We take a look at some of the talking points from the weekend’s action.
After a brief pause to mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the FA Women’s National League resumed over the weekend, with heartfelt tributes paid to the late monarch as grounds across the country fell silent before returning to action on the pitch.
Here are some of the talking points from the latest round of fixtures.
Statement wins for Wolves and Cardiff
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City each recorded statement wins at the weekend as the two sides continue to push for promotion from the Northern Premier Division and Division One South West, respectively.
Nottingham Forest came into the game in fine form with confidence high after winning their opening three games of the season without conceding a goal but were served a stern reminder of why Wolves are the reigning champions as Dan McNamara’s ran out 4-2 winners at Halbrooke Stadium. Amber Hughes once again amongst the scorers for Wolves.
Wolves, who sit top of the Northern Premier Division table due to having a superior goal difference over second-placed Burnley, will be hoping for a similar outcome when they meet the Clarets in two weeks’ time (Sunday 2 October).
Elsewhere, Cardiff City continued to be the Women’s National League’s entertainers in front of goal as the Welsh outfit dispatched Exeter City in impressive fashion, with goals from Emily Poole, Emily Richards, Ellie Sargent and a Chloe Lloyd brace to round off a 5-0 win for Jamie Phillip’s side.
City are currently one point behind AFC Bournemouth and Exeter City in third place but have two games in hand over their title rivals.
Robins stun Cherries
Swindon Town produced arguably the result of the weekend as they stunned promotion hopefuls AFC Bournemouth to win 3-2 in a match filled with drama on and off the pitch at Foundation Park.
Annie Colston starred for the Robins as the striker bagged her third, fourth and fifth goals of the season to give Town a 3-0 lead after 52 minutes before the referee awarded AFC Bournemouth two penalties in the space of twenty minutes – the latter of which was considered to be controversial by the home bench and prompted a reaction that resulted in the referee reaching for his pocket and issuing a red card for dissent.
Unaffected by any drama, Shannon Albuery converted from 12 yards for the second time in the match to reduce the deficit to a single goal, but, in the end, any controversy surrounding the spot kick proved to be inconsequential as the hosts held on for a monumental win.
The result marked an unexpected but welcome three points for James Lally’s side but will be considered a big blow for the Cherries, who will be fully aware of the potential consequences of defeat after missing out on promotion last term despite only losing twice all season. When it comes to winning league titles, margins are often slim.
Stour win four
If you look up “reaction” in the dictionary, you may well be greeted by a picture of the Glass Girls after Stourbridge put to bed the disappointment of suffering defeat on the opening day of the season to win four games on the spin, including victories over Peterborough United, Northampton Town, Sporting Khalsa and a 7-0 rout against Lincoln City to kickstart the run.
As a result, Andy Fisher’s side now sit top of the pile in Division One Midlands after earning maximum points over a four-game stretch, boasting an impressive 17-1 goal differential in the process.
Tough start to 2022/23 for Bridgwater
With matches against Oxford United, Watford, and Ipswich Town in their opening five fixtures, Bridgwater United had arguably the most unforgiving start to the new campaign of any side in the Women’s National League, with big questions asked of the somerset outfit from the outset of the season.
Unfortunately for the Robins, however, the answers to those questions weren’t very forthcoming and they find themselves with only four points from a possible 15 – seven points fewer compared to last season after five corresponding games and a place above the relegation zone – following losses to the aforementioned teams, a victory over Plymouth Argyle, and an away draw against bottom-of-the-table Crawley Wasps.
Next up, they face Billericay Town in the Determining Round of the FA WNL League Cup (Sunday 25 September) before returning to league action a week later against MK Dons, where they will hope to kick start their season and begin an ascent up the table.
Following this weekend’s results, only ten sides across the Women’s National League have yet to experience the bitter taste of defeat as teams prepare to take a short break from league competition to focus on the FAWNL League Cup.
They are as follows: Wolves and Burnley of the Northern Premier Division, Oxford United of the Southern Premier Division, Barnsley and Norton & Stockton Ancients of Division One North, Hashtag United and Norwich City of Division One South East, and Cardiff City, Selsey and Moneyfields of Division One South West.
Who will be the last team standing?