With the season coming to an end, there isn’t a great deal of games left. When Middlesbrough announced this game last week, I was always going to try to get there. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this game today. I did a bit of research into Dallas Baptist to see if I could gauge what sort of competition they would prove to be for Middlesbrough. I don’t fully know how the BUCS system works so there is no chance I’m going to be able to fully work out how the American college system works! The women’s football system in America is split into three divisions with division one being the top division. There are 26 leagues and 206 teams at that level in the States. Division 1 is seen as more or less professional with division 3 being amateur. Dallas Baptist play in division 2 where there are 22 leagues and 225 teams. They participate in the Heartland Conference where the majority of members are in Texas, with additional members in Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma. Dallas Baptist finished second in the 2016 table with only St Edward’s from Austin beating them. All that is good, but I still didn’t know how they would compare to the third tier of the senior pyramid in England. Dallas Baptist are certainly one of those teams that’ll I’ll only ever watch once. I’ll be amazed if I watch them again! Women’s football has always been a bigger game in the United States and for me, some of that is related to the college/university game. It’s massive in the US and although it is big in the UK, the women’s football BUCS competition is nowhere near as big as the football is in America.
To the game and it was a very competitive, entertaining game from the off. Dallas Baptist were looking bright in the opening minutes but Middlesbrough settled the boat and grew into the game 10 minutes in.
Emily Scarr and Jess Havelock both forced saves from the Dallas Baptist goalkeeper before a quick flowing move from the Boro resulted in a couple of shots which were well defended.
Further chances came at both ends while Dallas Baptist were making regular substitutions. Middlesbrough’s players were bigger and in parts were physically stronger, but the Patriots seemed to have that bit extra skill and quality.
In the 39th minute, Dallas Baptist broke the deadlock when a shot from 12 yards crept under Laura Wareham and into the net.
The goal spurred Dallas on and they were on top for much of the second half. A second goal came just before the hour mark when a quick turn gave their forward room and she curled a fine effort into the far corner to double the Patriots’ lead.
It was almost three 15 minutes from time when a teasing cross was flicked on to glance off the crossbar.
However, a third did come six minutes from time when a fine team move was slotted home with a cool finish.
Middlesbrough matched the students for much of the first half but couldn’t keep up in the second half and Dallas Baptist were good value for their 3-0 win.
Full-time: Middlesbrough Women 0-3 Dallas Baptist University Women
Next up for me is possibly Richmond Town vs Cleator Moor Celtic on Saturday.
Admission: £3 adults, £1 concessions
Attendance: About 100
Can of Coke: 80p