The two finalists from last year faced each other once again, and the quality was there for all to see. Except in the final third. Despite this quality, intensity and sharpness, both keepers had a very easy night. The only goal was not the Birmingham keeper’s fault (spoiler, it was 1-0 to the away side). A throw in came to Durham’s big number 9. She held the ball up well and then pivoted before firing in a shot. The ball took a huge deflection from 3 yards. Apart from picking the ball out from the back of the net, the keeper had only one other thing of note to do. A mix up at the back and the pace of Durham’s number 11 lead to a shot from just outside the area, which the keeper saved with her legs just inside the box.
The number 11 was Durham’s most threatening player. She was fast, a strong runner and was a constant menace to the Birmingham defence. A highlight was an effort that zipped just above the top right hand corner. The woman of the match though was Birmingham’s number 7 who, in truth, stole the show. She had amazing spatial awareness. She knew when to pass short, long, take a touch or move the ball on quickly. She also pulled off a great block and a few important tackles, whilst her passing was exemplary. Birmingham’s best chance to score came from her set pieces. The dangerous number 8 hit the bar with a header from a first half free-kick. Another header from a corner in the second half had to be headed off the line, which caused a great deal of excitement late on. Apart from free-kicks Birmingham did not offer much up front, yet they still played very well. In that sense, it was an unusual game.