Match Report: Birmingham City 3-2 Coventry United

Birmingham City survived a late scare in the Barclays Women’s Championship, with goals from Jade Pennock, Louise Quinn and Ashley Hodson giving them a 3-2 victory over Coventry United in the West Midlands derby.

Blues had the better of the early part of the game and had the first big opportunity with two and a half minutes gone thanks to a right-footed Harriet Scott effort inside the box that took a deflection and went out for a corner, but this would be well dealt with by Coventry.

The visitors would respond quickly, keeping possession and getting up the pitch, resulting in an audacious effort from Simran Jhamat that was caught by Lucy Thomas in the Birmingham goal.

Just beyond the 10 minute mark, Coventry hero turned Birmingham player Mollie Green struck a free-kick that had the beating of Jodie Whiteman but rattled off the crossbar, nearly sending the home crowd into a frenzy, with the run of play that followed ending with Blues captain Quinn heading safely into the hands of Whiteman, giving the away side some much needed breathing room.

Just two minutes later, Blues would take the lead through Pennock, who latched onto a through ball and ran effortlessly into the box, beating the Coventry defence and slotting ball past Whiteman and into the bottom right-hand corner, giving Blues a deserved advantage.

The visitors responded poorly to the setback and looked defensively weak and prone to mistakes, which resulted in Pennock nearly doubling her tally on 16 minutes after some panic at the back, but her effort would end up going wide.

Despite this, Blues’ lead would be doubled on the 18 minute mark after a corner from Green was met with ease by the head of Quinn, establishing a level of comfort and clear superiority over their opposition.

Following this the game entered its quietest period up to this point, with Coventry managing to win an uneventful corner, but it was still Blues in the driving seat, keeping possession and allowing the visitors no space to cause issues.

Blues nearly had a third on 31 minutes after a close-range cross from Libby Smith was tapped towards goal by Pennock, but this was well saved by Whiteman, with the resulting scuffle leading to a corner that came to nothing.

The later period of the half would pass without any incidents of note, meaning Blues went in two goals to the good after a superb start, leaving Coventry with a mountain to climb after the break.

The second-half started with Blues maintaining their momentum in possession and they were working hard to create chances, but they found themselves unable to increase their advantage at that moment.

A moment of madness happened for Blues on the 56 minute mark when a cross from Pennock found the feet of Siobhan Wilson, who volleyed the ball to the feet of Smith, but her sliding effort from close-range and with a mostly open net would fly over, a huge relief for Coventry.

Just a couple of minutes later, Blues’ lead would be extended to three thanks to substitute Hodson, who pounced to slot the ball home after the initial effort from Smith, that was created by a superb passing movement from Christie Murray and Wilson, was saved by Whiteman.

Pennock was again narrowly denied her second goal on 65 minutes when after getting to a Smith through ball, her powerful effort rattled the crossbar, which led to the ball hitting a Coventry defender and going out for a corner, though nothing came of it.

Out of nowhere, Coventry got one back just two minutes later after a cross from Alana Mann was tucked home at the near post by substitute Mary Mcateer, giving the visitors their first goal of the season and a huge lift going into the final 20 minutes.

It would be the 83rd minute before another notable chance came in favour of Blues, with substitute Lucy Quinn powering the ball over the bar after latching onto a strong through ball from Scott and doing well to keeping possession in the process.

Coventry struck again on 88 minutes thanks to an own goal from Green, with this again happening at the near post after a cross to set up an exciting conclusion.

Blues would hold on throughout added time to return to winning ways and seal the West Midlands bragging rights, a huge victory in their title fight, though Coventry can hold their heads high, with their performance in the second half being a clear indication of what the team can do as the season continues.

Photo: @BCFCwomen