MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 6 BRISTOL ACADEMY 1
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.