Ice Hockey (ELITE): Storm Fall to Flyers Despite Late Rally


MANCHESTER    STORM    3                         FIFE  FLYERS     4

A late rally in the third period proved to be a stretch too far for the Manchester Storm against the Fife Flyers on Saturday as the Kirkcaldy side held out 4-3 in the battle of the struggler’s.

Altrincham ice rink turned Pink for the Christie charity getting on board with a special ‘Pink The Rink’ night and brought out a big crowd inside the venue for the Gardiner conference match up.

From the drop of the puck the short benched hosts dominated the early stages of the match and had the Flyers on the back foot for a long period at the start of the match. Manchester came into the match a Defenceman down after they released Igor Bobcek earlier in the week and had the whole side pulling together to make up for the loss.

IMG_20151024_184424  Manchester came close on many occasions to breaking the deadlock and their best chance fell to American Luke Salazar, but his effort on goal was deflected high over the glass and into the netting by netminder David Brown in the Fife Flyers goals.

Fife was massively under the cosh for the opening ten minutes of the contest but with Manchester not making the most of their chances it saw the Flyers taking the lead again the run of play.

Danny Stewart celebrated making the most appearances by an Import player in the Elite League, with the forward netting in his 563th game to put the Flyers 1-0 up at 8.41 after a bounce off the boards behind the nets saw Stephen Gunn finding Stewart skating on goal to put home.

Fife then doubled their lead in the 15th minute on the powerplay, when Shayne Stockton passed back towards the point and his shot saw his stick breaking and come off Matt Paton’s stick and fortunately go in off Ryan Single at the front of the net.

With the score flattering the historic Scottish club in the first period, Storm then got a boost before a minute from the end as a lovely from flowing move between Matty Davies and Vinny Scarsella saw the latter make a pass to the post and Patrik Valcak tucked home for 2-1.

At 23.27 the visitors restored their two goal lead when Kyle Haines fired in a shot from a tight angle then came off both posts and saw the large travelling Fife support up on their feet.


The rest of the second period saw the Flyers looking comfortable and had
Storm just struggling to get good shots off on Brown.

Shayne Stockton then made it 4-1 early in the third period for the visitors with a solo goal that saw him cut through the home defence like the proverbial ‘Hot knife through butter’.

Storm then started to launch their comeback effort  with a goal back from David Phillips after some good build up play by the home side saw Vinny Scarsella and the Hull connection of Matty Davies finding Phillips who put it on goal for a 4-2 score.

Then two minutes later the deficit was cut to a one goal game with Patrik Valcak skating towards net and his little pass back towards the side of the net had Vinny Scarsella net at 51.15 to see the Storm trail 3-4.

Sadly their rally proved to be too late in the game and Fife closed out the game to see them picking up a big win that sees them leapfrogging the Storm in the standings. 




Manchester Storm      6      Coventry Blaze     4

Manchester Storm got back to winning ways after their 3rd period collapse on Thursday night against the Braehead Clan, with a 6-4 win over the Coventry Blaze on Saturday to see them move a couple of points away from the bottom place Fife Flyers.

Coventry started the much brighter of the two teams in the beginning, and had the away side creating the better chances in the game with the Storm being tested early on. Manchester saw their play being restricted by the Blaze back line, after they did excellently to cut off any possible attacking threat posed by the Storm just weeks after they were caught out easily in the previous encounter with Manchester only a couple of weeks ago.

Manchester didn’t get many clear shooting opportunities on Brian Stewart in the Coventry goals in the first period, which made life difficult for the hosts. Igor Bobcek and James Jorgensen both had a heated discussion in from of the Storm net and had both men sent to the penalty box for roughing and saw Bobcek collecting an extra roughing penalty in the aftermath.

From the resulting power play it saw Russ Cowley firing the puck into the back of the net for Coventry at 13.35 and saw assists going to Brett Robinson and Cale Tanaka on the opening goal of the game. In truth Blaze deserved the lead as the Storm really weren’t at the races in the opening period of the match.


