WSL Matchday 12 round-up: Frozen pitch farce leaves Hayes feeling Blue
Emma Hayes called for women’s football to be taken more seriously after Chelsea’s Women’s Super League clash with Liverpool was abandoned just six minutes in due to a frozen pitch.
The Blues boss and opposing manager Matt Beard were in agreement that Sunday’s game at Kingsmeadow should not have gone ahead, yet it kicked off as scheduled following a pitch inspection.
But only six minutes had passed before referee Neil Hair took the teams off after deeming the pitch unsafe.
Hayes told the BBC: "You could see from the opening minutes that it was like an ice rink down the sides.
"Matt Beard was upset that it even got to that point and he's right.
"It's not for managers to decide if it's on — it's up to the FA and officials. We have to say to ourselves that it's time for undersoil heating.
"We've got to take our game seriously. Yes, we can have our blowers and pitch tents, but it's not enough.
"The game should never have started. Everyone wanted to get the game on, but when you have got emotions of teams wanting or not wanting to play, that's when you need a decision from above. The FA weren't here — they need to be making the decision."
The champions’ encounter was one of three WSL games postponed across the weekend, with Tottenham’s meeting with Leicester and Arsenal's trip to Brighton also called off due to unplayable pitches.
And Hayes, 46, believes women’s football needs undersoil heating to deal with the winter conditions.
She added: "We've made progress with investment into the quality of grasses and surfaces across the league.
"No game at the top level of the women's game should be cancelled. We need undersoil heating — we don't live in Barbados."
United take advantage
With neither of their title rivals in action, Manchester United claimed top spot in the WSL after substitute Rachel Williams scored a late winner to earn them a 1-0 victory at Reading.
The forward wriggled past multiple defenders before firing into the top corner in the 87th minute to hand the Red Devils the points at the Madejski Stadium.
It had threatened to be a frustrating afternoon for the visitors after captain Katie Zelem saw a 40th-minute penalty saved by Jacqueline Burns and Nikita Parris struck the crossbar.
Mary Earps made a brilliant save to prevent the Royals going ahead but Williams stepped up to score the all-important goal to take United up to the WSL summit on goal difference.
United boss Marc Skinner said: "That is an amazing win. [It was] not as pretty as we would have liked.
"Reading, in my opinion, are always one of the hardest teams to play. Their league position doesn’t reflect the qualities of the coaches and the team, so for us it was a game we had to overcome, and we found a way.
"When Rachel takes that opportunity, that’s the whole reason we brought Rachel to this team. For any doubters, there’s the whole reason. She can step up in that moment and make that moment for us.
"For us, it’s a magnificent moment to say, 'Look at how concentrated we can be until the very end and we are never going to give up.'
"That is more important for me than any of the 6-0s or [other results]. That is a resilience win today."
City held by Villa
Manchester City missed the chance to go level on points with Arsenal in third as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Aston Villa.
City went ahead after 28 minutes through Deyna Castellanos following an excellent team move, only for on-loan United midfielder Kirsty Hanson to level just three minutes later.
The Scotland international struck the post in the second half before Kenza Dali’s volley was well saved by Ellie Roebuck, while Khadija Shaw was denied a stoppage-time winner by Villa goalkeeper Anna Leat.
City boss Gareth Taylor said: "I thought it was flat. Even before we scored we were a bit slow to everything — slow in our play, in our reactions. We score a good goal and give a cheap one away soon afterwards.
"When you leave a big hole in the middle of the goal then you'll concede or have an opportunity for the opposition to score. It affected us more than it should've done. That's football.
"On other days we lose the way that we played today. We weren't clicking, not much cohesion.
"To come away against a decent Villa team with a point is better than losing the game.
"You can't worry about dropping a point. We're still unbeaten, that's a positive for us. There's a lot of football still to play so we just attack the next game."
WSL Matchday 12 results in full
Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa
Chelsea A-A Liverpool
Everton 3-0 West Ham
Reading 0-1 Manchester United
Tottenham P-P Leicester
Brighton P-P Arsenal