Women's Football: Beattie & Houghton move City closer to title

Manchester-City-Crest (3)                                                                                              1024px-Reading_FC.svg

 

Manchester City Women      2-0    Reading FC Women 

 

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Taken from: ManCity.com

Two second half goals were enough to see off the challenge of a tough defensive unit in Reading Ladies as a header from Jennifer Beattie and a free kick special by Captain Steph Houghton saw Manchester City Women moving 13 points clear at the top of the Women’s Super League table for at least a couple of hours.

With Nick Cushing’s side in control of their own title destiny as the season reaches it’s climax, it saw the visit to the City Academy Stadium of Reading Women and with them languishing near bottom that this looked like on paper at least a straight-forward win for the home side. City saw their injury list growing a bit more, with Dutch International Tessel Middag out of the match with an injury and saw her sporting a protective boot alongside Abbie McManus and Megan Campbell, all of whom were wearing their own protective boots themselves and all watched from the stands.

The home side started brightly in the game with a couple of chances falling their way to Jane Ross and Daphne Corboz, as the Blues were struggling with their aiming, but you sensed that it was an ominous sign of things to come as they were getting joy against their opposition. In the 11th minute of play City’s American fielder Daphne Corboz saw her winning the ball back in a challenge and then laying it off towards City’s top scorer this season in Jane Ross, and the Scottish International struck the bar with a fierce effort that had the goalie in trouble.

Ross had another chance go begging minutes later, when Lucy Bronze whipped in a great ball into the penalty area for the striker and the ball just seemed to be a bit too high for her and was unable to redirect her header on target and so saw the ball go harmlessly out of play. Another cross by Bronze was met this time by Jennifer Beattie in the Reading penalty area, but the defender’s diving header went the wrong side of the post and had the defender rueing her miss as the towering Scottish defender was unmarked.

Reading to their credit stuck to their guns well and didn’t allow the home side to settle into a groove, thanks mainly to their defence cutting out passes and not giving the attackers much space to create chances. Despite the hosts dominating possession and goal attempts in the match, it saw the visitors pegging the home side back and not allowing them to walk the ball into the net, and this was frustrating the home fans with the Blues fans wanting their side to shoot more.

Toni Duggan who was a menace to the away side all afternoon with her play and hounding down of her opponents on the pitch, saw the England star trying a long range effort from distance, but it saw the ball fly wide of the target leaving the home side unable to break down a tough back line in the opening 45 minutes to the game.

Early in the second half it saw Toni Duggan fizzing in a free kick into the box and had Jennifer Beattie on hand to meet it with a lovely header that beat the goalie and found its way in the back of the net to put the league leaders in front after 48 minutes and was no more than they deserved. Following that that goal the home side seemed to almost lose their cutting edge and saw them playing at a lower tempo and coming out a bit flat. Passes were going astray and being under hit and was easily being cut out by the visiting side and it almost started to give Reading a slight whiff of possibly getting back into the contest.

City were still firmly in charge, and saw Jill Scott having a couple of chances herself, as her first was a long range effort that went just over the bar and that was followed up with a header that brought a great save out of Mary Earps in the Reading goals for a corner. Steph Houghton then tried her luck from long range with a free kick, but it was right down the throat of the keeper and saw the hosts looking disjointed at times in their search for a second goal.

Substitute Nikita Parris almost made it 2-0 for City, when the striker had the ball coming to her at the back post and the England International could only find the side-netting and saw the home side beginning to find their rhythm. The visitors then got caught out from their own corner, when the hosts brought the ball away on a quick counter-attack through Jane Ross and after played a quick ball up to Jill Scott who was up in support with the striker, her low driven cross in the box came to the feet of Parris who was completely unmarked and managed to blaze it high over the bar when in hindsight it would have been better to take a touch.

City then found themselves under a bit of pressure late on in the game, as their opponents tried to make something happen and play on the nerves of the home side, as the hosts wasting chances to put the game to bed and only made things harder on themselves. Frustration started to show on the home side with some very soft calls going against them and not being called when they were on the receiving end of similar incidents themselves, which had one or two players complaints being met by deaf ears from the match official.