The start of the second saw the visitors on yet another power play, with David Phillips serving out the rest of his boarding penalty from the first.  Manchester got back on level terms shortly after, with Phillips get some luck after the puck was chipped up ice and saw the GB man leaving the penalty box at just the right  time to go 1-on-1 with Stewart, and it saw him backhanding his effort top shelf on the netminder at 22.49.

However the game wasn’t tied for long, as 20 seconds later the Blaze retook the lead through Ross Venus, after his shot through traffic found twine for 2-1 and with Kevin Noble getting an assist on it the goal.  

Manchester came back once more after Coventry failed to clear the puck out of their own zone and saw Matty Davies collecting the loose puck in the slot and saw him skating on goal room and putting it under Stewart for 2-2 at 22.59, to see the home side back in the game.  The home side had a couple of efforts, one notable attack saw Matt Caria shooting at thin air as he completely missed the puck with an empty net to aim at as Stewart was down.

A crazy five minute period in the second saw a fair bit of controversy taking place. Firstly a tight offside call went against Manchester and saw the captain for the Storm in Matty Davies, fuming over the call by linesman Kris Wells, and that Davies bump into the official and the match ref Liam Sewell immediately kicked him out of the game for Abuse of Official.

Coventry capitalise on an even more short-benched side to restore their lead through a second Ross Venus strike, as he made it 3-2 at 35.07 with his shot squirming under Zane Kalemba and to horror of the home fans at that end, the  puck slowly trickled over the line.

The second turning point of the period went against the visitors this time round, when Kalemba was out of position and saw a Coventry forward putting the puck on net and saw the netminder making a stick save on the line and despite the celebrations by the Blaze players, the light never came on and the referee washed out the play with the puck not fully going over the line.

Coventry head coach Chuck Weber didn’t see it that way and from then on the play seemed to swing ever so slightly, into the favour of the home side.  With Manchester now seemingly having their tails up at the back end of the second, it saw the Storm looking much more threatening in the game.

Ashley Tait was given a kneeing call at 40.44 to see the period starting with a Storm power play and then 12 seconds on, it saw Patrik Valcak finding the back of the net with the man advantage to make it 3-3 with Vinny Scarsella and Matt Caria assisting.

Two goals in 54 seconds for Manchester seemed to see the game now completely swing the other way in favour the hosts, with Grant Toulmin scoring from close range for their second powerplay goal of the game at 49.09 to made it 4-3 for their first lead in the game, and then Vinny Scarsella scored putting in his own rebound for 5-3 and that looked to have knocked the stuffing out of the visitors.

Ashley Tait then made sure of a tense finale to the game as he scored the Blaze’s 4th of the night at 55.52, to give the ‘Cov’ fans some hope of pinning the Storm back late in the contest and something that has plagued the team this season.


With less than a minute and half to go in the game, Matt Caria then got penalised for the hosts for tripping and saw Coventry pull their goalie and have a 6-on-4 man advantage in the dying embers of this clash, as they hoped to capitalise on their power play.

Manchester stood firm but were struggling to clear the puck away out of their own zone. But when they finally did, it saw Grant Toulmin attempting to flip the puck up ice with speed and instead saw a Coventry man trying to glove it and sent it instead wobbling all the way into an empty net for a 6-4 score line and see Omar Pacha and his men claim big victory and second win over the Coventry Blaze at home this season.


Phoenix congratulate Stanislav Gron (Far Right) on netting the 5th




A late winner just three minutes from time saw former NHL-er Stanislav Gron netting the decisive goal on way to his hat trick for the Manchester Phoenix on Sunday, with the hosts picking up a 5-3 win against a very tough Swindon Wildcats side in Deeside.

Manchester got out the traps a lot quicker than their opponents did and that saw them taking the lead at 4.50 into the game, thanks to a Michael Satek strike after some good work by his fellow countryman in Stanislav Gron in the build up to the opener.

Gron himself then turned from provider to goalscorer,  as he doubled the Phoenix’s lead at 7.05 after a puck thrown on net by Ben Wood saw the Slovakian getting a little touch on it to deceive Stevie Lyle for 2-0.  Lyle then called a time out to talk things out with side after a very slow start by the Wiltshire side.

