REPORT: Blues Ladies 2 WBA Women 0
IT WAS a winning start for new manager Marc Skinner after his Birmingham City Ladies side booked their place in quarter-final of the Women's FA Cup thanks to a comfortable 2-0 victory over West Brom.
It was a winning start for new manager Marc Skinner after his Birmingham City Ladies side booked their place in quarter-final of the Women's FA Cup thanks to a comfortable 2-0 victory over West Brom.
England striker Ellen White scored on her Blues debut and Jess Carter also got her name on the scoresheet as Birmingham beat their West Midlands rivals at the Automated Technology Group Stadium to progress in the competition.
It took a while for the Blues to settle into the match with neither side creating any notable chances in the early stages of the match.
It was the visitors who came close to taking the lead with 17 minutes played. Abi Cottam unleashed an audacious 30-yard shot which looked destined for the top corner but Ann-Katrin Berger did well to push the ball onto the post.
That was a warning sign for the hosts and it certainly was the wake up call they needed.
Striker Freda Ayisi found space in the penalty and did well to pull the ball back for Ellen White but her volley went high over the bar on 23 minutes, while Ayisi came close with a header shortly after the half-hour mark.
Birmingham continued to search for a breakthrough with Ayisi coming close again with a header at the near post and Ellen White headed a Paige Williams corner narrowly wide.
Williams almost made it a debut to remember when she let fly from 30-yards out but despite beating goalkeeper Bec Thomas the ball came back off the bar.
The warning signs had been there for Albion and it was no surprise to see the hosts take the lead two minutes before the break when Jess Carter sent a glancing header past Thomas in the Albion goal.
Blues picked up where they left off at the re-start and twice came close to doubling their lead. First Ayisi saw her shot well saved by Thomas before Jess Carter's 25-yard striker was also well saved.
A second goal eventually came on the hour mark when White headed home from close range with Williams getting the assist.
It could have been three soon after following a neat bit of play that ended with Mayling sending in an excellent cross that was met by Ayisi but she directed her header straight at Thomas in the West Brom goal.
Skinner introduced young striker Ellie Brazil with 20 minutes remaining and she came close to scoring her first senior goal for Birmingham in the 73rd minute but Thomas did well to keep out her close range effort.
Minutes later Brazil broke free inside the penalty area and instead of shooting, which perhaps was the better option, she squared the ball toward White but the ball was cleared by the West Brom defence.
The hosts had chances late on to add to their tally, wit Williams coming close with a free kick but her goal-bound effort was tipped around the post by Thomas.
Team: Berger, Williams, Carter, Mannion, Harrop, Westwood (Sargeant 78), Mayling (Ewers 84), Peplow, Stringer, Ayisi (Brazil 70), White
Subs not used – Baggaley, Wellings