With no first team game this week due to the FA Womens’ Cup final, the focus was on the Development Team who are preparing for the Development League Cup final next Saturday.
It was a very entertaining 5-5 draw with Arsenal going 2-0 up, Millwall then going 3-2 up, Arsenal going up again 5-3 and Millwall coming back to 5-5 with both teams close to finding the winner in the last 15 minutes.
Laura Hooper scored a brace and Rianna Dean had a hat-trick.
The starting 11 was Rogers; Cooke, Ritchie-Williams, Brunton-Wilde, Hinds; Hooper, Littleboy, Fyfe; N’Gunga, Dean, Alexander with Peart, Filbey and Peters coming on as subs.
Overall it was a very good attacking performance with many chances created, while the team’s defending was certainly not up to scratch. The team’s balance was not right when the ball was lost and Millwall certainly made the most of the space available.
It is certainly the story of the season, with 81 goals scored in 16 games but also 23 conceded. At the end of day, attacking and defending are teamwork and the effort should be equally divided between those tasks.
It will be interesting to see who will stay at the end of the season as some players have clearly outgrown the Development Team level like Wubben-Moy, Patten, Dean and Hinds.
Girls should really play two seasons at Development level maximum before going to play at first team level, if possible at Arsenal, but the pathway is not really open. Therefore, trying to sign for other teams, either in WSL 1 or in WSL 2, is sometimes the better option and WPL teams also can offer god opportunities.
Speaking about opportunities, you hear noises of broken promises by the first team manager to give youngsters opportunities like at the Doncaster Belles games last season or during the Spring Series.
I don’t know if those promises were really made, but it does not appear that the manager has confidence in some of those youngsters. I know there are counter examples with Kelly and Williamson in previous seasons and Wubben-Moy and Patten this year.
But it looks like the two 18-year-old defenders are getting chances because all the senior defenders are injured, while Leah and Chloe have been in the first team for a while due to their exceptional talent.
Hopefully, the girls will win the Development League cup and the u16s will also win the FA Girls Youth Cup final next Saturday, 20 May, at St George’s Park.
The game is not open to fans by the way, only to friends and families.
The first team will be at home to Birmingham City in a double header at The Hive on the same day, with the London derby first on Wednesday at Staines Town FC against Chelsea.