As the game headed towards the 90th minute, it saw Jane Ross upended outside the penalty area and finally had her getting the decision after two clear claims for a foul not given earlier minutes and a free kick was awarded in a dangerous area. After a little discussion between the defensive wall and the referee on not being 10 yards back, up stepped Steph Houghton for the home side and she fired her free kick into the far post past the keeper and wrapped up victory for the City side and moved them even closer to the title.

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Ice Hockey: Storm sign up second netminder

 

Manchester Storm finally filled their backup goalie position with the signing of Phil Spanswick, after the Warrington born goalie agreed terms to sign with the Elite League outfit after a season playing in the English Premier League (EPL) with the Manchester Phoenix IHC.

The 23-year-old goalie started out his hockey career with Deeside coming through their Junior programme before then making the move out to Canada with his family as a teenager and spent his hockey based in Calgary, where he played for the University of Calgary Dinos. In 2013-14 he played in the Calgary Men’s Hockey Association, icing two games for the Westside Wranglers.

Last year saw Spanswick returning home in two senses of the word, as firstly he back home to these shores to play for the Manchester Phoenix in the English Premier League, but was also back on ‘home ice’ with the Phoenix side playing their home games last season at the Deeside Ice Rink and saw his career coming full circle.
Nicknamed ‘Spanners’ by the fans, it saw the young netminder getting some ice time for the Phoenix last season as the Warrington-native was playing back up to regular goalie Steve Fone and saw him making four league starts for Manchester and didn’t look out of place.

 

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Phil Spanswick in action last season with the Manchester Phoenix  :Credit: Peter Best Photography

 

Storm Coach Omar Pacha told the club’s website on the capture of Spanswick,  “Phil reached out to me early in the summer regards coming to play for the Storm, and we had many good conversations about both his appetite for the game, but also his desire to continue his development as a young goalie. He will learn a lot this season as backup to our starting netminder, Mike Clemente, who i know will work closely with him throughout the season. Phil will compete every day at practice and is really eager to push himself hard to ensure that if and when the tap on the shoulder comes, he is ready for action between the pipes in the EIHL”

Neil Russell the GM also spoke of the signing of Spanswick adding, “As Omar has mentioned, Phil made contact with us back in the early part of the off season, and displayed a real hunger and desire to be a part of the Storm franchise this upcoming season. I have no doubt he will come to work every single day motivated and hungry to improve and challenge both himself, and in turn the players around him. Also, i think it’s important to mention that last seasons backup goalie, Steve “The Scientist” Wilcock will still be remaining an integral part of the club, and will participate in practices and if and when required, will be ready to help us out. Steve is a fantastic guy who all the players loved having around last season, so Pach and i still very much wanted him involved with the club for next season.”

 

 

Speedway: Raiders left empty handed as Colts bolt away

bellevuecolts_raiders - Copy  BELLE VUE COLTS  56 – 34   RYE HOUSE RAIDERS bellevuecolts_raiders

Friday evening saw the Belle Vue Colts bouncing right back after the disappointment of going out of the Knockout Cup last week at the hands of the Birmingham Brummies, with the Colts returning to National League racing and helped their cause for a playoff place thanks to a 56-34 thrashing of the Rye House Raiders at the National Speedway Stadium.

The previous meeting between the sides was down in Hoddesdon saw the Manchester side edging a tight 46-44 victory on the road early on in the season and so with the return fixture up North, it saw the hosts controlling the meeting with the Raiders riders struggling to get to grips with the fast track and saw only Rob Branford, Ben Morley and Luke Priest making any type of impression for the visitors.

Australian youngster Rob Branford opened the meeting with a bang in the first race, with the Adelaide rider making a stunning start from the gate and had Ben Wilson, who was guesting for the Colts in place of Daniel Bewley who on duty for his Premier side the Edibnurgh Monarchs, leaving the Sheffield man trailing far behind in second for a shared heat. Andy Mellish took the race win in Heat 2 with fellow Belle Vue reserve Joe Lawlor having to battle his way into third, after he finally made a pass on Macauley Leek to grab a point.

Matt Williamson made the gate in Heat 3 for the Colts as he got ahead of Luke Priest and saw the Rye House man trying everything to put pressure on the ‘Man in Orange,’ but his challenge would come to nothing. Lee Payne then had a tough little race with Ben Morley for the lead, after the Colts man moved Morley out wide and then led the race with the Rye House man closing him down the whole race, but Payne knew where to ride and held him off.

