Blustery conditions at Metchley did not favour quality football as Birmingham were unlucky to fall to a 2-1 defeat to a Durham side that have won all seven league games so far.
With the last time they faced Durham finishing with 3-0 to Durham, the Lionesses were keen to make amends for a result that did not represent their team and fantastic gameplay. Unfortunately, the away side initially began with a slight edge over Birmingham when they registered their first shot on target. Albeit a tame, dinked effort that barely troubled the goalkeeper, it was an early warning that UoB may not get their revenge, but the fierce, unwavering Lionesses did not let this hinder their determination.
With the wind howling, it was a bitty start to proceedings as neither side able to get the ball down and get the game started. The greatest threat for the hosts appeared to be the pacey strikers who employed their 4-4-2 system and were caught offside on several occasions.
The closest the game to a goal in the opening quarter was when a Durham corner nearly caught the goalkeeper out, courtesy of the ever-present gales, but instead went just over the bar. The league leaders became frustrated with their inability to break a stern Birmingham team down, and were giving away needless fouls in the midfield. It was from one of these that the UoB left-winger, Jess, was able to register a header on goal following a deep freekick.
A Durham long ball finally beat the offside trap, and it looked as though Birmingham were in trouble. But the striker could only fire wastefully over with time and space. This proved to be the warning that the Lionesses needed, as a looped ball from Bruce that evaded the Durham defence found Jess who made no mistake with her half-volleyed finish to give Birmingham a well-deserved 1-0 lead just before the half-time whistle.
The hosts definitely had the edge in first half. However, Durham again started strongly, putting a few nice passes together in the final third. It was therefore disappointing that Birmingham conceded not from a piece of Durham quality, but an under hit backpass that keeper Colette could only cannon off an on-rushing striker, and watch as the ball bounced into the back of the net.
The Birmingham side did not let this dampen their spirits and responded well to this, squandering a good chance when some nice football ended with a shot straight at the goalkeeper. The away team looked dangerous from the right-hand side, as a few balls into the box were begging for an end product, but their pressure was nothing for goalie Colette whose outstanding reflexes saved the ball and kept the score level.
Unfortunately, Durham’s determination eventually broke through as a well-worked move down their left flank resulted in a first-time finish into the net. Birmingham’s long throws looked to cause some danger, but Durham defended well and wasted a 1-on-1 late in the match as the Lionesses pushed for an equaliser.
It was to no avail as the match ended 2-1 to Durham, but it was by no means a poor performance from Birmingham. The Lionesses certainly matched the pre-game favourites for most of the match, and it was just down to lucky positioning and timing that Durham won this closely fought affair. Birmingham certainly has a lot to look forward to as they progress through the league and Burn FM wish the Lionesses the best of luck next week.