Sunday 10 June 2012
FA WSL Continental Cup match
Blues Ladies booked their place in the semi-finals of the FA WSL Continental Cup thanks to an efficient performance against Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Goals from Eni Aluko and Jodie Taylor in either half ensured their team qualified from Group One with seven points from three games.
An experimental Blues side took their time to get into the contest as Doncaster enjoyed a couple of chances, but the predatory Taylor soon got her team-mates attacking juices flowing.
However, the linesman’s flag ruled out Taylor’s fine finish on 11 minutes for offside.
Undeterred by the knock back, the 25-year-old forced Mary Earps into a smart save, which was followed up by Rachel Williams’ stinging strike on 18 minutes.
Birmingham increased the pressure as the half wore on and their dominance was rewarded courtesy of Aluko.
Taylor’s neat flick resulted in the England international bearing down on goal and the striker coolly slotted the ball underneath Earps into the bottom corner.
Parker’s side were rarely threatened by their Yorkshire opponents up until half-time, with the hosts happy to play proceedings at their own pace.
But the DCS Stadium outfit started the second-half at frightening speed and were unlucky not to double their advantage earlier than they did.
Taylor first had a penalty claim waved away after going down in the box, then shortly afterwards only a superb stop from Earps denied Williams her fifth goal of the campaign.
Blues were very much at ease for the remainder of the match, and they made sure of their last-four spot thanks to Taylor’s 71st minute strike.
Emily Westwood's huge clearance found the former Melbourne Victory forward, who clipped the ball past Earps.
Parker said of Taylor: “Jodie’s absolutely fantastic in front of goal. For natural instincts in and around the box, no one’s near her in this league. She’s just the most natural centre forward in England at the moment.”
Birmingham will now visit Lincoln Ladies on the weekend of September 1/2 for a place in the final.
Parker added: “You always prefer home ties but that’s not the setup of the competition, so Lincoln away is going to be a really tough game and it’s going to be very intriguing by the time we get there in September.”
Blues: Marie Hourihan, Chelsea Weston (Emily Westwood 59), Rachel Unitt, Laura Bassett (C), Kerys Harrop, Karen Carney (Jo Potter 64), Jade Moore, Rachel Williams (Maz Ballard 74), Izzy Christiansen, Jodie Taylor, Eni Aluko.
Subs (unused): Anna Wilcox, Hannah George, Harley Simpson, Cristina Torkildsen.
Goals: Aluko (31), Taylor (71)
Doncaster: Mary Earps, Leandra Little, Tanya Oxtoby, Lyndsey Cunningham, Naomi Chadwick (Shelby Hills 72), Alyssa Lagonia, Kasia Lipka, Katie Holtham (C), Aine O’Gorman (Bethany England 46), Millie Bright (Julie- Ann Russell 64), Jessica Sigsworth.
Subs (unused): Lucy Sowerby.
Player-of-the-match: E. Aluko
Referee: S. Ihringova