Magpies rob Blues of the title!   2 comments

With the FA Women’s Super League going down to the very last game of the season Notts County Ladies held title winning wannabees, Birmingham City, to a 2-2 draw yesterday. Handing Liverpool the title for the second year running.

Here’s the game in words and pictures:

Lets start with the fans. Last game of the season and the usual suspects were there needing no encouragement to pose of the camera. The tight Solihull ground was tightly packed and created a great atmosphere.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0063The Birmingham fans were flying the flag and hoping for a win to give them the Title. Yeah…. sorry guys! 🙂

Notts vs Birmingham away_0034The Blues fans came to cheer on their side and lift the trophy…

… a giant silver chess piece made of plastic.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0013See, a good photographer would have got a reflection of the Birmingham Manager in the trophy looking all expectant and nervous like.

The media looked confused; “So wait, this lot, Chelsea AND Liverpool could all win it?”

Notts vs Birmingham away_0016The camera man patiently explains the permutations to ‘Mr Scarf’.

Monsters Inc – Who is this guy? What does he have to do with this game? And will the poor little girl have nightmares?

Notts vs Birmingham away_0060Aww, they have matching T Shirts.

Then this guy turned up! ‘Zappygo’ dog? What the feck is he all about? He must be the Birmingham mascot, right?

Notts vs Birmingham away_0065I asked ZappyGo dog and Monsters Inc if they’d fight to see who was best but they both declined. Poor show.

The team’s came out for the warm-up; it started badly with Rachel Corsie being sidelined almost immediately suffering with ‘bad hair day’. She washed it last night and couldn’t do a thing with it.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0056Wash and Go warm-up.

Aileen Whelan challenged the BT Sports cameraman to a race. Which she narrowly won.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0032The cameraman was wearing comedy glasses which hampered his attempt to beat Aileen in a foot race.

Laura-Jayne O’Neil gets help from Krista van Alten, the County physio, to remove her boot.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0021There must be an easier way!

Manager Passmoor’s pre-game team talk didn’t inspire.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0017Nap time.

Then the teams came (back) out. The announcer had trouble with the tannoy; failing to understand that when he shouted the system cut out to protect the speakers. This caused much amusement, especially as he was asking the crowd to ‘make some……. (noise)’.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0068 Skipper Bradley is hero-worshipped (see bottom left of pic).

Auntie Aileen kidnaps a small child at random.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0082I think she’d getting broody. 🙂

Anyhoo… on with the game. I’d only just got all my kit sorted out and boiled the kettle behind the goal County were attacking, when just three minutes in Aileen Whelan won a corner for Notts. Katie Hoyle clipped the ball into the box and Aileen Whelan, in a repeat of last week,  thundered the ball past Blues keeper Becky Spencer with her head.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0089Whelan wins the corner and heads in the corner but loses points for not also taking the corner. The girl was everywhere.

Notts vs Birmingham away_00931-0 Notts. Birmingham look on distraught.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0092Whelan wheels away to celebrate the Pies opener. Jess Clarke just makes sure she can’t poach a rebound…..

Notts vs Birmingham away_0120…. before joining in the celebrations herself. In the absence of information pertaining to the origins of this ‘happy dance’ we’ll have to settle for ‘howling at the moon’.

The Blues responded with determination. Battles were fought all over the park.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0106The large crowd filled the small ground creating a wonderful atmosphere.

Then to Birmingham’s dismay Notts County doubled their lead in the 20th minute. Desiree Scott’s cross was met by Laura-Jayne O’Neill whose header back across goal fell to Whelan looking for her second goal, but she failed to connect properly and the ball popped up in front of Fiona O’Sullivan……

Notts vs Birmingham away_0110… who trapped it neatly between her thighs….

Notts vs Birmingham away_0109… then prodded it into the back of the net with aplomb.

2-0 Notts!

Notts vs Birmingham away_0115O’Sullivan is hugged by Clarke. Potter’s clenched fists speak volumes. Birmingham had to win to stand a chance of clinching the title ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool and this was not the start they’d expected.

