Sunday’s Women’s Football Weekend ’20 fixtures added to the drama and excitement which the opening day of action had brought.
In the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, West Ham United’s poor home form continued as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion while Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea was a tough game in which the two sides could not be separated.
The FA Women’s Championship also brought it’s own thrills and spills with Leicester City and Durham boosting their promotion hopes while improving Blackburn Rovers held Liverpool and London Bees collected their second win of the season.
With Women’s Football Weekend ’20 now over, FA Women’s Super League Full-Time take a look at three things that we learnt from Sunday’s matches.
West Ham United still have some way to go to find long-awaited consistency
Now in their third season in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, West Ham United remain largely inconsistent and unpredictable.
Matt Beard’s side are arguably at their most consistent this season, all for the wrong reasons. The Hammers went into this weekend’s fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion at The Chigwell Construction Stadium on the back of three consecutive home defeats in the league this season. Despite the East Londoners going on to register plenty of attempts on goal against Albion, they were to slip to a fourth home defeat with Rianna Jarrett’s second half goal proving to be the difference.
With West Ham United having taken just four points from an available 21 so far this season, it is difficult to see where a run of form is going to start and it could be a long, hard season for Beard’s side. It gets no easier for The Hammers in their next match as they return to the scene of their heaviest defeat from last season, Kingsmeadow, where they will face champions Chelsea.
The FA Women’s Championship promotion race continues to deliver
While the main spotlight was naturally on the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, the FA Women’s Championship delivered and delivered some more. A thrilling day of action saw three results contribute to a further twist in the promotion race.
Leicester City travelled to Coventry United as heavy favourites to collect three points. Jonathan Morgan’s side exceeded expectations by recording a thumping 9-1 victory to move into second place in the table.
Elsewhere, title rivals Sheffield United and Durham went into battle at The Techinque Stadium in Chesterfield. In a hard-fought match, it was Durham who came out on top with Nicki Gears netting the only goal of the game. The result sees Durham end Women’s Football Weekend ’20 top of the FA Women’s Championship table and having played all three of their promotion rivals away from home, collecting five points.
Former top flight side Liverpool are bidding for promotion at the first attempt but they were frustrated by a well-drilled Blackburn Rovers side at The Sir Tom Finney Stadium. Rovers keeper Alex Brooks had the game of her life as she kept a clean sheet with the match ending 0-0. The result is a reminder of just how tough winning the title will be for Liverpool, regardless of their star-studded squad.
The title race is shaping up to be a real thriller and there are twists and turns to come almost on a weekly basis before the end of the season.
Paige Bailey-Gayle has what it takes to play in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League
Leicester City made easy work of Coventry United this weekend and one player who really stood out for Jonathan Morgan’s side was teenage forward Paige Bailey-Gayle.
The 19-year-old joined Leicester City in summer 2019 after leaving Arsenal and she has gone on to be a real hit for the East Midlands’ side. With pace to burn and a finish to match, Bailey-Gayle is one of the hottest prospects in the FA Women’s Championship and the player looks destined for another crack at top flight football, hopefully with her current club.
On Sunday, Bailey-Gayle was too hot to handle for Coventry United with the player netting one goal and creating another. Her pace caused huge problems for the home side and Coventry United won’t the the last team to feel the Bailey-Gayle effect this season.
At such a young age, a talent like Bailey-Gayle is special and it is refreshing to see her perform so well week in, week out.
All-in-all, the second Women’s Football Weekend was a huge success despite the challenges brought by COVID-19. Hopefully, next year’s event can be bigger and better with fans back in the stands.