Birmingham and Bristol share spoils in their fight against relegation

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Both managers played down the importance of this game but you cannot deny this was a six pointer. A win for either side would be crucial in their fight to avoid relegation. In the end neither side did enough to win what was a fairly feisty game.

Starting XIs

Birmingham City

Hampton; Scott, Brougham, Mace, Holloway, Murray (c), Whipp, Littlejohn, Mayling, Walker, Napier

Bristol City

Baggaley; Evans (c), Pike, Humphrey, Salmon, Daniels, Wellings, Harrison, Purfield, Mastrantonio, Skeels

How it went

The pendulum of momentum was kept busy swinging in this battle to avoid relegation. Birmingham started off on the front foot with two good chances inside the first ten minutes.

Within two minutes, Lucy Whipp had a great chance to score but Sophie Baggaley palmed it away for a corner. Then, Ruesha Littlejohn latched on to a Sarah Mayling pass to send a delightful half volley which Baggaley tipped over the bar.

This sparked the visitors into a reaction. They raced down the wing courtesy of Abigail Harrison who sent a cross into the Blues box.

Her cross was not dealt with by Rebecca Holloway or Christie Murray, which allowed Carla Humphrey to get a shot in on goal. Her blocked shot found its way to ex Blue Charlie Wellings who made no mistake in firing past Hampton.

Immediately, the pendulum swung back towards the Vixens. The goal gave the visitors confidence which continued for the remainder of the first half.

A battle to avoid relegation

In the second half, the match was far more even with both sides creating plenty of chances.

Bristol sent several long balls towards Humphrey who could not capitalise on them. Ruby Mace, still only 17 years old, had an oustanding game at the back.

Both teams could feel the pressure and there were some feisty tackles flying in. Holloway was lucky not to give away a penalty fouling on the edge of the box. The free-kick from Jemma Purfield brought a vital save from Hannah Hampton.

Bristol went close again through Yana Daniels who headed just wide of Hampton’s net. Jamie-Lee Napier and Littlejohn combined well but the effort was way over the bar.

Ebony Salmon then ran on to a great ball from Abi Harrison. Salmon ran half the length of the pitch but her shot was just wide of Hampton’s goal.

The pendulum swung once more towards the home side. Mayling picked the ball up on the edge of the box and fired a superb shot which was finger-tipped over the bar by Baggaley.

Mayling took a low corner which found its way to captain Christie Murray. She fired first time into the back of the Bristol net.

The corner was definitely something Birmingham had been practising. It was a mirror image of the goal they scored against West Ham United in keeping the ball low before shooting on goal. This was also Mayling’s second assist in two games.

The game heated up in the final fifteen minutes with several more bookings after some feisty challenges.

What the result means

Neither side wanted to lose this game. A win for either side would certainly have helped their chances of avoiding relegation. The result leaves Blues two points above the Vixens who have played one game more.

The relegation battle is now clearly between four teams. Neither Aston Villa or West Ham United are safe either. The finale to the season is going to be very interesting at the bottom.

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