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Sunderland Ladies v Birmingham City Women: Barclays FA Women’s Championship

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Lasses Match Preview: Sunderland Women are feeling anything but Blue

Sunderland Women will look to extend their unbeaten run and close the gap at the top of the table as they take on ninth-placed Birmingham City this afternoon.

Photo by Ashley Allen - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Saturday 8th October 2023

Birmingham Women v Sunderland Women

FA Women’s Championship - 2pm kick-off

St Andrews Stadium, Cattell Road, Birmingham B9 4RL

Tickets & match coverage

Tickets: Tickets are still available. Fans wishing to attend the Lasses’ fixture can secure their seat with tickets priced at £8 for adults, £5 for concessions and 16-22’s and £2 for under-16s.

Highlights: The FA Player will have highlights and a full match replay from Monday afternoon.

Coverage: The FA Player have picked Birmingham Women v Sunderland Women as their live game for the weekend. Supporters can watch live and for free on the FA Player app and website. Updates will be provided on Twitter via @SAFCWomen, and we will be sharing photos, videos and comments on the game via our @HawayPod Twitter account.

The Lasses

Ignoring the imposter syndrome that currently imbues most Sunderland fans of both the men's and women’s persuasion, the lasses currently find themselves in the dizzying heights of second in the Women’s championship and undefeated in that regard too.

Already Sunderland are two points off their total points tally for the 22/23 season, which illustrates the leaps and bounds the club has made over preseason and into the first quarter of the football calendar.

With a plethora of young, energetic and exciting talent, mixed with experienced and mature heads, this Sunderland team is captivating to watch. Unlike last season where perhaps we were guilty of respecting our opponents too much and standing off them whilst we searched for the opportunity to counter, this Lasses side are ruthless.

The press from the entire squad is mesmerising to witness, starting off with focal point Liz Ejupi in attack. The desire and determination to get the ball back, hustle the opposition and force them back is captivating and entertaining.

Sunderland v Watford - Barclays Women’s Championship Photo by Richard Callis/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Our new signings are already off the mark with Natasha Fenton and Mary McAteer both getting themselves on the scoresheet in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Watford FC. We were even robbed of a spectacular and audacious goal courtesy of Jenna Dear’s attempted bicycle kick which went inches over the crossbar.

Beautiful football is the theme for the season so far with this Sunderland team. But it takes more than just technical ability, sublime passing and confidence to get the squad playing like potential promotion chasers.

Sunderland currently have the best defensive record in the league, conceding only two in five matches courtesy of weekly standout performances from Claudia Moan and her defenders, further emphasised by her two clean sheets already.

Yet, as the old Michael Owen clichéd saying goes - goals win games. Seeing the lasses attack and frontline is a breath of fresh air at the moment, with the team only falling to score in one fixture so far.

The current goals for tally, however, does not reflect what we are witnessing on the pitch. Restless, merciless and buoyed, there is no resting on their laurels with these players and the constant barrage of attacking opportunities can only be compared and encapsulated perfectly with The Simpsons meme of - Stop, stop! He’s already dead.

The Opposition

Birmingham enjoys playing a passing game. They are content to move forward slowly and develop the play from the back and middle of the field. They wait for openings to arise by using their passes to entice rival players away from their positions.

Birmingham’s weaknesses include a propensity for playing too high up or getting caught up the pitch. As a result, when they are dispossessed, it offers the ideal opportunity to play in a through ball, which is ideal for the pace and accurate passing of Liz Ejupi, Mary McAteer, Emily Scarr and Katy Watson.

The Blues may be guilty of attempting to be too nice at the back and overusing the passing game. Under pressure, they can attempt to play the ball out from the back rather than clearing the threat with a lofted ball up the field, which has resulted in goals being scored as a direct result of these mistakes.

They keep the ball in their possession for too long, which invites challenges and eliminates any opportunity for a counterattack or charge up the field. They have a hard time keeping their shape and can engage in excessive ball-watching.

However it is important to acknowledge that since the end of last season, Birmingham have had both plenty of players come in and go out of the club this summer. The Blues have signed the likes of familiar face Neve Herron, Ellie Mason, Katie Dungate and Lily Agg. Whilst Remi Allen and Jade Moore also made a return to Birmingham.

Birmingham have not been run off of the park in their opening fixtures, losing only by a one goal margin in most of their games. This could have been further expedited by them having two players sent off in two separate matches.

The Blues currently sit ninth in the Women’s Championship and were yet to win a game this season until last weekend, where the side managed an impressive 3-1 away win over Southampton FC Women.

Birmingham City v Crystal Palace - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Tony Marshall - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Head to head...

(All venues, WSL2/Championship + Continental Tyres Cup since 2014)

Played: 11

Sunderland wins: 3

Birmingham wins: 6

Draws: 2

Sunderland goals: 12

Birmingham goals: 19

Last time out...

Birmingham City Women 1 - 3 Sunderland Women - Women’s Championship

St Andrews, 22nd January 2022

Scarr 41’

Pennock 44’

Brown 55’

McCatty 67’


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