Manchester City Women 1-0 Chelsea Ladies
A Toni Duggan goal in the first half proved to be enough for Manchester City Women, as they secured a tight 1-0 win over rivals Chelsea on what was a very emotional charged evening at the City Academy Stadium on Thursday evening.
This past Monday saw Manchester being rocked to it’s core, when the city was hit by a terror attack at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 people and injured many others in the blast. For the past few days that followed, the City as a whole have come together to show solidarity and saw this being the first game played in the city since that tragic incident.
Both sides wore ‘We Love MCR’ shirts in their respective warm-ups and was a nice touch by the visiting side. Prior to kick off it saw the fans in attendance all coming together and chanting ‘Stand up for Manchester’ before the teams entered the field of play.
After a minute’s silence was impeccably observed by the whole stadium, it saw the Spring Series contest finally getting underway and bring some normality to proceedings as well.
An absolutely baking hot evening in Manchester served up a entertaining game of football, between two teams that battled tooth and nail for the WSL League title last season.
The home side started very attacking and had their opponents coming under some stern pressure early doors in the contest. Chelsea forced their way back into the game and saw both sides needing to being patient in their build ups as they looked to crack the others defences.
When the clock ticked onto the 22-minute mark it saw the ground rising to it’s feet to pay it’s respects to the twenty-two victims that were killed in the incident in the terror attacks and was a another nice touch.
Play was very much even until the deadlock was broken on 28 minutes, with a bit of skill and vision by Manchester City’s Toni Duggan. It saw the forward spinning on the ball which caught out Chelsea’s Millie Bright, before the striker then unleashed a shot from outside that area that beat Carly Telford in the visitors goal and put the hosts a goal up.
City captain Steph Houghton then almost made it 2-0 with a free kick that rattled off the crossbar and away, with the home side in on top. Second half had the visitors taking the game to the home side more and edging play in their favour, with Chelsea having more of the ball and the attacking play.
Karen Bardsley was the more busier keeper of the two in the second forty-five of the game, as she was made to make a couple of important stops to deny the West-London side an equaliser.
Nikita Parris was getting into decent positions for City, but sadly her shooting was letting her down and saw her spurning a couple of glorious chances to give the home side a cushion. Megan Campbell then put in one of her trademark long throws into the Chelsea penalty box, as the ball beat everyone in the area especially Carly Telford to see the ball ending up in the back of the net.
Sadly for her and the home side though, the rules states that the ball much take a touch off someone for it count, and as no one got a touch it was ruled out. For the final quarter of the game it saw City coming under pressure by the Chelsea forwards, and once yet again Bardsley was forced into making some top draw saves to deny them an equaliser.
The visitors pressed and pressed for a goal late on, but the City defences were refusing to budge. In the end the home side had enough to hold out and claim three league points in the Spring series table and move them one shy of leaders Liverpool, with the Blues facing Arsenal Ladies on Sunday dinnertime and a chance to go top.