With that win it saw Lee Payne breaking the track record in National League racing with a time of 62.2 and the record lasted for one race, as Rob Branford collected a big win over Williamson to see him clocking 62.0 exactly and saw the score 18-12 in favour of the home side. Ben Morley then stormed to a win in Heat 6 and saw his team mate Connor Locke unable to get in the scoring and saw another shared heat and their inability to pick up points in the minor places was the Raiders downfall in the match.

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From Heat 7 onwards the Colts began to then may inroads on the Rye House side and started the run of seven heat advantages in the final 8 races of the meeting. A good good race saw Lee Payne coming hard around the outside of Luke Priest to see him taking the lead in Heat 7, while Joe Lawlor passed Sam Woods to grab third position for another 4-2 advantage for the Colts. Heat 8 saw a nasty crash involving Macauley Leek and Andy Mellish tangling as the came to the first bend and saw Matt Saul having to lay his bike down to avoid crashing into the pair of them, but in doing so the bike slid into the path of riders he was avoiding and saw a stoppage.

After a bit of a delay with the medical staff checking out both Leek and Mellish on the track, it saw them walking back to the pits with a smile and slightly banged up. Mellish who has only just returned recently to action after sustaining a broken hip against Eastbourne earlier on in the season, saw Joe Lawlor replacing him in the re-run and him and Tom Woolley combined for a 5-1 to the home side and saw them opening up a 12 point lead with half the meeting gone.

Williamson made a superb move around the outside of Ben Morley in Heat 9 for the Colts as they looked on course for a 4-2 victory with Rob Shuttleworth looking sure of third position, but then a strange incident saw Shuttleworth sliding off on his own towards the air fence and that let Connor Locke in for an unlikely point. Ben Wilson and Tom Woolley made a good gate for the hosts in Heat 10, with Woolley blocking the run of Luke Priest for the Raiders who looked unsure on whether to try the inside or outside and in the end the Colts man did enough to seal another maximum heat advantage for the home team.

Heat 11 saw Lee Payne and Rob Branford having a fantastic battle out in front and saw Rye House’s Branford trying to dive for a gap that wasn’t there and clipped the wheel of Payne who stayed on his bike and from then on it was all Payne as the Raiders man lost his speed. Meanwhile, Andy Mellish rode in his first ride back after the nasty spill in Heat 8 and him getting the better of Matt Saul for a third place finish.

The Raiders top duo then scored a 5-1 for the visitors in Heat 13, thanks to a great gate by Rob Branford from the tapes and with a three-way battle down the back straight between Ben Morley and the Belle Vue pair of Lee Payne and Matt Williamson, it saw the Rye House rider coming out ahead and blocked out the challenge of Payne to secure the maximum win for the away side. Belle Vue then responded with their own 5-1 in the following race, with Shuttleworth and Lawlor miles ahead of their two opposing riders and saw them giving the Colts a 20-point lead going into the final race of the night.

With the meeting over as a contest, the final race of the night however was an absolute corker with all four riders involved in one the best races in the National League at the NSS this season. Belle Vue’s Matt Williamson made the initial gate and saw his team mate Lee Payne moved out towards the air fence and as they entered the 2nd lap of the lap of the race it saw Branford coming up the inside of Williamson to take the lead and would then see the Colts man retaking it back a lap later with a similar move. Payne then tried to come around the outside of Branford on start of the final lap for second place, but he was shoved a bit wide by the Raiders man and was subsequently relegated to the back, that was until a burst of speed down the back straight saw him passing Morley and just held third as they came to the line.

Belle Vue Colts = 56

1. Ben Wilson (G) 1′, 2, 3, 0 = 6+1
2. Tom Woolley 2, 1′, 3, 2′ = 8+2
3. Matt Williamson 3, 2, 3, 3, 3 = 14
4. Rob Shuttleworth 1, 1′, 0, 3 = 5+1
5. Lee Payne 3, 3, 3, 1, 1 = 11
6. Joe Lawlor 1, 1, 2′, 2′ = 6+2
7. Andy Mellish 3, 1, 1, 1 = 6

Rye House Raiders = 34

1. Robert Branford 3, 3, 2, 3, 2 = 13
2. Matt Saul 0, 0, 1, 0 = 1
3. Luke Priest 2, 2, 1, 2 = 7
4. Sam Woods 0, 0, 0, 1 = 1
5. Ben Morley 2, 3, 2, 2′, 0 = 9+1
6. Connor Locke 2, 0, 1′, 0 = 3+1
7. Macauley Leek 0, 0, 0, 0 = 0

