Bristol Academy 2-2 Birmingham City
The FA WSL
Sunday 30 September 2012
Karen Carney knows Birmingham City face a season-defining three-week spell after virtually guaranteeing more UEFA Women’s Champions League football next season.
The England star admitted she was disappointed that the Midlanders failed to register a win at Bristol ahead of next weekend’s FA WSL finale against newly-crowned champions Arsenal.
But with her side taking a 2-0 lead to Verona for the second leg of their Champions League opener on Wednesday – and a Continental Cup Final against the Gunners also on the horizon – Carney knows the big games will keep on coming.
She said: “It’s been a hectic few weeks for us with games coming thick and fast – and that will continue to be the case.
“We can’t blame our recent schedule for the fact we failed to perform as we would have liked against Bristol, although they are a difficult side to play against.
“I won’t take runners-up spot for granted until it is mathematically certain, and now we have to focus on the long trip to Verona before our two games against Arsenal.”
Rachel Williams gave Birmingham an early lead following a corner when she first headed against the bar but reacted quickly to score from the rebound.
Laura Del Rio equalised for Bristol ten minutes later, breaking clear to round goalkeeper Marie Houlihan.
Birmingham were left to rue a penalty miss after Jemma Rose was judged to have pushed Jodie Taylor, who then saw her spot kick saved by Siobhan Chamberlain.
Moments later, Williams hit the bar with a header following another corner but it was Bristol who took the lead early in the second half when Angharad James drove a fierce 30-yarder over the Birmingham defence and high into the net.
But any hopes Bristol had of a first ever win over Birmingham were quickly dashed when Jade Moore headed home from Jo Potter’s cross.
Hourihan made a good save with her legs to prevent Del Rio re-establishing Bristol’s lead, and Chamberlain came to the home side’s rescue in stoppage time with a diving save to thwart Potter from a free-kick.
Bristol boss Mark Sampson said: “We seem to be making a habit of getting off to poor starts and conceding early goals, but I was pleased with the way we came back into the game.”
Chamberlain; Dykes, Rose, McCatty, Yorston; Harding, James, Green (Curson 71), Windell (Heatherson 90); Watts, Del Rio.
Substitutes not used Cleverly, Leek.
Hourihan; Weston, Bassett, Westwood, Harrop; Carney, Potter, Moore, Williams; Aluko, Taylor.
Substitutes not used Simpkins, Christiansen, George, Unitt, Ballard, Torkilden, Spencer.