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Opinion: Guto stands up for the girls – Lamela was a disgrace

Firm but fair. There’s very little cheating in the women’s game. Ffion Owen (left) of Amlwch Town in action. Picture: Dai Sinclair

So, a player is guilty of a bad miss in the first-ever live televised Welsh Premier Women’s League match and it attracts a social media ‘pile-on’.

Cardiff’s Catherine Walsh unfortunately lost her footing when presented with a golden opportunity to equalise against Swansea.

Untidy play, maybe, but we’ve seen similar happen many times in the men’s game – and occasionally quite a lot worse!

Yet because it occurred in women’s football, some critics of the female game saw fit to widely-share and ridicule. Basically dismissing female football on the basis of one clip.

Even the most ardent women’s football fans among us admit there is some way to go before standards can match the men, but the gap is closing all the time.

However, one thing you will very rarely see in the women’s game is cheating.

The girls take their knocks and get up as quickly as they can. And it often takes a firm collision to put them on the ground.

On the whole, women are much more respectful towards referees than the men too. Superior female disciplinary records prove that.

So the moment Érik Lamela‘s antics ensured Anthony Martial (deservedly as he raised his hand) was sent off in yesterday’s Man United v Tottenham game, my thoughts instantly switched to the reaction from the Cardiff v Swansea women’s match.

Lamela ‘struck out’ first, so he should have been sent off too. However, the way the Argentinian threw himself to the floor after taking a ‘powder-puff’ slap from AM was a disgrace.

So while Walsh’s miss for Cardiff made for uneasy viewing (good covering back by the Swansea defender by the way), it was certainly not stomach churning, like Lamela’s blatant cheating was.

What the women may lack in comparative skills to the males they more than make up for with endeavour and honour.

As a footnote, I was always taught it was not the done thing to publicly analyse another journalist’s work. Honour among scribes, regardless of the rivalry.

While I’ve usually always abided by the ‘unwritten rule’, I’ve often not been afforded the same courtesy in return. Numerous bitters have dished out a snide or derogatory remark in my direction over the years. Usually when I’ve written something which has attracted a lot of interest.

My response? Don’t respond, just be better than them.

However, today I am going to bend the rule and talk about a journalist’s work – albeit in a positive manner.

Guto Llewelyn, a South Wales based journalist for ITV Wales’ Welsh language current affairs department and a football columnist for Wales Online, wrote a fantastic opinion piece about the reaction to the miss in the Cardiff v Swansea clash.

No holds barred, he really said it as it was and I have to say it was one of the best articles I’ve ever read – a tremendous example of speaking up for the women’s game.

I’ve rarely come across such a ‘ballsy’ piece of writing which needed to be aired. The only other journalist I’ve known who supports women’s football in this passionate way is South Wales man Robert Clement.

The headline to Guto’s article read: “People who claim ‘women have no place in football’ are in fact the ones the sport needs to get rid of — fast”. A repetition of one of Guto’s quotes.

The article was picked up by a female footballer from Holywell Town and uploaded to Facebook.

I’m really grateful to her and to Guto for an outstanding piece of work. Made my day.

Click here for Guto’s column

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