But with 10 minutes to half time the wheels on County’s charge for 4 wins from 4 came off. Karen carney had been the usual ‘pain in Notts’ side’ and it was her mazey run that indirectly led to the Blues equaliser…

Notts vs Birmingham away_0190Carney pain.

Rachel Corsie stopped Carney’s thrust through the County defense but the ball back to keeper Telford somehow didn’t get there and Blues’ Melissa Lawley stole in and played in team mate Kirsty Linnett, who needed two attempts to beat Amy Turner’s dogged defense on the line, to finally side-foot the ball into an empty net.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0172Birmingham score to pull back to 1-2 down.

With only 3 minutes left to half time the other wheel fell off the Pies barrow (can you have more than 1 wheel on a wheelbarrow?).

A scramble in the box resulted in the referee awarding a penalty. I didn’t see an infringement but strangely all of the Birmingham players, staff and supporters did. Hmmm, suspicious.

  Karen Carney, 10, stepped up to take the spot kick and side-footed the ball with much gusto to Telford’s right…….

Notts vs Birmingham away_0187…. Telford went the right way and pulled off a fantastic save! The ball actually rebounded back out to Carney who, with the goal wide-open managed to have her shot saved a second time by Telford who pulled off an even better save. You’ll note there’s no picture of that save as I was too busy punching the air after the initial save. Bad photographer.

The teams went in for half time with the score-line 2-1 in Notts favour. Elsewhere Chelsea were being beaten by Manchester City and Liverpool were ahead in their game.

The second half resumed and once again almost before we’d taken our seats and let the kettle boil, Birmingham equalised.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0200With just 3 minutes played Birmingham’s Hannah Keryakoplis picked up a fortunate deflection close in and slotted the ball past Carly Telford in the Notts’ goal to make it 2-2.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0198Birmingham equalise. Corsie is remiss in not returning the ball to the opposition quickly enough to assist them in their attempt to win the league, and a scuffle breaks out. The referee got involved too and remarkably failed to give anybody a yellow card – something he’d seemed unable to stop himself from doing all day.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0199Hannah Keryakoplis is gleeful at scoring and that look tells you she thinks a 3rd goal is imminent.

The game quickened after this goal. ‘Quickened’ is a euphemism for ‘became dirtier’ with some hard tackling accompanied by more yellow cards awarded by the ref.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0134O’Sullivan is flattened and needed attention.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0148Jess Clarke in the thick of it as ever.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0152Desiree (allergic to losing) Scott didn’t give an inch.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0208Telford’s goal came under constant pressure as Birmingham pushed for the winner.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0151Katie Hoyle was resolute! I’ve come to realise this season that Katie approaches every game as if it were a battle for territorial supremacy and dominance over her opposite number… and the ball. Grrr!

Notts vs Birmingham away_0156Birmingham leaped, and ran and hustled ….

Notts vs Birmingham away_0242… and threw the kitchen sink at Notts…

Notts vs Birmingham away_0206.. but the last few grains of sand slipped through the title chase hour glass of destiny….. and the ref blew for full time with the score line at 2-2.

Carney knows it’s all over and looks as if she knows who’s to blame.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0244Birmingham had failed in their attempt to beat Notts and lift the trophy.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0253Players were consoled in the full glare of the TV cameras….

Notts vs Birmingham away_0254… and sportsman-like standards were upheld.

It was the finish of the FA WSL season and Notts had risen above much adversity to climb the table and finish on a 4 game unbeaten run claiming 10 points from 12.

Notts vs Birmingham away_0141Many friendships have been forged this season. County have a tremendous squad of players and back room staff. Here’s hoping that they’ll all be returning for the 2014/2015 season at Meadow lane.

From my own point of view I’m been very proud to have been involved this season. The standard of football has been incredibly high, the atmosphere full of energy and excitement with the general conduct of the players and spectators exemplary. The biggest compliment I can pay the team and the league is that if I wasn’t pitch-side photographing the game I’d be buying a ticket to watch it. 🙂


(c) Drew Smith Photography


2 responses to “Magpies rob Blues of the title!

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  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed your blogs, both entertaining and knowledgeable! I hope you are back next season also.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww, thanks Sue. As ‘Arnie’ said: ‘I’ll be back!’ 🙂


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