Swindon then got going in the game and was given a bit of a boost, when Luke Boothroyd was called for Slashing and that saw the Wildcats on the power play and responded through it with new signing Carlo Finucci finding the back of the net, as the Italian-Canadian skated into the Manchester zone cut across the zone to fire off a quick shot that put the ‘Cats’ within one at 11.42.

Mr Finucci demonstrated his finishing ability once more in the period, as the forward netted his second of the game and scored a carbon copy of his first goal, with him cutting across the zone and snapping a quick shot off to see Steve Fone helpless to do anything and make it all square at 2-2.  Manchester had chances to stop the Swindon sniper in lead up to the goal, but they just couldn’t deal with skilful play which dragged the Wildcats back into the contest.

The second period saw both teams playing some exceptionally good hockey in the game and had the netminders forced into some important saves too.  It felt it would take something special to break the stalemate and it did, with James Archer winding up and blasting his one time shot by Stevie Lyle with the Swindon goalie totally oblivious to where it was at 31.35.


Midway through the third and it saw Swindon back on the powerplay once more and with the Wildcats pressing in an end to end game, after Ben Wood was sat in the box serving an Interference call. At 51.15, Polish forward Tomasz Malasinski then netted on the power play to see the Wildcats for the third time in the game come back and saw the Swindon man force home his own rebound for 3-3.

With time winding down on the game it then saw Stanislav Gron producing something out of nothing, as the Slovakian collected a loose puck by the back boards and saw the big man giving himself just enough space to fire off a quick release on net inside the left hand face off circle, and it found the top corner at the near post to give Phoenix a 4-3 lead at 56.45.

Swindon pushed hard for a tying goal inside the final two minutes of the game and it saw Stevie Lyle dashing to the bench for the extra attacker in hope of finding a fourth goal. But with 17 seconds of the game left to go, Manchester’s Nico Aaltonen had him cutting the puck out and into the path of Gron, who then managed to come away with it from his own zone and easy as you like just helped to walk it into the empty net for 5-3 and seal the victory for the home side.

ICE HOCKEY: (ELITE) Manchester Edge Out Capitals In Shoot-Out




Manchester Storm and the Edinburgh Capitals split their weekend series with both sides winning their respective home games with a bruising and feisty couple of games in Altrincham and Murrayfield ice rinks respectively.  Saturday night saw the Storm welcoming the Capitals to Altrincham on the back of three successive defeats at the hands of Sheffield, Fife and Nottingham within the week.

Things got off to a terrible start for the home side with the visitors getting an early  powerplay opportunity and saw them scoring off it in a bizarre way in truth. It started from face off down in the Manchester zone and when the puck bounced off the back boards, Storm’s netminder Zane Kalemba thought he had pinned it up against the post and that saw Taylor Dickin poking at the puck and forcing it in at 1.05 into the game.

Edinburgh’s last visit to Altrincham saw them getting hammered 8-1 by Manchester and based on the opening minutes of play in this encounter, we weren’t going to see a repeat performance of that occurring this time round.  Storm couldn’t get much going in the way of attacks or plays early on, but you have to credit the Capitals side for thwarting the home forward.

There was a fair few stoppages during the game, after Edinburgh goalie Carsen Chubak seemed to have his nets coming off rather easily during the game and that was either coincidence or a touch of gamesmanship being played.  For those Manchester fans behind the net it was pretty certain that it was the latter of those two choices, with the natives angered by what they thought was happening.

Storm had a great chance to level it up and saw the nets coming off again and had the home side getting extremely frustrated by the net coming frequently.  Then from out of nowhere the game exploded with a huge flashpoint taking place at 14.56 gone,  when Storm’s David Phillips bumped slightly into the Capitals netminder with an opposing player and after the whistle went.

Kyle Bigos took exception to his goalie being ‘bumped’ and proceeded to jump Phillips from behind and throw punches at his opponent while he was face down on the ice. While the linesmen tried to break it up at the front of the net, it saw Bigos resisting officials and earned him a Match Penalty for his actions.

