As we near the end of the league season there is still much to be decided within the top tiers of women’s football. In this series of articles, I want to look at those hopeful of winning their respective division and those fighting for promotion.
In part two, I focus on the second level of the women’s football pyramid, the Barclays Women’s Championship. This one is a little more straight forward predictions as Bristol City have a six point lead over their rivals, or at least it seems that way if the form table is anything to go by.
Charlton Athletic are mathematically out of the running to win the Championship, however, they will still be focused on a potential second-place finish. In order to do so, they will have their work cut out as they must overcome Bristol City (a) and Crystal Palace (h).
Crystal Palace are the most frustrating team to watch in the division, they can be mesmerising one game but well below par the next. Demonstrated by them not picking up a single draw this season but have won ten and lost ten. Since the turn of the year Palace has picked up six points out of a possible twenty-one, however, an upturn in form has seen them record three wins in their last four matches.
Whatever happens, Charlton cannot finish lower than a very respectable fourth-place finish.
While London City Lionesses and Bristol City will consider themselves in the more favourable position with points on the board it is the in-form Birmingham City who poses the biggest threat to Bristol’s dream of promotion back to the Women’s Super League.
Birmingham have only lost once since February, in a run which has seen them record wins against league rivals Southampton and Crystal Palace, led by Jade Pennock’s eleven goals.
Birmingham play their game in hand, one of two in a row against Durham, this evening. If they can pick up six points out of those two games then their final game of the season is against Bristol City, a win there and then it could be the Blues who return to the WSL at the first time of asking. Well, that would also require Bristol dropping points in their penultimate game against Charlton.
Waiting in the wings, hoping that their rivals can take points from each other are London City Lionesses. Their last two games are against Blackburn Rovers (a) and beleaguered Coventry United (h). With Coventry’s relegation confirmed they have little more to play for than pride, while managerless Rovers are without a win in the league since November and may have more thoughts on their summer and next season.
Looking at the outstanding fixtures I believe that Charlton Athletic have their work cut out and will have to settle for a fourth-placed finish. With Birmingham City coming in just ahead in third place, while they will fall short I believe are in a superb position going into next season.
I see London City Lionesses picking up the maximum six points in their final two games giving them forty-five points, but I don’t see Bristol failing to record a point in their final two games, in fact, I see them picking up maximum points, finishing on fifty-one points. Based on the season as a whole, I believe that Lauren Smith’s Robin’s will be worthy league winners and very much welcomed back into the Women’s Super League next season.