Women's Football: City See off Donny In Quarter-Final

Manchester-City-Crest (3)   Manchester City   4   –    1   Doncaster Rovers Belles  13                 

          

Manchester City Women booked their place in the Semi Finals of the FA Continental Cup on Sunday afternoon, with a laboured 4-1 win over Doncaster Rovers Belles and saw the scoreline slightly flattering the City side in truth. Goals from Izzy Christiansen, Georgia Stanway, Toni Duggan and Jane Ross were enough to help the Blues through to their third successive Semi Final in the competition in three seasons and now await to see who they will face in the next round.

A crowd of 1,153 watched on as the fixture saw City’s third fixture in seven days, which forced Blue boss Nick Cushing into changes with Jane Ross, Jill Scott and Georgia Stanway on the bench and handed Marie Hourihan a start in goals. The home side played a very slow almost methodical approach to their game you could say, but they looked to try and replicate their performance of earlier on in the season when the Blues dominated the Belles side 6-0 back in May.

With ten minutes gone in the contest it saw that this match wouldn’t be as one-sided as the previous encounter between the two teams previously and despite City having the lionshare of the ball, it saw the home side facing a much more organised Doncaster side and had them making it difficult for the league leaders in the WSL. Not too much was happening in the way of chances for either side, and was very much a scrappy game for large parts too.

Nikita Parris had the first effort for the home side as a poor back pass saw the forward pounce upon the ball, but her shot was off target and went down as a wasteful effort. Doncaster who failed to register a shot in the last match at the Academy Stadium, it saw them having a pop through Christie Murray as her long range effort sailed over the bar, but it did show that this was far from the side they faced earlier in the year. City then had the ball in the back of the net after 17 minutes gone as some good link up play between Daphne Corboz, Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris saw Parris playing a ball across for Izzy Christiansen to tap home from the five yards out, but sadly for the home side she was flagged offside.

Christiansen then tried her luck minutes later once again with an attempted lob from outside the area, but the City Midfielder saw her not getting enough lift or power on the ball and so saw easily collected by Nichola Hobbs in the Doncaster goal.  Toni Duggan then went close for the home side with a good low drive that needed a fingertip save from Hobbs in the Doncaster goals to tip it round the post for a corner and you sensed a goal was coming. With the home side threatening in periods, it finally brought a goal for them after Demi Stokes made a strong run into the penalty area and put in a cross for Izzy Christiansen to send a looping header on goal and beat the keeper for a 1-0 lead after 38 minutes.

The last action of the half saw a chance by Toni Duggan spurned by the home side, as some quick touches by Lucy Bronze and goalscorer Izzy Christiansen saw the midfielder laying off a quick pass to the England Striker and her curving attempt went high and wide of the far post.

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Second half saw a fairly quiet affair and saw the home side unable to capitalise on their ball retention and also wasn’t pressuring their opponents much in the game. City boss Nick Cushing then brought on hat-trick hero from last weekend in Georgia Stanway, with Nikita Parris making way for the England-U17 starlet. Doncaster began to get into the game a bit more without actually creating anything of note, but thoughts may have slowly been planted into the minds of a few fans, that with City unable to increase their lead that the Belles could snatch a goal from somewhere and cost City for not making the most of their possession. City’s top scorer Jane Ross then came on to the field to replace Izzy Christiansen with half an hour of the game left to play and with her and Stanway playing, they looked more threatening.  

Georgia Stanway then finally gave the home side some breathing space to put City 2-0 up, after she came out on top in a 50-50 challenge and then launched a strike from outside the area and saw it bounce just in front of Hobbs to find the far corner for a stunning goal in the 75th minute  and that looked to have sealed it. The home side though then made the mistake by taking their foot off the gas momentarily, which saw some very good passing by the Doncaster Belles side and saw a ball played over the back line towards the galloping Kasia Lipka who was onside, and her low shot across goal was brilliantly saved by Marie Hourihan in the City goals as the keeper got a good hand to turn the ball away for a corner and was ‘Donny’s’ first real chance of the game.