Phillips was lucky not to pick up a Match Penalty himself, after the GB International put the stick butt into the Edinburgh player when he was getting up and saw him getting just a 2 minute penalty.  Chubak pulled off some stunning saves to shut the door on the Storm forwards in the opening period, which saw the hosts ringing the pipework and doing everything possible but score in the first twenty minutes of play, and went into the break out shooting their opponents 21 to 7.

Moving to the second period of play and it saw more rubber at the Edinburgh net, but yet again Chubak responded well to every shot that he faced and the Capitals were thankful for his efforts.  Zane Kalemba for the Storm was stopping the puck down at the opposite end with the visitors having some good efforts and seen him repelling their efforts.

Defenceman for Manchester in Igor Bobcek, saw him picking up a 2+10 minute penalty for a check to the head down by the corner and seemed like a touch unlucky on the Slovakian, with the opposing player falling down and saw Bobcek catching him on the way down.

With the Storm fans increasingly thinking of it becoming ‘one of those game’ with the puck going everywhere but their visitors nets, it finally saw the home side getting on the board at 37.21 through a Matt Sisca goal, after some lovely stick handling skills by Vinny Scarsella, saw him playing a neat little pass towards goal and Sisca lifted it by Chubak for a tied game.

Manchester then took the lead at 41.20 thanks to some quick passing behind the nets with captain Matty Davies playing a little one-two with Patrik Valcak, and that saw Davies passing out at the side of the net for the incoming Vinny Scarsella to quickly fire in at the front of the net for a 2-1 score on the powerplay.

The home side looked solid and didn’t seem to be in any danger it seemed from the Scottish club as the clock ticked down to under ten minutes left to play.  Then at 51-23 Everett Sheen played the puck out of the zone to Kyle Flemington and his quick release pass up the wing set David Rutherford away and his quick release from a tight angle saw him making it all square at 2-2, to get the ‘Caps’ back in the game.

Storm were clearly the team with more threat in them and saw the visitors almost hanging on at the end as they tended to try and pick the hosts off with their attacks. The buzzer sounded for the end of regulation and meant that overtime was needed and saw both sides going close, with the netminder’s coming up huge to keep the other team out and see the game heading to the lottery of the shootout.

Trevor Gerling and Matt Sisca took the opening penalties for the sides and saw both drawing a blank. Ryan Hayes then saw his shot saved by Kalemba and then Luke Salazar netted the winning shot for the hosts as it turned out, with the American making a nice move and backhanding it high over Carsen Chubak for a 1-0 lead.  David Rutherford then knew he needed to score to keep Edinburgh alive and it saw Storm’s netminder coming up trumps yet  again, with the netminder plucking it out of the air and gave his side the two points in a shootout victory.

ICE HOCKEY: Phoenix Spooked and Plundered!

Manchester_Phoenix_Logo_2011 ppoFMZ9T_400x400

Manchester Phoenix   2                     Peterborough Phantoms   5

This past weekend was anything but ‘home sweet home’ in their double header fixtures being played out of Deeside Ice Rink with two home losses in successive days.

Saturday night Manchester Phoenix playing the first of their double header at ‘home’ at Deeside, as they welcomed the side that beat them in the playoffs final last year in the Peterborough Phantoms.

Phantoms struck first in the game through James Ferrara in the 13th minute before Michael Satek responded for the hosts to level up before the break.

In the second two goals in 90 seconds by Phantoms Craig Scott and Ales Padelek gave the visitors a two goal cushion in the match with less than five minutes gone in the period.

Dan Wheldon then made it 4-1 with Tony Hand calling a timeout to regather and it looked to do trick, as Michal Satek pounce on a rebound from a Robin Kovar shot to see Phoenix get it to within two.

With the Phantoms getting into penalty trouble in the third, Phoenix couldn’t break their defences and saw Lloyd Gibson adding a 5th for the Cambridgeshire side to leave with two points.






Sunday night saw the win-less Hull Pirates making their first visit to Deeside and on paper it should have been a formality, sadly hockey isn’t played on paper and saw the Phoenix guilty of not taking chances.

Manchester tested the Pirates goalie Jon Baston with some early shots, but he dealt with them easily as they weren’t really difficult those that he faced.  Steve Fone then had to make a stunning save to prevent the visitors taking the lead.

