This is starting to become the norm, isn’t it?
It seems whenever the first team leave us feeling disappointed after a defeat or a draw, the women’s team is always there to pick up the pieces.
While fans would hope that pattern changed and Wagner’s men begin winning football matches, I don’t think anyone would complain about the way in which City’s women are going about their business – not just by winning games but winning them convincingly.
And yesterday’s game was no different, acting as the perfect pick-me-up to the sporting disappointment of the weekend, with the capitulation to Daniel Farke’s Leeds, as well as the defeats for England in both the cricket and rugby leaving a sour taste in the mouth.
Usually, cup fixtures at this stage of the season could be seen as an inconvenience, especially with the current position in the Women’s National League Division One South East the Canaries find themselves in. However, with every member of the squad champing at the bit to be involved in every game, cup action is seemingly just as important as a promotion charge.
Despite City’s blistering start to the season, they headed to the Oak Stadium with a point to prove as London Seaward had already taken points off them this season in one of our few home games at The Nest.
Additionally, although we’ve all heard the cliché “the table doesn’t lie”, Norwich certainly didn’t underestimate London Seaward, despite the side from the capital sitting in 8th place in the National League Division One South East.
The match started in usual fashion, with City dictating the flow of the game early on, testing Seaward’s keeper Tia Ginn within the first ten minutes.
The Canaries didn’t have to wait long for a breakthrough, with forward Shannon Shaw netting after only 15 minutes, showing her eagerness in front of goal as she saw her first effort rattle the post before scoring the rebound.
One then became two on the half-hour mark, with midfield stalwart Megan Todd doing what she does best by doubling City’s advantage and sending them in at half-time with a two-goal lead.
Martin Herdman knew that he needed to manage the game effectively in the second half to prevent another capitulation like the one seen at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Fans had their heart in their mouths after the restart, when Herdman substituted goal scorer Shaw before City conceded a penalty for an alleged handball just after the hour mark.
Rea Thomas-Araya, who had forged chances for Seaward in the first half and looked bright throughout the game, converted from the penalty spot to bring the hosts back into the game.
It couldn’t happen again, could it?
It very nearly did, with Seaward coming close to an equaliser almost immediately, finding the side-netting after rounding Sarah Quantrill in the City goal. Quantrill and the Norwich faithful can count their blessings that further damage wasn’t done.
Despite the pressure being well and truly on for City, and momentum starting to build for the home side, Freya Symonds struck in the 76th minute to ease Norwich nerves and show why she’s so revered in front of goal.
The ability to ride the pressure from the hosts and come out the other side with a goal is what Norwich have done all season and is the reason why the women find themselves at the top end of the league.
Seaward came at the City defence again late on, but much like their other performances this season, Norwich held on to ensure they progress to the First Round proper of the FA Women’s Cup with a 3-1 victory.
David Wagner’s men should take note of how the women conduct themselves under pressure, and their composure and maturity after conceding if he wants an upturn in performances. Although women’s football may be seen in the shadow of the men’s game by some, the Norwich first team could learn a lot from their female counterparts.
Historically, Norwich are usually poor in the cup, with fans preferring a solid league finish to a lengthy cup run. However, this group of players is proving that, with the perfect blend of good management, squad depth, and unwavering belief, both a lengthy cup run and a strong league campaign are possible.
It’s the second time in four weeks that City have progressed in cup competition, having beaten AFC Bournemouth in the Women’s National League Cup first round at the start of the month.
It’s in the second round of the WNL Cup that City play their next fixture, away to London Bees next weekend to round off October – a dominant month in which the club have every fixture they’ve played.
The first round of this season’s FA Women’s Cup is scheduled for November 12th, with City eagerly awaiting their next cup conquest.
The next league fixture for the club sees Norwich FINALLY back in action at The Nest, allowing Yellow’s fans to finally see the team back in the fine city! The club host Ashford Town on November 5th looking to reclaim top spot in the division after AFC Wimbledon beat Worthing on Sunday to reach the league’s summit.