2016/17 Season Review: April
With the end of the season just around the corner, there were difficult games in April for Cardiff City Ladies with an away match against Coventry United and a double header against Tottenham Hotspur. But those three matches could well decide the overall champion at the end of the campaign. Would it be Cardiff City who would come out on top?
Sunday 9th April 2017: Coventry United Ladies 2 – 2 Cardiff City Ladies (Chivers (2))
The first game of the month was a difficult away trip to Coventry United Ladies, who like Cardiff City Ladies, were still holding on to a hope of wrenching the title away from Tottenham. Things started well for Cardiff City though, with Chloe Chivers being forever clinical in front of goal, scoring a brace that would put City Ladies 2-0 in front. That score line would remain the same up to half time, but Alison Hall pulled a goal back for the home side ten minutes after the restart. As the game ticked towards its conclusion it looked as though City Ladies were going to come away with a valuable three points, until late substitute Laura Cooper equalised for Coventry United, in the third minute of added time. The points shared then between the two sides, and Tottenham closer to that title.
Cardiff City Ladies: O’Sullivan, Allen (Atkins 85’), Bartlett (Randall 86’), Britton, Chivers, Evans, C Lloyd, Miles (Llewellyn 88’), Suominen, C Williams, L Williams
Sunday 16th April 2017: Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 2 – 1 Cardiff City Ladies (C Williams 6’)
For the second time in two weeks Cardiff City Ladies would have to travel to tough opposition fighting for the league title. This time it was the league leaders Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, who were only a couple of wins away from securing the title with several games to spare. It was Cardiff City Ladies who took the lead though when Cori Williams opened the scoring after just six minutes, but similarly to the game against Coventry a week earlier, Cardiff couldn’t close the game out. This time it was to lose three points instead of two as Tottenham scored twice late on to steal all three points and put one hand on the trophy. Cardiff needed to respond well in the next game to try and keep the pressure on Tottenham however slim the chances were, and they certainly did that.
Cardiff City Ladies: O’Sullivan, Britton, Chivers, Evans, Hillman (Llewellyn 90+3), Jerrim, C Lloyd, Miles, Suominen, C Williams (Bartlett 81’), L Williams (Allen 89’)
Bookings: Britton, Evans
Sunday 23rd April 2017: Cardiff City Ladies 12 – 1 Queens Park Rangers Ladies (Allen 10’, 75’, O.G 14’, C Lloyd 16’, Chivers 25’, Suominen 35’, 71’, 84’, L Williams 36’, 40’, C Williams 51’, Bartlett 66’)
Tottenham had already won the league when they played in mid-week, so you would be forgiven for thing that Cardiff City Ladies would take their foot of the gas. You’d be badly wrong. Instead, fans at the CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence were witness to one of the most dominating displays of football you are ever likely to see. It started early, with Emily Allen firing home from a Kirsten Rendall cross in the tenth minute before the lead was doubled just four minutes later, when Laura Williams’ cross found the back of the net off the head of the unfortunate QPR defender. It was only two minutes after that that goal number three went in, this time from Chloe Lloyd who poked home after a goalmouth scramble. QPR pulled a goal back after 22 minutes but their joy was short lived after Chloe Chivers got in on the act three minutes later, slotting the ball home into the bottom left corner. With the game at 4-1 after just 25 minutes the fans were definitely getting their money’s worth, and it didn’t stop there. Whilst the next ten minutes were quiet there would be another three goals before the half time break. Hope Suominen made it 5-1 when she received the ball from Laura Williams and graciously converted, and there was barely time for that goal to be announced before Williams turned scorer, pouncing on a spilled cross to make it 6-1. She would get her brace before the half time whistle, rifling a ball into the corner of the net from eighteen yards after brilliantly turning her defender.
In the second half Cardiff wouldn’t let up, Cori Williams played a neat 1-2 with Kerry Bartlett before placing the ball into the net for City Ladies’ eighth goal of the afternoon, with Bartlett then making it 9-1 with 24 minutes to go, firing an effort against the underside of the bar and in. In the 71st minute the score reached double digits. Laura Williams had the ball wide left and swung a perfect ball into the middle for Cori Williams to loop a header over the keeper, which was tapped in by Hope Suominen on the line. With a quarter of an hour to go Emily Allen scored her second of the game when she converted from eight yards, before a deflected shot that wrong footed the keeper gave Suominen her hat-trick just before the end. A dozen goals for Cardiff City Ladies and a score line which won’t be reached again any time soon.
Cardiff City Ladies: O’Sullivan, Allen, Bartlett, Chivers (Hillman 72’), Evans, Llewellyn (Mills 66’), C Lloyd (Britton), Randall, Suominen, C Williams, L Williams
Sunday 30th April 2017: Cardiff City Ladies 4 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies (O.G 19’, C Williams 38’, Allen 62’, Chivers 89’)
Cardiff gave the league champions a guard of honour ahead of the game as the newly crowned title winners walked onto the pitch, and then proceeded to produce a dominating display. Both sides went all out early on with fierce tackles and end to end football in what was arguably the best game of the season. The first goal was a strange one however, when Tottenham received a free kick mid-way inside their own half. Eartha Pond proceeded to play it back to her keeper who missed the ball, and it trickled into the net for 1-0 Cardiff. Tottenham continued to push forward and attempted to get the equaliser but it was this pressing that allowed Cardiff to get their second just before the break. Laura Williams played a superb lofted diagonal through ball past the Tottenham back line and into the path of the grateful Cori Williams, who lofted the ball from 20 yards over the head of the keeper and into the open net for 2-0.
The second half was feisty with players from both sides finding themselves in the referee’s notebook, before a member of the Cardiff coaching staff was sent to the stands for disputing a decision. It was just after the hour mark that Cardiff’s day went from good to great as Suominen found herself in space on the left-hand side, she crossed the ball in for Cori Williams who smartly dummied it and let it run through to the unmarked Emily Allen and she buried it into the centre of the net. Cardiff were reduced to ten women when Suominen was sent off for a second bookable offence, but that didn’t stop Cardiff pushing and Chloe Chivers got her name on the scoresheet when she found herself one on one with the keeper, rounded her, and slotted into the empty net. They may have scored twelve the week before, but this was Cardiff’s best performance all season.
Cardiff City Ladies: O’Sullivan, Allen (Mills 75’), Bartlett (Chivers 68’), Britton, Evans, Hillman, C Lloyd, Miles, Suominen, C Williams, L Williams
Bookings: Britton, Suominen
Sent Off: Suominen