Phoenix though then took the lead through Simon Furnival of the Deeside Dragons, after his shot found a way in past Baston. ChancesChances came and went for the the home side and saw them wasting a hatful of chances when in decent positions, but even then they came up against an inform Steve Baston between the pipes for the Pirates.

Hull just didn’t seem to be able to mount a decent attack in the first period, with the Phoenix holding their opponents at arm’s length. Robin Kovar went close to increasing the lead to 2-0 when the Czech forward latched onto a long pass up ice and saw his effort ping off the post.


A shock start to the second period witnessed the Hull Pirates getting back on level terms through Tommi Laine’s rebound, after Steve Fone had made the initial save from Warren Tait effort on goal. Tempers slightly frayed with Dominic Osman and James Archer at the front of the Pirates nets as both players received roughing calls for their trouble.

Third period saw Manchester constantly camped in the Pirates zone and yet again it saw the Phoenix attackers taking shots, but they were either off target or straight at the goalie.  Hull had a couple of chances and were turned away by Fone, while Baston was having one of the most incredible games too in net as he seemed to repelled every shot and even used his head to stop the puck going in.

Overtime came and in fairness Phoenix should have had game well and truly sewn up by the second period, but their inability to finish would come back to haunt them. With Manchester looking the better team in the extra period, it saw the rearguard action of Hull making some key stops and thwarting the advancing Phoenix.

Jon Baston skates off to celebrate with his team after Warren Tait’s OT winner for the Pirates


Pirates had grown in confidence during the game and so with a point guaranteed for the Humberside team, it was to get even better for them as Warren Tait scored from a lapse in the home side defensive zone to which the former GB man fired past Fone to stun the home fans and spark wild celebrations from the visitors.

With the Phoenix players looking dejected it saw the Pirates players celebrating a battling win and was a case of Tony Hand’s men throwing away a brilliant opportunity of a win to try and gain ground on those above them in the table.

WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: ‘Two for Joy’ As City secure Champions League Football over the Lady Pies

679 Notts_County_Logo


Keira Walsh and City Skipper Steph Houghton celebrate Nikita Parris strike setting City to Victory.    Photo:

Manchester City Women just missed out on claiming their first WSL (Women’s Super League) title from their rivals Chelsea, but their 2-1 victory over Notts County Ladies saw them confirming their place in the Women’s Champions League next season and in what has been an unforgettable season for the City Women.

Hopes of Nick Cushing’s side lifting the title all depended on them doing their job and also needing some help from Sunderland, as they hoped they could somehow replicate their earlier win over Chelsea in the season to see the championship heading North. Notts County however, didn’t just turn up to take part in what could have been a possible title party for the home. As the Nottingham side was cheered on by large contingent of Lady Pies fans that made the trip up to Manchester for the final game of the season, and hoped to see their  side upsetting City and denying them victory for the second time this season.

It was County that struck a huge body blow to City’s title chances a month or two ago at Meadow Lane, with the Lady Pies coming back late in the game from 2 goals down to make it all square at 2-2 and effective saw the two points City drop costing them the title in the end. So with that said, the Blues faced their opponents hoping to make amends and go one better this time around.

A club and Women’s Super League record crowd of 3,180 watched on at the Academy Stadium, in what a thrilling contest between the two sides as they gave everything in the final game of the season. Both sides didn’t give an inch to their opponent for the full 90 and in the 12th minute of the match it saw the home side taking the lead through Nikita Parris effort, after a flick on by Jill Scott set Natasha Harding off down the wing and the Welsh International’s cutback was lifted over the outstretched arm of Carly Telford in the Notts County goals, with City forward Parris making it 1-0 and saw her netting her third goal in 2 games.

The visitors almost struck back immediately from kick off through Jess Clarke, after the County player got by City’s England International in Karen Bardsley from a long ball, and her goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Lucy Bronze to save Bardsley’s bacon.  County much like the first meeting between the two in August, never saw the away side giving up and they found an equaliser just five minutes from halftime, when Rachel Williams headed home from a Danielle Buet free kick for to make level.