The visitors then cut the deficit in half from a corner kick that wasn’t dealt all by the City defence, and that allowed Doncaster Rover Belles Marta Matthews to smash home from close range and see the travelling South Yorkshire side back in the cup tie with ten minutes left to play. That goal really lit a fire under the backsides of the City side and saw them finally playing their normal brand of attacking football and saw Toni Duggan making it two goals in games for the Liverpudlian striker, as an attempted through ball by Jane Ross was blocked but saw the rebound coming out to Tessa Middag and the Dutch International played a short pass forward to the Blues striker, who then slotted it through the legs of the keeper for a 3-1  score and had the hosts now turning the screw.

City then began to smell blood and saw Georgia Stanway going close with a curling effort from outside the area that needed the keeper to make a vital save to push it over.  With two minutes left in normal time, it saw City’s top scorer in Jane Ross making sure of their place in the semi-finals with a goal that had a touch of fortunate about it for the Scottish striker, as a ball into the area was headed across the area from Georgia Stanway and the ball somehow bounced through the legs of Leandra Little and Ross was on hand to tuck the ball home for 4-1 and finally end the challenge of a stubborn Doncaster side.

It means the Blues are now just one win away from playing in another Continental Cup Final and should they reach it, they will have home field advantage for the final, as the final is being at their home ground the City Academy Stadium. Monday will see the draw taking place and will have City facing one of Birmingham City Ladies, London Bees who knocked out Chelsea Ladies in the previous round, or the toughest tie in Arsenal Ladies in who they beat to win the trophy a couple of seasons ago.

Speedway: Cook & Co Serve Up a Thrashing to the Hammers

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 Belle Vue  Aces   63   –  29   Lakeside Hammers

The Belle Vue Aces put on a demonstration of gating and team riding against their opponents the Lakeside Hammers on Wednesday night, after the Manchester club thrashed the Essex side 63-29 at the National Speedway Stadium.

Belle Vue went back into Elite League action minus their Australian U21 star Max Fricke, who was injured in the World Cup Race-off last Friday Night, Ironically on his home track at Belle Vue. Mark Lemon made a shrew move to bring in British Champion Danny King as a Guest for the fixture as the Coventry man clearly has a liking for the NSS, after he won the British Final earlier in the year at the track and also rode well for Great Britain this past Saturday in the World Cup Final.

For the visiting Hammers, it saw their plans thrown out the window before a wheel was turned, with Swedish World Cup star Andreas Jonsson was forced to pull out of the meeting earlier in the day from a bout of food poisoning and so saw Kelvin Tatum’s side having to track rider replacement for him. Edward Kennett saw him getting the better of Matej Zagar and Steve Worrall in the opening race and that was one of the few bright points that the Lakeside outfit enjoy during a horrid evening for the Hammers.

Belle Vue reserves Richie Worrall and Joe Jacobs picked up the first maximum heat for the Aces in Heat 2 as some great gating by the British duo saw them moving the home side in front. Craig Cook and Danny King both fresh from their successful World Cup exploits at the weekend, saw them forming a exciting duo and had them both attacking Richard Lawson at the same time with Cook coming around the outside and King steaming underneath Lawson for maximum points. 

Lakeside then had the two Lewis’s coming to their aid in Heat 4, when Bridger and Kerr rode to a 5-1 for the Hammers and saw the score line 14-10 in favour of the hosts and from that point onwards it was all one way traffic for Belle Vue. Edward Kennett battled with Richie Worrall for second place in Heat 5 and saw the former GB rider getting by Worrall and was unable to make any headway on Richie’s brother Steve who took the win.

Another 4-2 for the home side saw Scott Nicholls making up for his previous race, to which he failed too score but the Aces captain made a brilliant gate and nearly lost the lead temporarily to Richard Lawson, but Nicholls kept it wound on and retook the lead. Meanwhile Danny King tried everything he could do to get past Richard Lawson in the final two laps of the race, as the British Champion tried wide and inside lines but the Lakeside man just held onto second place.

Matej Zagar and Craig Cook then left their rivals for dead in Heat 7 as the Aces pair dished out a 5-1 to see them stretching the lead to 27-15 and looked to be cruising to victory so early in the meeting. Lakeside Team Manager and Sky TV pundit Kelvin Tatum, then saw him nominating Eddie Kennett for double points in Heat 8 and saw Kennett having to settle for second place as Scott Nicholls kept him out and saw a shared heat of 4-4.

