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It’s been full on Orchard WPWL action throughout January with nothing but League games with results that could resonate right to the end of the year.

The first round of games of the year mirrored the first round of matches of the season, so we saw the current league leaders, Swansea, take on last season’s winners, Met. The first fixture was a close affair that the Swans won 1-0 and this was a repeat performance, this time with Lauren Smith (19’) getting the only goal of the game. Highlights can be found here.

Elsewhere second placed Cardiff City Women hosted Abergavenny; a hattrick from Danielle Green (23’, 69’& 47’) and a goal each from Kate Jeremiah (30’) and Catherine Walsh (53’) was only met with one in reply from Laura Davies on 44’, to secure the Bluebirds’ in second place. In the last game of day’s programme, Port Talbot travelled to Cyncoed, returning home with the three points following a 1-3 win (Alison Witts 56’; Carys Davies 34’, Laura May Walkley 57’, Kirsty O’Donnell 88’).

The second weekend of January was officially the halfway point of the league and so far the season was undeniably going Swansea’s way. Their game that weekend, a short visit to Briton Ferry Llansawel, saw them put four away and continue to maintain their clean sheet record (Katy Hosford 53’, 70’, Stacey John-Davies 54’, Ridings OG 67’). There was a lower table clash between Cyncoed and Aberystwyth; it looked like Aberystwyth might get their first win of the season; Cyncoed had initially taken the lead through Caitlin Williams (11’) but Emily Thomas (30’) and Tania Wylde (65’) fired back for the visitors to make it 1-2 until the 87th minute when Grace Morris equalised, further heartbreak was to come for Aber as Libby Mackenzie added a third for Cyncoed in added time (90+1’) to take all three points.

The big game of the weekend was second v third as Cardiff Met hosted Cardiff City Women; results against Swansea aside, neither side had dropped points so the result could play a big part on final league positions. On the day it was Met who started on the front foot scoring in four minutes (Erin Murray) and seemingly having control of the match from there, going on to score two more in the second half (Murray 48’, Robyn Pinder 51’) to finish 3-0.

Match Week 11 threw up another cracking fixture, this time at the lower end of the table with Abergavenny and Cyncoed fighting for fifth place; it took until the second half for a breakthrough but Millie Jones on her debut for Cyncoed put them ahead (49’) before Lauryn Lyons doubled the lead (64’). It was third against fourth with Port Talbot travelling to face Cardiff Met, where there was a quick start with Sophie Hancocks grabbing her first of the season in the league for the Archers after just 4 minutes. This was followed by two more debut league goals this season for Aimee Dagnell (48’) and Lucy Finch (49’) to make it 3-0 before Murray added a 4th on the 77th minute to win 4-0.

Elsewhere Cardiff City Women beat Aberystwyth 4-1, but the score line belies Abers resistance; again, there was an early goal for the Cardiff side (Jeremiah 8’), but Thomas’ (33’) equaliser also took the teams in level at half time. Kanisha Underdown (56’) put the Bluebirds ahead again, but it was subs C Walsh (72’) and the league’s current top scorer Alana Murphy (76’) who put the game to bed.

Just two fixtures rounded off January, Cyncoed and Abergavenny met again, but Abergavenny were unable to get revenge for the previous week and Cyncoed couldn’t repeat their feat, so it was a goal and a point apiece (Lauren Harris, 72’ for Cyncoed and L Davies 20’ for Abergavenny). Cardiff Met took on Briton Ferry Llansawel, Maddie Schupbach scoring in the first half (18’) and Grace Corne getting her first of the season in the second half to double Met’s lead and secure the points. With Met now on equal games with Cardiff City Women, they were able to draw level on points and leapfrog the Bluebirds into second place for the first time this season with a one goal advantage.

The month closed with success away from Welsh football for one of our clubs, as Cardiff Met retained the BUCS Premier League title, congratulations to all involved.

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