With Bristol City fading like a flower, it is not a bad thing that there are no FA Women’s Super League games for another couple of weeks.
As us Bristol City supporters are getting ready to tuck into our Christmas turkey instead of another round of fixtures, I thought I would revisit three brilliant away days which we have had in 2019.
The first, and what in my opinion was our last complete performance, was a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City in Solihull in January. We won the match thanks to a first half goal from our Welsh international defender Gemma Evans. Despite the fact that we were particularly dangerous in the second half, we couldn’t add to our lead, although it was an almost unreal defensive performance over the 90 minutes.
I for one enjoyed spending my time at the game meeting several of our great women’s supporters including Blues fan Anthony Lloyd and Manchester City fan James Murray. An added bonus was sampling a portion of authentic Canadian Poutine from the home team’s sponsors, although it didn’t meet approval from The Vixens’ number one fan Martin Radford, a traditional Yorkshireman who whilst liking chips and gravy was horrified to notice that the dish also contained cheese. This victory on 13 January would remarkably be our penultimate FA Women’s Super League victory of 2019 with our last one coming two weeks later at home to Yeovil Town.
Our next joyride was the long trip to Carshalton for an SSE Women’s FA Cup fourth round game against AFC Wimbledon on 3 Febuary. Our journey started in thick snow from my home in Wiltshire but had completely disappeared by the time we reached London. As we arrived in good time, we made our way to a lovely real ale pub called ‘The Hope’ near the ground for a bite to eat and a pint. Another pit stop in the friendly clubhouse at the ground was costly as we missed Abi Harrison’s debut Bristol City goal as she put us ahead after a minute when several of us were still finishing off our drinks.
We had the look of a side on the hunt for goals as Katie Robinson and Poppy Wilson put us 3-0 ahead just after the half-hour mark. We were unable to add to the scoreline, mainly due a brilliant display from Dons keeper Edie Kelly.
After seeing our team safely into the hat for the next round of cup, some of us spent a short time socialising with other fans and our own players before supporters club member John Wilkins, who also doubles up as my father-in-law drove us home. He enjoyed his visit to Carshalton so much he was hoping for a rematch in this season’s competition but sadly for him, they have already been eliminated. Our SSE Women’s FA Cup journey did not last much longer as we were dumped out in the next round by Durham at home in what was a very poor performance.
The final match of our top three was the more recent trip to The Madejski Stadium to see us take on our nemesis Reading who had played us in five FA Women’s Super League matches to date and beaten us each time comprehensively.
Before the match, some of us supporters club members met at the very nice but interestingly named pub ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ for a lovely Sunday carvery. Just before the match began, Shahan Miah & myself joined forces with another one of our supporters, DM Withers on her superb ‘Oxtoby Revolution: A Bristol City Women FC Podcast’ where we discussed a range of matters from our supporters club to our hopes for the season. There are several episodes available online and on spotify so please give it a listen.
We then made our way inside Reading men’s impressive stadium where a a number of us supporters positioned ourselves together in order to get a bit of an atmosphere going for the girls and to sing our songs. We were unaware of the classic which we were about to watch. Reading went 2-0 up as we found ourselves in an extremely vulnerable position once again but we pulled one back just before half-time through Charlie Wellings. Ex-Vixens player Angharad James put Reading two goals ahead again after the restart only for Yana Daniels and Ebony Salmon to score to get Bristol City a battling draw in what was truly a breathtaking game.
It has been an incredibly tough year but we as a supporters group have made some amazing memories following our ‘Vixens’ home and away and I am hopeful that there will be many more in 2020 and beyond.
Rich Paish (founder of Bristol City Women Supporters’ Club – @BCWFC_SC)