2016/17 Season Review: January and February
Would 2017 prove to be as prosperous for Cardiff City Ladies as 2016 was? The year started with a trip to Lewes Ladies in the second round of the Women's FA Cup.
Sunday 8th January 2017: Lewes Ladies 2 – 0 Cardiff City Ladies
Cardiff City Ladies came into the game full of confidence after going unbeaten from the start of the season through to the end of 2016, but the streak was about to come to a shuddering halt. City Ladies never got going in the match and a goal either side of the break for Lewes Ladies was enough to see them through to the third round of the competition.
Cardiff City Ladies: O’Sullivan, Allen, Bartlett, Britton, Chivers, Evans, Green, Jenkins (Powell 74’), Miles, Suominen, C Williams
Sunday 5th February 2017: Cardiff City Ladies 5 – 0 Portsmouth Ladies (Suominen 1’, 25’, 70’, Bartlett 15’, 33’)
After the disappointment of being knocked out of the cup the game before, Cardiff City Ladies returned to South Wales and were back in league action as they welcomed Portsmouth Ladies to the CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence. It was a professional and dominant display which got off to the best possible start as Hope Suominen gave Cardiff the lead inside the first minute. She picked the ball up outside the box and fired an effort towards goal which the keeper got a hand to but couldn’t keep it out. The lead was doubled after a quarter of an hour when Kerry Bartlett volleyed home from the centre of the penalty area before Suominen got her second of the game ten minutes later, tucking the ball into the bottom corner. Just after the half hour mark Cardiff made it four when Chloe Chivers fed a brilliant ball to Bartlett, who rounded the keeper and placed the ball into the empty net. The second half was quieter to start with, and it would take until the 70th minute for the next goal to be scored, as Souminen completed her hat-trick by lobbing the keeper and claiming the match ball in style. It was a frustrating half for Bartlett to try and claim her hat-trick as well, which became even more frustrating for her when her 87th minute penalty was saved, and her 91st minute one on one effort was denied. Tottneham were playing in the cup that day, this being Cardiff’s game in hand on the London side, and the 5-0 victory put Cardiff City Ladies at the top of the table on goal difference.
Cardiff City Ladies: O’Sullivan, Allen, Bartlett, Chivers (Bluck 75’), Evans, Jenkins (Britton 62’), C Lloyd, Miles, Suominen, C Williams, L Williams (Issac 68’)
Sunday 12th February 2017: Cardiff City Ladies 0 – 2 Charlton Athletic Women
The middle of a three game home stand saw title chasers Charlton Athletic come to South Wales, with both sides needing the points for similar reasons. It was a hard fought game of immense quality but it was Charlton who came out on top as goals from Kit Graham put the game out of Cardiff’s reach. Her first came from a cross in the 13th minute before she secured her brace in the 77th. It would prove to be one of the most frustrating games of football for the season for Cardiff City Ladies, who hit the bar on no less than five occasions and saw an effort cleared off the line. It was an unfortunate result and one that saw the unbeaten league record disappear, but there were still plenty of games to go.
Cardiff City Ladies: O’Sullivan, Allen (Hillman 60’), Bartlett (Issac 70’), Britton, Chivers, Evans, C Lloyd, Miles, Suominen, C Williams, L Williams
Sunday 19th February 2017: Cardiff City Ladies 8 – 0 Swindon Town Ladies (Chivers 4’, 66’ Britton 27’, C Williams 31’, 77’, 81’, Bartlett 40’, 45+1’)
After the loss to Charlton Athletic Women the week before, Cardiff City Ladies would bounce back in the best possible way against Swindon Town Ladies. A cross from Chloe Lloyd in the fourth minute fell in between Chloe Chivers and the Swindon keeper, with the former winning the race and slotting the ball into the now empty net. The opening half an hour showed promise of what was to come, but the score line didn’t reflect that. It was in the 27th minute that the lead was doubled, when Abbie Britton thumped the ball home from six yards following a corner.
Once the second goal went in Cardiff began to turn the screw. The bar was hit for the second time in the 28th minute before Cori Williams got her first goal of the game, tucking the ball away from the spot after being brought down a minute earlier. City Ladies had seven corners in the first half alone, and it was from this seventh corner that goal number four went in. Swindon Town Ladies were caught sleeping and completed missed the pass to Suominen on the edge of the box, who drilled a shot towards goal. It would have scored a lot of points in pinball for the number of times that it bounced off players legs, but importantly fell to Bartlett on the edge of the six-yard box who gratefully converted. That wasn’t even the last goal of the first half when Bartlett would secure her brace in the first minute of injury time, getting on the end of a Chivers cross to lift the ball over the keeper.
Despite the fact that the game was already won, Cardiff came out in the second half wanting more goals. There were loads more chances for the women in blue to start the second half but it wasn’t until the 66th minute that the score climbed up once more. Chloe Chivers was gifted one of the easiest goals of her career when she was almost passed the ball by the Swindon keeper from a poor clearance, and she slotted the ball home for 6-0. Ten minutes later Cori Williams made it seven when she headed home a Laura Williams cross, and she completed her hat-trick with a brilliant free kick in the 81st minute. Facing a ten-player wall she drove the ball under it and into the bottom corner, capping her hat-trick and a perfect day for Cardiff City Ladies. Next up, the cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur Ladies.
Cardiff City Ladies: O’Sullivan, Bartlett, Britton, Chivers (Deacon 75’), Evans, Hillman (Allen 65’), C Lloyd, Randall (Llewellyn 55’), Suominen, C Williams, L Williams