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Cardiff City Ladies FC v Coventry United Ladies FC

After a thumping win against the champions Tottenham in their previous match, Cardiff City Ladies now welcomed their competition for the second spot in the table, Coventry United Ladies, to Ystryd Mynach. Coventry were in the driving seat, needing just to win this game to confirm their second place finish. So it was all to play for on a very bright and warm day in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division.

However, the game got off to the worst possible start for Cardiff, when a minute in a horrific accident saw Abbie Britton stretchered off the pitch with a fractured tibia. After a 14 minute delay, the game was restarted from the 15th minute, however a very sombre tone had enveloped the game. The game was very even with both sides trading half chances, and in the 21st minute Cardiff took the lead through Chloe Chivers, who headed in a cross from 12 yards out. Two minutes alter Cardiff almost had a second, Kerry Bartlett coming close on this occasion. The game swiftly returned to its cagey nature after this, with neither side carving out more than a half chance for the next 20 minutes.

In the 42nd minute, Cardiff had another injury concern, with Laura Williams exiting the field forcing Cardiff into their second substitution with three minutes of normal time, plus 14 minutes of added time still to play of the first half. Six minutes later, Coventry hit back, Ali Hall turning her defending too easily and sliding the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1 in the 3rd minute of added time. Despite Cardiff’s best efforts, Chloe Chivers and Ellis Hillman both coming close, they were unable to restore their lead before the whistle blew for half time.

Cardiff came out for the second half swinging, and Chloe Chivers looked the most dangerous, getting through on goal on two occasions, the second forcing the keeper into a fantastic save. Ellis Hillman also had a deflected cross almost sneak in under the bar after lobbing the keeper. Coventry got back into the game after the hour mark, forcing Laura O’Sullivan into a number of good saves. Chivers then found herself with another chance, this time heading a corner just over the bar.

In the 72nd minute Coventry almost took the lead, after a header from a Lynch corner was almost bundled over the line, however, Cardiff’s defence stood strong and, despite the protests from the Coventry players, cleared the ball before it crossed the line. The warning signs were there however, and despite a few chances for Chivers and Bartlett, Cardiff couldn’t seem to find the net, and they were punished in the 80th minute, with Amber Hughes fed through on goal, sliding the ball underneath the oncoming O’Sullivan whose touch wasn’t enough to prevent the goal.

Coventry then sat back and soaked up the pressure from Cardiff, with Chivers still looking the most dangerous player on the pitch, but unable to find the goal. Coventry held on to the lead, and sealed second place in the league table. A different story may have been told if not for the injuries to Britton and Williams, but ultimately a poor performance by Cardiff was punished. The result leaves Cardiff in fourth place going into the final game of the season, a point behind Charlton. A top three position is still possible, but Cardiff are relying on CK Basildon taking points from Charlton.

Woman of the Match: Chloe Chivers

Kieran Lacey

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