Lewis Bridger was then the meat in a Worrall sandwich in Heat 9, after the former Eastbourne Eagles rider saw himself unable to shake off Steve Worrall and saw Bridger managing to hold second while Richie took the race win. Belle Vue then recorded five straight 5-1 heat wins against their opponents, with some fantastic gating being key along with teamwork proving to be the two pivotal things in their display.

Cook was in two of the most impressive maximum heat wins, as firstly he and King team rode to their second maximum in the meeting and then his second he was joined by Zagar who had Kennett and Nilsson miles behind the pairing in Heat 13. The Aces passed the 60 points barrier with a race to go, after Danny King who turned out to be inspired guest for the home side saw him picking up a race win on his way to a 8+2 score along with Scott Nicholls for the 8th maximum heat win the home side recorded to see Belle Vue lead 60-26 after 14 races.

Lakeside’s Richard Lawson had the final word of the night, as he made a flyer from gate 2 to see him pulling away from the unbeaten Craig Cook and denied him his paid maximum. With Wolverhampton losing down in Dorset against the Poole Pirates, it saw the Aces increasing their lead at the top of the Elite Table to Five points ahead of their meeting next Monday night at Monmore Green, before that though Mark Lemon’s side will firstly have to deal with the tricky return fixture down in Lakeside on Friday night and one that Hammers will want to avenge quickly.

Belle Vue Aces = 63

1. Matej Zagar – 2,3,2*,3 = 10+1
2. Steve Worrall – 1*,3,1,3 = 8+1
3. Danny King (G) – 2*,1,2*,3 = 8+2
4. Scott Nicholls – 0,3,3,2*,1* = 9+2
5. Craig Cook – 3,2*,3,2*,2 = 12+2
6. Richie Worrall – 3,1,3,2* = 9+1
7. Joe Jacobs – 2*,1,1,3 = 7+1

Lakeside Hammers = 29

1. Andreas Jonsson R/R – ( LB-0,RL-2,KN-1,EK-0 = 3 )
2. Edward Kennett – 3,2,4^,0,0,0 = 9
3. Richard Lawson – 0,2,1,1,1,3 = 8
4. Lewis Bridger – 0,3,EF,2,0 = 5
5. Kim Nilsson – 1,0,1,R,1 = 3
6. Robert Mear – 0,0,(LK-0),0,1 = 1
7. Lewis Kerr – 1,2*,0,(RM-0),0 = 3+1

Read more: http://speedwayupdates.proboards.com/thread/15932/belle-vue-lakeside-el-2016#ixzz4GlN7ZJ7z

Speedway World Cup: GB cause upset as Poland are crowned World Champs

 

Saturday night saw Poland crowned Speedway World Champions at Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium with a brilliant team performance effort that saw Krzysztof Kasprzak scoring the clinching point for the Poles in the penultimate heat to see recording their 12th title and 7th under the newer format. Meanwhile Great Britain shocked the rest of the Speedway world with a stunning Silver medal that equalled their best finish to a Speedway World Cup since 2004, with World Champion Tai Woffinden scoring a bulk of the points that helped his nation claiming a place on the rostum.

After the borefest of the previous evening when the track produced a serious lack of passing ability from any of the four nations that took part in the Race-off, it saw the final however being a thrilling meeting and saw more passing in the opening two races of the event than that of the previous night before and saw some heart-stopping races too.

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Poland Celebrate World Cup Glory : Pic taken from SpeedwayGB

 

 

Tai Woffinden made a brilliant swooping move around the outside of Sweden’s Freddie Lindgren and Poland’s Krzysztof Kasprzak in the opening race as he roared around the outside to lead and see a sea of British flags waving in celebrations as he put the host nation in front after one race. Patryk Dudek then took Heat 2 to see a 3-way tie at the top of the leaderboard with Sweden, G.B and Poland all locked on four points while Australia had yet to register a point in the meeting. Heat 3 saw Danny King demolishing the tapes and being excluded from the re-run and saw the home side starting to fall away for the meantime. The re-run though threw up a fantastic race with Australia’s Sam Masters leading the way from Andreas Jonsson and Bartosz Zmarzlik, that was until Zmarzlik got by the Swede and went to challenge the Aussie rider for a couple of laps but Jonsson used his experience to steaming up the inside of both riders on the final bend to take victory and put Sweden ahead with Masters just holding onto second place.