One of the trademarks of this City side in the WSL this season, has been their battling qualities and never knowing when to give up.  With the match looking like it would be all level going into the break, City women had other ideas.  Another combination of Scott and Harding down the County left, saw Harding putting in a low cross back across the area and with Parris making a dummy run over it, Izzy Christansen then fired top corner past Telford to restore the lead for the home side on the stroke of half time..

Christansen really should have made it 3-1 early in the second half, when a cross by Harding picked out the England midfielder’s run in the box and with the City player completely unmarked, she managed to head it wide of the target and seen a chance blown  for the hosts. Natasha Harding then had a effort herself midway through the half, when she brought a great fingertip save out of Telford to see her push it over the bar for a corner and you sensed a goal was on the cards.

With the game reaching it’s climax and news filtering through that Chelsea was winning 4-0 over Sunderland, it was a case now of the Blues making sure of history not repeating itself again and just claiming the three points. In the closing stages a Natasha Flint corner was headed on goal by captain Steph Houghton and her England team mate in Izzy Christansen went close yet again, as this time her header came back off the bar.

The final whistle was greeted with cheers by all inside the ground and also brought the curtain down on a remarkable season for the club and also for the WSL as whole. After adventures for the England women’s side at the World Cup in Canada during the season and saw England finishing in 3rd place, their highest ever position in a World Cup.  

Second place for City is a massive achievement for this side and is a big step in the right direction for Nick Cushing and his team, as they look to push on next year and go one further and pick up a trophy or two as he will look to add to his squad for the Champions League being played there too in 2016.

ICE Hockey: Storm Put Out The Blaze, But Lose Out To Champions



A mixed bag of results saw the Manchester Storm claim only their second win of the season after a 4-1 win over the Coventry Blaze at home in Altrincham, before then losing out narrowly to the league champions the Sheffield Steelers 3-1 over in South Yorkshire.

Saturday night saw the struggling Coventry Blaze coming to the Altrincham ice rink on the back of a huge win over their Midlands rivals in the Nottingham Panthers just days before, while for Manchester this was a game they needed to win if not just for confident, but also to dispel their heartbreaking loss last weekend against Cardiff and also try to snap a four-game losing streak that the Storm were currently on.

The home side dominated the first period and looked to have broken the deadlock early on in the game, after a lovely drag back by Luke Salazar at the side net saw him open up space for himself and then finding the top corner in the Blaze nets.

However, Coventry’s netminder Brian Stewart remonstrated with referee Tom Pering that the nets were off it’s moorings and so after a delay with the officials on the ice, it led to the referee washing out the goal and that would be a bit of a common theme for the Storm over the weekend.

Zane Kalemba put his recent bad form to one side, with the netminder making some important stops on the Coventry forwards to keep the game goalless. Manchester then got put on the power play after Kevin Noble was called for hooking on the Blaze and that saw statistically the best powerplay unit in the league coming out and saw David Phillips blasting one home from the blue line to put the Storm 1-0 up.

The visitors out shot the hosts 15 to 11 though, but the Blaze just weren’t able to put the puck past the Manchester goalie as Kalemba was having a stand out game. In the second period and the Storm moved 2-0 ahead, thanks to Luke Salazar’s 5th goal of the campaign as a pass to Matty Davies behind the net, saw the newly installed captain pick out Salazar who skate towards the front of the net and saw him dance round the keeper and put it home at 21.26.

Storm were looking very comfortable in the contest it has to be said, but that then saw the away side brake away up the wing through Ashley Tait and the forward drilled it over the shoulder of Kalemba for a 2-1 score. Coventry really lacked fire power in front of the Manchester goals, and it saw the game heading into the final period with a slender one goal lead for the Storm.

Manchester who have been in a few winning positions so far this year and then gone on to throw it away, but on this occasion it would see the Storm being able to keep going for another twenty minutes of hockey. Storm had Kalemba once again coming to their rescue a fair few time in the third and saw him figuratively standing on his head to deny the Blaze another goal in the column.

As the visitors pushed for a tying goal in this entertaining game, it saw the home side break quickly up ice after a poke check from Grant Toulmin in his own zone and that set off a rush with him and Matt Caria, with the two driving up ice on a 2-on-1 and saw Toulmin’s pass across goal converted by Caria and gave the home side a two goal cushion with less than five minutes to go.

