
In the end though, with both teams creating chances they failed to convert, the score remained 2-1 and Birmingham are happily through to the next round.
Birmingham City Ladies face newly promoted Cardiff City at home next week in the League. BCLFC play at Redditch United FC’s ground and kick off starts at 2pm. Entry at Redditch United Football Club is £3 adults, free for children. For more information go to the Birmingham City Ladies official site: www.bclfc.com.