Season in review 2020-21 | Swansea City Ladies
Swansea City Ladies enjoyed an incredibly successful 2020-21 campaign as they secured a league and cup double.
Having claimed the Welsh Premier Women's League title the previous year, the Swans started the season looking to defend their crown, while there was also Champions League football to look forward to.
There were also new introductions ahead of the campaign as former Wales Under-17 and Under-19 Ladies head coach Colin Staples joined the club.
On the field, the likes of Laura Davies, Kelsey Thomas, Chloe Tiley and Jemma Parfitt were added to the squad but they had little chance to settle in with their new team-mates as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would again disrupt the season.
But the Swans never faltered and after winning the WPWL in 2019-20, the momentum carried through pre-season and into the opener as Swansea defeated rivals Cardiff City Women 3-0 to get their title defence off to a winning start, in front of the S4C cameras.
The following weekend, the Swans were relentless in their first home game of the season as they were emphatic winners over Port Talbot.
However, a few weeks later, the Welsh Premier Women’s League was suspended until November due to Wales being placed into a national lockdown.
During the enforced break, Swansea discovered who they would be facing in the UEFA Women’s Champions League and faced a stern test as they travelled to face Cypriot champions Apollon Ladies in November.
The Swans put in a performance to be proud of in Limassol but their opponents - with a strong history in the competition - were too strong as they fell to a 3-0 defeat.
Domestic action returned for the Swans 12 days later with a ruthless performance as they put Briton Ferry to the sword with a 7-1 victory and, the following Sunday, the WPWL Cup began with a slim victory over Cyncoed in the first group match.
A potential title decider was next played out between the defending WPWL champions and six-time champions Cardiff Met.
After a goalless first-half at Llandarcy, former Archer Chloe Chivers put her name in the headlines as she found the back of the net with a wonder strike which proved vital.
But, once again, the season was brought to a halt due to Wales being put into a tier 4 lockdown at the end of November.
It would be March before action was able to resume, although the Swans did secure the signature of Wales international Claire Skinner during the suspension of the season and she kept a clean sheet on her debut.
The Swans continued their formidable form and racked up the goals in the first three fixtures back against Aberystwyth (5-0), Cascade (4-0) and Cyncoed (6-0).
However, Cardiff Met were in fine form themselves and the title race looked set to go to the wire.
It wasn’t until April, with only six games left of the league campaign, that Swansea dropped their only points all season.
The Swans visited Port Talbot with their tails up but they were unable to find a way through a very stubborn defence, with the goalless draw just adding to the important of the following top-of-the-table clash with Cardiff Met.
A win would have put the title back in the hands of the students, any other result would keep the Swans in the driving seat and, after a tense 90 minutes at Cyncoed Campus, neither side could break the deadlock.
It kept Swansea a point to the good, and they followed a key result up with a 6-1 hiding of Cardiff City Women in the WPWL Cup, which set up a semi-final against Aberystwyth.
The tie was played out on a wet and windy Thursday night in west Wales. Aber posed the biggest threat in normal time as Tania Wylde and Hannah Pusey both hit the woodwork in a matter of minutes.
However, the game went into extra-time and Stacey John-Davis bagged a brace to set up a fourth match of the season with Cardiff City in the final.
The two famous rivals aced each other twice in the space of four days and Swansea had a huge confidence boost ahead of the final as they thrashed Cardiff 6-0 at Llandarcy in the league meeting.
But, moving onto the midweek final, it was Cardiff who landed the first blow as they took the lead through a tap-in from Pheobe Poole.
However, Swansea displayed their fighting spirit and fought back to win convincingly in the end.
Tija Richardson, who won the players’ player of the season award, equalised just before half-time, which was then followed by a free-kick from Katy Hosford and a brace from the Swans’ top goalscorer John-Davis to secure the first piece of silverware.
It was then all eyes on the final match of the season against Abergavenny; only a point was needed for Swansea to successfully defend their league title.
Swansea was unable to find the back of the net as the match finished goalless, but that was the last thing on anybody’s mind as they had completed the league and cup double, and secured a Champions League place for the second season running.