The Damson Park crowd created a carnival atmosphere for Birmingham City’s Women’s Super League opener. It may have been Anna-Louise Adams’ first live women’s football match but it won’t be her last . . .
Despite having watched televised women’s football, I had never actually got round to attending a live match until Sunday. After persuading my dad to come and watch Birmingham City Ladies v Manchester City Women for their opening Women’s Super League fixture, I stared out of my bedroom window to see nothing but rain lashing down and strong winds. Nevertheless, we ventured out to Damson Park, the home of Solihull Moors FC. It’s a ground I am familiar with having reported on Moors v Worksop Town in the FA Trophy a few seasons ago.
The first thing that took me by surprise was the car park (albeit a small one) being full, and having to park a good bit away from the ground. An attendance of 757 meant that the ground was far busier than when I had been there before, and the atmosphere was cracking from the outset. Face-painted children, chanting families, and a very loud diehard elderly couple next to me ensured I was smiling for the full 90 minutes.
Given that Moors play in Non League, the ground only has two seated areas meaning that we were standing for the entire match. That combined with the bitter cold at the hands of the wind left me with very tight muscles.
The match itself got off to a slow start, with neither team really threatening. While Manchester City looked the more likely team to score, the first half ended goalless. Although, it wasn’t entirely uneventful after Freda Ayisi was shown a straight red for lashing out at City keeper Karen Bardsley.
However, the sending off appeared to galvanise Blues, who came out far stronger after the break and created the majority of the chances in the second half. Despite cranking up the pressure, they just weren’t quick enough in front of goal, with City’s defence almost impenetrable. The game finished 0-0 giving both clubs a point for their opening match.
Overall, it was a well-played match, given the weather conditions, with Blues the better team for 60 minutes of the game. For my first experience of a live women’s football match, I couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere. I found that there were far more families, women and young children in the crowd compared to Non League fixtures I’ve attended.
Another thing worth noting is that tickets for an adult were only £7 on the gate and £6 online – far cheaper than football even in the Southern Premier League. My dad and I came away agreeing that we would try and get to a Blues Ladies match at least once a month. So my advice would be, don’t knock women’s football until you have tried it!
Read more from Anna Louise here!