City come up short in German test

Manchester_City_2016.png  Manchester City Women  1 – 2  FFC Frankfurt25393_imgbank

Two first half goals for FFC Frankfurt gave the German side a slim 2-1 win over Manchester City Women at the City Football Academy this past Friday evening, as the side currently sitting sixth in the Frauen Bundesliga prevailed in a friendly. After Nick Cushing watched his side fall to a 4-1 defeat in Berlin against Germany’s league leaders in Turbine Potsdam on Sunday, it saw them facing more yet more German opposition in FFC Frankfurt as they build towards their WSL Spring Series and also their Women’s Champions League encounter against Fortuna Hjorring next month.

Early play was mainly coming from the home side, with City having predominantly more of the possession but they just weren’t able to really create anything in the way of clear cut chances due to a stubborn, but well organised Frankfurt side. When the away side did attack, it saw most of their play coming down the left flank through Ana Maria- Crnogorcevic or Janina Hechler, with the latter causing all kinds of problems throughout the opening half with the 18-year olds pace being a threat.

In the tenth minute of play it saw the visitors taking the lead against the run of play when Keira Walsh got caught out in possession in her own half by Jackie Groenen, and that saw the Dutch midfielder fending off of Walsh’s attempt challenged and fired a low shot into the bottom corner with the despairing Ellie Roebuck in the City goals unable to do much about it and move the German side in front.

Nikita Parris once or twice managed to get behind the visitors defence on a few occasions with her determination and pace but when she found herself in good positions it saw a lack off support and had her unable to pick anyone out in a blue shirt. City as you would expect seemed to be rather a tad rusty from their long spell away from playing together, whilst their opponents are midway through their season in the Frauen Bundesliga in Germany and it clearly saw a different between the two sides with Frankfurt being the more with an edge to their play.

Frankfurt doubled their lead on the half-hour when a corner came in and saw the ball bouncing off the back of Tanja Pawollek who didn’t seem to expect the ball to come to her, but with it pinballing firstly off the crossbar and having Roebuck and Demi Stokes both trying to clear it away, it saw Pawollek having a second go and saw Izzy Christiansen clearing off the line but only as far as Mandy Islacker who finally turned it home for a 2-0 lead. It saw the Germans clinical finishing proving to be key in the game and was something that the home side was still trying to rediscover so far.

City had some half chances coming their way in the half but the defensive unit of Frankfurt was like a brick wall and wouldn’t allow anything to get by them at all in the first half. Shots that Desiree Schumann did face from the home side was merely comfortable efforts straight at her and wasn’t too troubling to deal with. The best chance for the home side fell to Toni Duggan just before half time break, when Lucy Bronze played a ball across goal for Izzy Christiansen who then played in Duggan who was unmarked and the English striker put her effort wide of the target with a disappoint shot.

As the whistle came for half time on a bitterly chilly night in Manchester, it saw the home side not looking like the side that had swept other teams before them last season. City knew they needed a much improved performance if they wanted to force their back into this game as Frankfurt were a different level from team they have faced at the CFA so far. In the second half it saw a much better performance by the home side and saw Izzy Christiansen nearly making it 2-1 but was guilty of a bad miss a couple of minutes inside the second period of play.

The chance saw Jane Ross brilliantly holding the ball up and playing in Nikita Parris, who then saw the striker playing in Christiansen for what looked like a tap in with the goalie rounded and despite a defender trying to get back it saw the midfielder somehow managing to miss the target all together and have the score remain the same.

In truth the home side missed the physical side of Jill Scott to their play in the engine room side of their midfield, as no one really was able to grab the game and lead them forward like Scott has done in tight games over the last couple of years. With the home side still two down with just over a quarter of an hour to go, it saw City boss Nick Cushing making a surprise substitution as he replaced Jane Ross who was one of the better players on the pitch and she was made to make way for England starlet Georgia Stanway.

With Less than a thirty seconds of the change, it saw Christiansen providing a great through ball that caught out the Frankfurt back line and that allowed Nikita Parris to run on it and with the flag staying down, the striker slotted home for a 2-1 score and make it game on.

With City pushing for an equaliser in the game as play reached the ninety, it saw Ellie Roebuck rushing out of her goals to send the ball up field and try to start up a City attack. The referee signalled for four minutes to be added onto the end of the contest and saw both teams trying to force one last goal scoring opportunity their way. It saw the home side having the last decent effort of the game with a free kick, after Stanway was fouled outside the Frankfurt area it saw captain Steph Houghton stepping up to take the free kick in a dangerous area but Schumann made the save in the Frankfurt goal.

That proved to be the last chance in the game before the full time whistle blew and saw the home side falling to German opposition for the second time in a week, but losing by a goal to the four-time Women’s Champions League winners is no disgrace at all and good preparation for their upcoming games. Up next for the Blues is away trip to Denmark on the 23rd of March as they play the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark, before welcoming them to the CFA the week after.

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