Antonio Lindback then picked up a second successive race win for the Swedes in Heat 4, after the ‘Rio Rocket’ came from the back of the field to power his way around and help extend the lead for the defending champions as Sweden began to pull away slightly. Krysztoft Kasprzak then picked up a race win for Poland as the Coventry rider made a cut back between Andreas Jonsson and Robert Lambert, to see him putting his side back in the contest and moved the Poles just four points behind the leaders in the meeting. Heat 7 saw another great race taking place, after Zmarzlik went from third to first and saw Britain’s Craig Cook being relegated from second to last and had Chris Holder and Freddie Lindgren both having a ding-dong battle for second and saw a hairy moment with Lindgren just having enough room to squeeze between Holder and fence.

Woffinden made a rare poor start from the gate in Heat 8 and that allowed Poland’s captain Piotr Pawlicki to make the gate himself and saw him leaving the others behind, as he put his side just two points behind the Swedes and had their cause helped when the British rider managed to pass Peter Ljung for second place. Cook and Masters both blasted away from tapes in Heat 9, with the Aussie rider moving Cook out right towards the fence and effectively ended his race with both Kasprzak and Lindback coming underneath him and seeing the British rider not giving up hope of claiming a point, but it was to late in the race to make an impression on Lindback. 

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Tai Woffinden puts Britain ahead : Pic: TheSun

 

At the halfway stage of the Final, it saw Tai Woffinden making sure to correct his error of the previous race with a stunning win as the double World Champion blasted out of the gate and stretched away from his opponents, with Dudek passing Jonsson cruically on the fourth bend of the opening lap to see the Poles go level with Sweden at 18 points all see Great Britain gaining more points on the Aussies with them now just two points behind. Zmarzlik shown his liking for the Belle Vue track with his second win in a row to put the Poles in front for the first time in the meeting as the Polish rider made a nice cut back to pass Jason Doyle and Peter Ljung on the second bend of the opening lap.

Great Britain Team Manager Alun Rossiter, then played his Joker in Heat 12 with Tai Woffinden making a great start and taking the race win for six points to move Britain into third place and ahead of Australia and saw the start of the home side gaining momentum. Meanwhile there was a three-way battle for second place with Pawlicki, Lindgren and Masters all changing places frequently during the race and saw Poland now opening up a three point gap at the top of the leader board. Heat 13 saw Freddie Lindgren then pulling the Swedes back in the meeting, after he cut back under Britain’s Robert Lambert and saw a trend of the home riders finding it very hard to hold onto the lead when in good position. Lambert then faced the challenge from Poland’s Patryk Dudek and saw him and the Pole swapping places a couple of times before Dudek just had too much power for his rival. 

Chris Holder then became the third Aussie heat winner in the final as he took Heat 14 ahead of Danny King, after the two of them were side by side for the first lap and saw the British Champion never giving up and chased down Holder for the entire race but just couldn’t find a way by him. It was pretty much the same story for Kasprzak too, as Ljung managed to hold off the advancing Polish rider and saw the leaders failing to score a point in a race for the first time since Heat 4.

Woffinden made three wins on the bounce in Heat 15 with another victory, as that moved the home side to within one point of the Swedes with five races left to go. We then had drama in Heat 16 when Craig Cook made the initial start and was lead the race, but with all the riders racing close together it had Jason Doyle having too much speed coming into the third bend and clipped Piotr Pawlicki leg and sent the Pole crashing to the deck. The referee excluded the Aussie who was on a Joker ride and saw the Belle Vue rider in Cook making the gate once more in the re-run and helpd Great Britain leapfrog Sweden into second place.

Heat 18 saw Cook involved again, but this time he and Andreas Jonsson both made the gate and Bartosz Zmazlik had the drive on both men to cut through the pair of them and take the win and leave a battle for second place as Jonsson just held off Cook to the line. With Sweden retaking second place from the home side, it saw Danny King who hadn’t made the best of gates by all accounts but it saw him going wide into the dirt and rounding Kasprzak and Grajczonek with only Lindgren halting his run. King then picked up a huge win for GB and saw Sweden now in third and had Poland picking up the vital point needed to regain the World Cup again and saw wild celebrations within the Polish contingent in the stands.

