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The Final Whistle

Are you taking football seriously enough?


Television history made as BBC broadcast women’s third tier play-off final on iplayer

The Women’s National League was given a terrific boost today as the BBC saw fit to broadcast the play-off final between WNL South Champions, Southampton and Wolverhampton, their equivalent from the WNL North division. The prize at stake at Edgeley Park: promotion to the WSL Championship.

Southampton FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers go head to head in the Women’s National League play-off on Saturday, in a winner-takes-it-all confrontation

After winning their respective leagues at a canter, both Southampton and Wolves now have their sights set firmly on the FA Women’s Championship Division next season. Predicting a winner is difficult and defeat will be a very difficult pill to swallow for the losing side in this ‘battle of the Hamptons’.

Having been fortunate enough to report on the Saints’ south-coast derby match last month, against fierce rivals Portsmouth, I can offer some first-hand analysis of what I saw. On the positive side, I was particularly impressed with their technical ability in midfield, quality down the flanks, and their passing through midfield. However, in a 2-0 victory, where the Saints should have really cashed-in on their first half domination, Portsmouth very nearly got themselves back into the game as Southampton dropped ever deeper.

Liverpool in good health ahead of trip to Villareal in Champions League semi-final

Liverpool have no new injury concerns ahead of their UEFA Champions League semi-final, second leg match at Villareal next week. The reds came through their weekend win at Newcastle unscathed with only Roberto Firminho still unavailable with a foot injury. Meanwhile, Unai Emery has some injury concerns with Gerard Moreno, Raul Albiol, and Arnaut Danjuma… Read More »Liverpool in good health ahead of trip to Villareal in Champions League semi-final

Champions League boost for Scottish clubs – Paul Blake reports

Next season’s champions in Scotland will progress directly to the group stages of the 2022/23 Champions League, it has been revealed. The decision comes as UEFA imposed further sanctions on Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine. Scotland, whose coefficient ranking is currently eleventh for the 2022-23 season, are assured a spot in the Champions League… Read More »Champions League boost for Scottish clubs – Paul Blake reports

Toffees in unfamiliar battle to avoid ‘the drop’ – Paul Blake looks back at the last time Everton stared relegation in the face and survived.

Optimism seems to be draining away from Everton fans following this weekend’s sour-tasting defeat in the Merseyside derby, which saw the Toffees tumble into the bottom three with just six games left to play this season. Few readers may remember the last time Everton were in such a precarious position. In 1994, the blues escaped… Read More »Toffees in unfamiliar battle to avoid ‘the drop’ – Paul Blake looks back at the last time Everton stared relegation in the face and survived.

EFL Championship – Sixth playoff spot up for grabs – Paul Blake explores the permutations going into the final weeks.

With just a couple of games left of the Championship season, the top two positions are all but decided. Fulham were justly promoted on Saturday following a 1-1 draw with title rivals Bournemouth. The point for Bournemouth, earned through a converted penalty late in injury time, helped ‘The Cherries’ edge tantalisingly closer to a return… Read More »EFL Championship – Sixth playoff spot up for grabs – Paul Blake explores the permutations going into the final weeks.

Automatic promotion and playoff places still up for grabs going into the final week of the EFL League One season – Paul Blake reports.

Things are shaping up nicely (for the neutral) as we head into the final week of the League One season. At the summit, neither Wigan Athletic or Rotherham United are guaranteed an automatic spot. MK Dons, mathematically at least, can still get amongst the top two. Both Wigan and Rotherham have tricky midweek away trips… Read More »Automatic promotion and playoff places still up for grabs going into the final week of the EFL League One season – Paul Blake reports.

Southampton Women secure promotion play-off berth after winning FA Women’s National League Southern Premier title – Paul Blake reports.

Southampton women made it nine wins in a row as they put local rivals, Portsmouth, in their place with a sublime performance at St Mary’s Stadium tonight. Goals either side of half-time from Sophia Pharoah and Lucia Kendall capped a fine performance from Marrianne Spacey-Cale’s side. The Saints were understandably nervous in front of a… Read More »Southampton Women secure promotion play-off berth after winning FA Women’s National League Southern Premier title – Paul Blake reports.

Equador dream of glory in Qatar – Paul Blake discusses Ecuador’s past experiences with World Cup qualification and looks forward to Qatar 2022.

In 2001, When Ecuador coach Hernán Darío Gómez was shot in the thigh by the bodyguard of Joselo Rodriguez, president of the second division Santa Rita soccer club, the relationship between football and political intervention in Ecuadorian sport had reached a significantly low point. Fortunately Gomez’ shooting did not prove fatal. Allegedly, the attack was… Read More »Equador dream of glory in Qatar – Paul Blake discusses Ecuador’s past experiences with World Cup qualification and looks forward to Qatar 2022.

Arsenal Women and Chelsea Women in epic battle for supremacy – Paul Blake reports on the WSL where two sides are separated by a single point.

The Women’s Super League title race is going right down to the wire with both London clubs still on track to complete a league and cup double. When Arsenal returned to the summit of the WSL on Sunday, after a resounding 5-0 thrashing of Leicester, they might have suspected that it might not be for… Read More »Arsenal Women and Chelsea Women in epic battle for supremacy – Paul Blake reports on the WSL where two sides are separated by a single point.

For the love of the game #1 – Sixfields, Northampton Town

What else was I going to do with a free Saturday in March? On a balmy hot Spring Saturday, I traveled to Sixfields, Northampton in search of football’s heart and soul.