Following on from last week’s blog around women’s football, here comes another one! Last weekend I took my eldest daughter to the Amex Stadium in Brighton to watch England’s Women’s team play their final warm up match before heading to France for the World Cup.
My first women’s game was back in 1988 when I saw Maidstone Tigresses’ in action, a team at the time one of best in the second tier of the game. My most recent action was two seasons ago watching Worthing Ladies take on Hassocks in a cup final, ironically at Maidstone Utd’s ground!
As I mentioned last week, the women’s game is the fastest growing section of the sport and more and more professional and grassroots teams are adding a ladies team to their portfolio’s. It’s great to see so many girls coming into the game, after all they’ve been coming to men’s games for years so now it’s about time they became more involved within it.
Having the opportunity to see International football on your doorstep for just a tenner was always a no-brainer and a chance to see how good this side of the game is becoming and if England really could hit the latter stages of the World Cup.
And despite the result, the Lionesses showed plenty throughout the game to suggest they will be there or thereabouts in France. The front three of Jodie Taylor, Nikita Parris and Toni Duggan looked very sharp but couldn’t produce an end product which inevitably left England rueing missed chances. New Zealand offered little in the way of an attacking intent, indeed their winning goal came from only their second attack of the game early in the second half.
Substitutions blighted the second half and it turned into a dis-jointed performance from England despite the probing of Fran Carney to try and find an equaliser. What was pleasing though was the way the hosts kept possession throughout the game, waiting for an opportunity rather than forcing the play until the latter stages arrived.
Phil Neville’s team were missing four regular players, all of whom are expected to be fit for the first game this coming weekend and despite the New Zealand result not going the way of the Lionesses, there is no reason to believe England won’t make it out of the group stage and onto bigger and better things.
I will certainly be looking to take in some more women’s games this season, Worthing Women and London Bees will hopefully be my destinations at some point, but for the World Cup I’m tipping the Lionesses to at least match the men and reach the semi finals, is there a reason why we can’t win it?