Vinny Scarsella made sure of the points for the Storm at 58.54, as the former Utah Grizzly forward put home an empty net goal and in the process extinguished the faint hopes that the Blaze may have had of getting back in the game, after they pulled their goalie for the extra attacker.

Zane Kalemba was deservedly voted Man of the Match in the game and saw the home side picking up a much need win to boost their confidence.


 Sheffield Steelers  3    Manchester Storm  1

The next night saw them travel over the Pennines to face the league champions in the Sheffield Steelers and seen the Sheffield just edging their Roses rivals at the Sheffield Arena.

Manchester suffered another goal controversy, when Matt Caria thought his shot had gone in by Taylor Plante, but the referee didn’t see the puck go in and so the goal was washed out.

Goals from Tyler Mosienko and Jace Coyle gave the Steelers a 2-0 midway thought the second and that was before a powerplay effort from Matt Caria gave the visitors hope of picking up a point with 8 minutes to play. But it was not to be for the Manchester side on this occasion, with Mike Duco sealing the win for Sheffield with an empty net goal to kill their opponents off.

Football: City Womens ‘SIX’-y football sees them set up Title decider



Manchester City Women made sure that the destination of this season’s FA Women’s Super League will go down to the wire after a 6-1 thumping of Bristol Academy at the Academy Stadium on Sunday.

City knew nothing less than a win would see them extending the title race with Chelsea for final week. Things got of to a bit of shaky start for the home side, with Bristol putting up a good fight as they tried to keep their WSL 1 status, as a loss for them would condemn the West country side to relegation.

Passing and attacks weren’t as fluid or accurate as they normally have been this season for City, but you have to credit the ‘Vixens’ for their stifling play and applying pressure in the middle of the park on the their opponents. Nick Cushing saw his side finally getting into the groove and began to cause problems along the way for the away side.

In the 9th minute of play Jill Scott scored her first goal for City, after a nice team move saw Natasha Harding’s cushioned header into the path of Scott from a long ball by Krystal Johnston, and that the Sunderland native converting it to see the home side lead.

Scott nearly doubled her total minutes later, when the England midfielder volleyed over the bar. The hosts then got a fair bit of luck for their second goal of the game, when a chested down pass by goal scorer Jill Scott saw England’s newest call up in Isobel Christensen, have her shot deflected into the far side of the net past goalkeeper Mary Earps for 2-0.

Another England Lioness got on the score sheet for City four minutes later, with Lucy Bronze smashing home from close range to make it 3-0 and the game was now all but sewn up. City Captain Steph Houghton really should have made it four before the half time break, when a ball into the area saw the England Captain unmarked and yet somehow managed to put it over the bar from close range.

In the second half the title challengers made it 4-0 thanks to a Nikita Parris goal, as the striker smashed it high into the roof of the net and ended her run of 3 games without and goal and you could tell how much it get on the score sheet from her celebrations. 

Bristol then pulled a consolation goal back not long after, when some very slack defending in the Blues penalty area allowed Caroline Weir to score at the second attempt and give the travelling Vixens a rare bit joy in this encounter.

Lucy Bronze was then upended in the penalty area by Marije Brummel which saw City awarded a penalty and was despatched by Izzy Christiansen for her second goal of the afternoon and fifth for the home side.

The rout was completed twelve minutes from time however, when substitute Georgia Stanway scored arguably the goal of the game for the hosts, with the striker controlling a rising ball from a Jill Scott cross that was deflected and saw her fire it into the far corner for a 6-1 score. 

It meant with City winning that it relegated Bristol Academy to WSL 2, but it keeps Manchester City Womens title hopes alive going into the final game of the season at home to Notts County next Sunday, where a win and a slip up by Chelsea against Sunderland, will see the Sky Blues lifting their maiden WSL league title next weekend. 

Before that though, Nick Cushing and his side face Arsenal Ladies on Thursday evening in the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup, with revenge on the minds of Arsenal. It was City that stopped the run of Arsenal claiming consecutive Cup wins in that competition, with Christiansen strike proving to be the difference.