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GB Team Boss Alun Rossiter and the GB side recover from tough Final :Pic-SpeedwayGB

 

Heat 20 saw the last heat being a shootout for Silver between Sweden and the host country Great Britain and was like deja vu again, as in 2004 it saw Sweden and British fighting it out for gold on that occassion and saw a contenious incident that led to Sweden winning the World Cup that day. Woffinden didn’t make the best of starts in the crucial race, but he isn’t a double World Champion for no reason and so saw him forcing his way nearly to the front only for a determined ride by Piotr Pawlicki to shut the door on the British rider in the race. Lindgren and Sweden were forced to settle for a Bronze medal as despite the Wolves man passing Chris Holder, it wasn’t enough to prevent the hosts from securing Silver and sparked celebrations within the home crowd and saw Great Britain recording their best finish in 12 years.

 

 

 

 

Women's Football: Stanway Hat-Trick Guides City By Sunderland

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Manchester City Women   3    –    0   Sunderland Ladies AFC 

Manchester City Women youngster Georgia Stanway helped her side to take another step towards a maiden FA Women’s Super League title this past Sunday afternoon with a hat trick in her side’s 3-0 victory over Sunderland Ladies at the City Academy Stadium.

Stanway who has been away with England’s Under 17 side for their European Championships, it saw the Barrow-born forward scoring her first professional hat trick in what was in a truth, a routine win for the City side. The home side controlled the play without threatening too much, but the Blues then began to create a couple of chances for themselves as Jane Ross went close with a header from a ball off Megan Campbell and had her effort come back off the bar and put behind for a corner.

City were getting closer and closer in their attacks and finally saw the deadlock broken after Georgia Stanway out-muscled Danielle Brown for a loose ball and then got into the Sunderland area and then in fired at the near post, that saw Rachel Laws in goals unable to stop the shot and saw the home side 1-0 up after 18 minutes played.
Laws was then nearly caught out again soon after by a ball that went towards goal and was so inoxious, but it needed to be tipped over for a corner and saw the visitors struggling to get into the game with the Blues dominating.

Lucy Bronze almost made it two for the City, when her long range effort hit the bar and saw Nick Cushing’s side searching for a second goal that seemed would settle them. Sunderland did enjoy a brief spell of play towards the end of the first half, with England’s number one Karen Bardsley needing to be alert to make an important stop from Rachel Furness shot on goal as the City keeper helped preserve the lead as half time came around.

Second half saw more good play by City, with Stanway scoring her second goal of the game with the 17-year old curling an effort in after Lucy Bronze had ran down the wing at the Sunderland defence and saw her cross partly cleared as far as Stanway, and the England starlet doubled the lead for the home side on 54 minutes to see the Blues with a bit of breathing space. City sealed the game 8 minutes from time as it was Stanway yet again on the scoresheet with the Striker grabbing a hat-trick in the game, after some nice play by Toni Duggan saw her neatly back-heeling a pass into the path of the England U17 star and her shot went in off the post and made it 3-0.

Moments later she got a standing ovation from the home crowd and was replaced by Daphne Corboz, with her and her teammates playing out the remaining minutes with relative ease.


 

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Reading Women FC   1 – 2  Manchester City Women

 

Wednesday night saw the Blues travelling down to Wycombe Wanderers Adams Park to face Reading Women and saw them strengthening their lead at the top of the table with a 2-1 win down in Berkshire, thanks to goals from Izzy Christiansen and Toni Duggan. The visitors had plenty of chances to score before Izzy Christiansen put City in front in the 38th minute thanks to a header on her 50th appearance for the club, when Nikita Parris put a little ball in for the midfielder to head home and see the away side taking the lead.

Reading were struggling to make anything with the ball and saw the away side finally making sure of the match, when Toni Duggan added another strike to her impressive goal scoring collection with a thumping shot that found the top corner from the edge of the area. City then conceded a penalty late on with Parris being guilty of upending Emma Folis in the penalty area and that allowed Laura Bruton to convert from the spot and give ‘The Royals’ nothing more than a consolation at the end of the game.

That win meant the Blues are now 7 points clear of their nearest challengers Chelsea, with the West London side having a game in hand on their opponents and still have to travel up to Manchester for a possible title decider.