Old Blackburnians, Lammac Road, Blackburn
Sunday 15th January 2012
Report: Dave Cunliffe
Given the borderline conditions it was to the credit of the two teams and the referee that this fixture went ahead.
A bright sun on a frost firmed pitch saw Blackburn immediately on the offensive, a situation which prevailed for probably ninety per cent of the game, and within 5 minutes they were a goal to the good, adding a second four minutes later. The movement of the home team was excellent right across the field of play and Lancaster simply couldn’t get off the back foot and deal with the runs of the Blackburn forwards.
City’s first foray into opposition territory came on ten minutes but the back four kept their shape and gave Lynch and Cleminson nothing to work with. Gardner and Taylor gradually came into the game in the middle of the park and with the rest of the teaming grafting hard the visitors managed to stay in the game but Blackburn always looked dangerous, very good on the ball and precise with their passes. Lancaster must have been pleased to see the 30 minute mark come and go with the score still 2-0 and despite being a bit in and out with their play a couple of half chances might have produced more had they played an earlier ball to the front two. City now started to lose the ball a little too easily in midfield and on 38 minutes they were made to pay when a break down the right, which looked like coming to nothing, found a home forward somehow getting the ball across the area, the City defence were caught on their heels and the quick reactions of the home forwards left Mills with no chance.
After the interval the home side carried on where they had left off at halftime and the City goal became more and more besieged. On 50 minutes Blackburn went four up, they were attacking predominantly down the left now and a low cross along the edge of the area eluded three defenders and presented them with the simplest of goals. On 52 minutes Vincent made way for Husband but still City found it impossible to retain possession and were reduced to speculative balls forward which the home defence continued to deal with comfortably.
In a particularly heavy period of pressure McTominey found herself making her third goal line clearance of the match and from it a powerful Blackburn shot rattled against the cross bar. The home side kept City pinned down in the area from the rebound and eventually the pressure told on 56 minutes when a looping shot from the edge of the area defeated Mills.
Lancaster made another substitution on 59 minutes, Vincent returning for Weston, but yet again, despite all their willing efforts, they couldn’t create any momentum. The whole City team were giving of their best but still they couldn’t get into the game, Gardner and Cleminson time and again tackling back in an attempt to stem the tide.
Another goal came on 68 minutes as the continual attacks told and then on 83 minutes Mills, for the first time, failed to be first to a through ball and Blackburn found the net again. On this occasion it is probably fair to say that Mills was not entitled to get there but she was left with no alternative and anyway she had bossed her area the whole game, particularly in cutting out numerous dangerous probing balls.
As the game drew to its conclusion, tiredness, both mental and physical, took its toll and the home side added two more goals on 85 and 90 minutes to round off a comprehensive victory.
Sometimes you just have to accept that you have been beaten by a better side, City were simply not allowed to create anything better than a handful of half chances and Blackburn dealt with them comfortably. The home side were precise with their passing and movement, both on and off the ball, particularly down the left flank, and City, who were continually playing catch, couldn’t retain possession long enough to build up a head of steam but they won’t be the last side to have that experience against this good Blackburn team.
Team:- Mills; Vincent, Dixon, McGann, Law; McTominey, Gardner, Taylor, Weston;