The all-weather pitches at Bournbrook were put to the test as the two teams battled the cold, wet, and blustery conditions, and the Lionesses recorded a narrow 1-0 win to further extend their league-winning lead at the top of the North A league.
Spectators only had to wait twominutes for the opening goal to be scored, as an early short corner routine resulted in the ball being poked in from very close range by Birmingham. The early goal left some Nottingham spectators frustrated with the referees, and they were perhaps frustrated their team was not able to keep Birmingham at bay for very long.
Previously, these teams had played out a 1-1 draw in Nottingham, and it looked as though, despite the early goal for the hosts, this would be another very tight game. The away side clearly had some talented players possessing pace and trickery, but Birmingham’s defence in the opening proceedings was resilient, stifling almost all attacks that came their way and allowing Nottingham very little action inside the D.
It was only in the last few minutes of the half that the lead looked like being cancelled out, as the Birmingham keeper was called into action, firstly to make a great save at her near post, and then to clear the ball following a goal-mouth scramble after a short corner. It seemed as though the half-time whistle came at the right time for the Lionesses, allowing them to regroup slightly following this scare.
However, Nottingham started the half brightly, and it took a fantastic tackle from Alice Wills to deny them a clear shot at goal. This appeared to rouse Birmingham, who won a short corner for a stick tackle shortly after, and were unlucky to not see the ball end up in the net.
The second half was very much a possession-based affair, with both sides having long stints with the ball and failing to create any meaningful chances, a testament to the two defences. This obviously suited Birmingham, having already taken the lead in the match, and it looked as though Nottingham were somewhat devoid of creativity.
In the final five minutes the game sparked into life, with the hosts wasting another short corner. Nottingham then won two of their own in quick succession, with the final one coming at the close of the game, but was miscontrolled at the top of the D and the danger averted.
The final whistle sounded seconds later, and the Lionesses celebrated their seventh victory in nine games. They will travel to Loughborough with hopes of maintaining their unbeaten record. Congratulations to the team for winning the league with games to spare!