Cardiff defeat Cherries in top of the table clash

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Credit: Nerve Sport / Zach Sampson

AFC Bournemouth Women took on Cardiff City LFC in a game which saw 3rd host 2nd in a top of the table clash, with the game finishing 2-1 to the visitors.

The game started slowly with both teams having their share of the ball and creating half chances. The first real opportunity of the game fell in the 12th minute when Molly Clark was poked through by Helen Albuery, however the shot was fired straight at Laura O'Sullivan.

The Cherries looked to capitalise on their spell of first-half dominance in the 15th minute when Humphries found herself through in on goal, but the shot was poor, being fired straight at the keeper.

Bournemouth’s ascendancy continued with another chance coming just six minutes later when Betty Barron played Lucy Cooper through on goal however she was unable to get the ball past the seemingly impenetrable Cardiff goalkeeper.

The deadlock was broken in the 24th minute much against the run of play when a Cardiff in-swinging corner was met at the back post and headed across goal into the right-hand corner and past an outstretched Katie Scadding.

Following their goal the momentum was flipped on their head and the Welsh side started dominating possession, this was capped off when Ellie Sargent ran through in on goal and fired it straight at Scadding who parried it out to the right; however, Sargent followed the ball up again crossing it this time and finding a Cardiff player who headed it into the back of the net making it 2-0.

Bournemouth came out from half-time flying, and looking to make a statement, as 10 seconds in Molly Clark’s long-range effort narrowly sailed over the crossbar, making the crowd gasp.

Abby Jones was brought on 10 minutes into the second half and seemingly injected a burst of energy into the Boscombe side. As soon as she came on, she picked up the ball at left-back and carried the ball to the opposition box, cutting back in on her right. She lofted the ball over to Albuery whose effort bounced out of the box into the path of Molly Clark who hit a left-footed volley that had the keeper scrambling to make a save.

The tempo of the game started to plateau, with Bournemouth having the lion’s share of possession but struggling to make anything come from it.

The Cherries squandered a wonderful chance to get themselves back in the game, in the 71st minute, as Albuery was slid in one-on-one with the keeper, by Molly Clark, but her shot was straight at the keeper as they wasted a golden opportunity.

In the 87th minute, the moment all Cherries fans had been waiting for as a momentary lapse of concentration by the Cardiff goalkeeper saw her get dispossessed by Lucy Cooper who tapped the ball into an empty net. The striker and goalkeeper then had to be separated as they both tried to get hold of the ball.

The Welsh visitors were able to withstand Bournemouth’s pressure for the rest of the game as they held on for all three points and leap-frogged Exeter City to go top of the league.

The player of the match has to go to Cardiff’s keeper O’Sullivan. Without her outstanding first-half performance the Cherries would have quite possibly gone into the break leading the game.

We spoke to Steve Cuss exclusively to get his post-match thoughts on the game: “We’re obviously disappointed to lose the game, but if you told me before the start, we would make that many chances against a team that have only conceded only one goal all season. I’d have been very pleased.”

Bournemouth are back in action next weekend in the third round qualifying of the FA Cup where they host Forest Green Rovers.