A bitingly cold Wednesday afternoon saw a top of the table clash between Loughborough, who are in 3rd place, take on the Lions at 2nd. Despite the chilly weather, both teams came with determination in what was a fiery and flowing contest.
With the game underway, both teams took twenty minutes to get a feel of the opposing defence, probing and searching for a weak link in the armour. This stalemate was only broken by the occasional long through ball from Birmingham which initially did not fire to perfection.
However, such a build of pressure must burst, and with a darting run down the left wing, a Lion drew a penalty with a period of inspired aggression. Stepping up to take the penalty there were no nerves on display from the PK taker, who slotted it ‘top bins’ to quote commentator Chris Smith.
With the deadlock broken, a sequence of open and dynamic play emerged for the rest of the first half. Composed passing could be seen, with number 13 running the show from the midfield with patience and poise. Despite this the Lion’s clinical play, the visiting side scored next with a counter attack which resulted in a one on one with the keeper for Loughborough’s striker who calmly drove the ball into the back of the net out of the goalie’s reach. The teams entered half time tied.
Birmingham returned to the pitch with a renewed energy that saw them dominate as soon as the whistle blew. Lioness number 6 must be commended for her dogged energy and searching forays down the right wing. She played with abandon which when coupled with her mighty skill that surely gave the visitors a headache.
This dominance soon materialised into goals. A beautifully weighted long ball found Birmingham’s striker, and with ice-cool confidence she chipped the keeper and Birmingham once again took the lead. After this resurgence of confidence, Birmingham played a beautiful brand of football, passing seamlessly across the pitch and finding runners in space.
Birmingham finished the day firmly in second place four points behind Leicester. They may perhaps be disappointed to not have bagged a few more goals but can take heart from the scintillating skill and energy they showed throughout the match. It was a fine performance that will surely imbue the team with a confidence, that Birmingham can best any opponent on any given day.