Beard's term as Interim Manager comes to an end
Posted: Thursday, May 13th 2021
Saturday, April 17th 2021
Attention turn away from the league this weekend for City Women as they face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Fourth Rounds of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup on Sunday (2pm KO).
The trip to The Peoples Pension Stadium kickstarts the last four games of the season for the Robins as Matt Beard’s side looks to maintain their place in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League for another campaign.
The Robins fell to a 4-0 defeat to third-placed Arsenal in their last outing in what hard fought loss at Twerton Park.
Goals from Vivianne Miedema and Daniëlle Van De Donk in the first half ensured that the visitors went into the half-time break with a strong lead.
Beth Mead made it three minutes before Miedema grabbed her second and the Gunners’ fourth. The latter was denied her hat-trick on multiple occasions, with Sophie Baggaley putting in a commanding shift in-between the sticks to keep the score at 4-0.
Last five games: WLDDL
The loss to Arsenal was City’s first defeat in three games, with two valuable draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Birmingham City coming prior.
It was defeat at this stage in the FA Cup for City last year, when eventual finalists Everton won 5-0 at Ashton Gate in what was the penultimate game of the season.
The Robins’ last win came in the thrilling league match against Reading in March, and Beard will be hoping that his side can bounce back from their recent defeat and get back to winning ways.
Last five games: LWWW
After tasting defeat to Bristol City in March and looking like they could be in a relegation battle, Brighton found their feet and went on an impressive run of form, with the Seagulls managing to win five out of their last six.
The standout results from their recent run was the 2-1 win at table-toppers Chelsea, and most recently, a 1-0 win against Manchester United. Hope Powell’s side now sit sixth in the WSL and 14 points ahead of the relegation spot after their surge up the table.
The Seagulls have also kept four clean sheets in their last six, but Bristol City will be hoping their good run of recent results against Albion can help see them advance to the next round of the Cup.
The Robins picked up their first victory of the season in their last match against the Seagulls, with Bristol City comfortably beating Brighton 3-0 at Twerton Park.
Yana Daniels opened the scoring three minutes in when her long-range effort fizzed off the bar and into the net, and Ebony Salmon doubled the lead before half-time when she raced through on goal and slotted past the ‘keeper.
Salmon then confirmed all three points in the second half when she scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-0, 10 minutes before Kayleigh Green received her marching orders for the visitors.
The Dutch international signed for the Seagulls in the summer transfer window from fellow Barclays FAWSL side Everton, and Kaagman has found her feet in blue and white, with the midfielder quickly becoming a fans favourite.
Kaagman has managed seven goals this season for Albion, making her the club’s top scorer in the WSL. Impressively, the 24-year-old has been in hot-form recently, managing four goals in her last four games.
Kaagman made her Oranje debut in 2019 and has been a vital part of the squad ever since, so the Robins will have to be at their best to keep the tricky midfielder at bay this Sunday.
With the pressure of survival mounting ahead of the final three league games of the season, City boss Beard has urged his side to use this game as a chance to express themselves without the weight of the league on their shoulders.
“There is no pressure of the league in getting three points or a point – I really want them to go out there and express themselves,” said Beard.
“It’s a knockout situation, so we don’t really have anything to lose in these types of games.
“I want them to be creative and put into practice what we have been working on on the training pitch and do it with smiles on their faces, without the pressures of the league. We can then take that into the next game against Aston Villa and the two games that follow that."
City defender Flo Allen is also relishing the cup tie and would like her for side to go far in this competition and use it as a booster for the league, as they did with the FA Continental Cup.
“Everyone is really relishing it,” she said.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to progress in another cup competition this year. We’ve tasted what it is like in getting to the Conti Cup Final this year and that’s an exciting journey and we want to go further in this competition, and it starts on Sunday against Brighton.
“There is always a buzz around the FA Cup as a player because it is such an exciting competition. We’d love to get an FA Cup run going and like Matt (Beard) has been saying to us, it’s an opportunity for us to go out and express ourselves.
“It’s a knockout game, you’ve got to win to progress, so come Sunday we’ll be giving 110% to ensure we can progress.”
There will be no stream available for Sunday’s game Vitality Women’s FA Cup tie against Brighton and Hove Albion instead supporters can follow all the action via Social Media channels.
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