Stanway stunner grabs a vital point in the Battle of the Blues

MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 2 – 2 CHELSEA LADIES

A late strike by Manchester City’s Georgia Stanway five minutes from time saw the England U-19 striker claiming a point for the home side against a strong Chelsea Ladies sides at the Academy Stadium, as the champions drew 2-2 in the ‘battle of the blues’ and top of the table clash with the South West London side. That result looked unlikely for most of the contest as Chelsea for the best part of the game was on top and dominated their title rival in the game. 

Before kick-off, it saw the gap between the sides standing at just one point and had Chelsea being the only side in the contest after the first forty-five. The away side had City on the back foot from the off and had Chelsea looking the far likelier of the two sides to score, and seemed more of a case of when not if. That goal eventually came in the 5th minute of play, as the ball was pinballing in the City penalty area and ended with defender Millie Bright swinging her left foot to fire it high into the roof of the net for a much deserved 1-0 lead. 

That goal you thought would be the point that would spark the home side into life, but that spark never came. Chelsea kicked on and tested Ellie Roebuck in the Manchester City goal, as she needed to be constantly alert to thwart the visitor’s attacks. The home side was guilty of poor play and a lot of sloppy passing and a lack of creativity from Nick Cushing’s side, as they looked like a side that was lost. With City dealing with key personnel all out injured with club captain Steph Houghton being the recent player watching from the sidelines and saw the Citizens looking massively disjointed. 

Following their first loss in their league campaign during midweek at Birmingham, it saw the home side looking as toothless and poor yet again as they had on Thursday and even against the same opposition in their cup victory last weekend. Ji So-Yeon then doubled the lead for Chelsea on 23 minutes, as another quick attack saw some good passing play by the ‘blues’ and saw Crystal Dunn playing a pass back to Ji inside the box and have the South Korean finding the bottom far corner for a 2-0 scoreline.

It saw City being cut to ribbons by the attacking play coming from the league leaders, as the home side was seeing their current unbeaten streak at home record that stretched back to April 2015, was in grave danger of coming to an end. Their last home defeat came 18-games ago, as Arsenal Ladies were the last side to inflict a home loss in the WSL. Following the second goal for Chelsea, it saw faint signs of a comeback coming from City as they looked to get back into the game. 

A rare attack for the hosts saw chances coming all at once, as firstly, Nikita Parris went close from close range and then saw Julia Spetsmark having an effort too before a ball came outside the area and Jill Scott saw her shot blocked for a corner. Ellie Roebuck then came up big to make a good save from Ramona Bachmann to keep the score at a two-goal game.

At the start of the second half, Nick Cushing made a change and brought on Claire Emslie for Julia Spetsmark, as Emslie instantly posed an attacking threat that hadn’t been there in the first. Five minutes into the second half it saw Demi Stokes putting in a great cross towards the back post and saw the ball met by the head of Nikita Parris to make it 2-1. 

Chelsea had another effort turned away by Roebuck, as the young shot-stopper got down well to make a save from a Bachmann shot. Georgia Stanway then came on for Izzy Christiansen, as the home side looked in search of a second goal to draw level. Nikita Parris was guilty of missing a great chance in the game that fell her way with a quarter of an hour left to play, as a ball came toward the England striker and with no-one nearby, she managed to somehow fire her shot wide of the target and could have been costly.

The home side then saw Jane Ross coming on to replace Nadia Nadim after the Danish International had made little to no impact in the game at all. Ross’s introduction to the game saw the Scottish International along with the two other substitutes in Emslie and Stanway, all proving game changers in the match. With City pushing for an equaliser, they got it courtesy of an absolute stunner by Georgia Stanway with five minutes to go and saw the home side getting back on level terms. 

As the game ticked into added time, it saw the visitors having late chances to take the three points, but a match-saving block by Jennifer Beattie who quite literally used her head, saw the defending making a block and prevented the leaders from scoring at the death. When the full-time whistle blew, it saw the home side celebrating amongst themselves in what could prove to be a huge point overall, but Chelsea will be kicking themselves as they should have had the game killed off far earlier. For the host’s it saw a far better performance in the second half and had their super subs to thank for helping to rescue a point for the champions.

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 Photo Credit – Man City.com

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Super Subs sends City through to Quarters Final

Birmingham City Ladies 1 – 3 Man City Women (AET)

A goal in each half of extra time was enough to send holders Manchester City Women through to the quarter-finals of the SSE Women’s FA Cup with a difficult and hard-fought win over Birmingham City Ladies in a rematch of last years final at Solihull Moor. Extra time goals from Substitutes Georgia Stanway and Claire Emslie, helped City Women to beat their West Midlands opponents with two well-taken goals and keep their unbeaten run going.

It saw the visitors starting the brighter of the two sides, with Jill Scott having the first chance of the match with the England International shooting wide of the target from outside the area. City opened the scoring in the 13th minute of play, when a free kick by Izzy Christiansen was put into the area and saw the ball coming off a Birmingham City defender knee and brought a save out of Ann-Katrin Berger, but the keeper was unable to hold on and saw the loose ball falling to the feet of Nadia Nadim and the Danish International tapped home to put the visitors 1-0 ahead.

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Minutes later, it saw Melissa Lawley almost doubling the lead against her former club, but Berger was equal to the City winger’s shot and pushed it over the bar for a corner. Birmingham had their first attempt of the game in the 22nd minute of the contest when the Blues striker Ellen White put her header just wide of the goal and have Ellie Roebuck in the City goals on top of it. The away side then had another effort on goal, as this time it saw goalscorer almost turning provider, when Nadia Nadim won the ball back in a tackle in the middle of the park and went on to feed Nikita Parris to which the diminutive striker couldn’t generate any power in her shot and saw her shot gathered by the Brum keeper.

For half an hour or so, it had the home side being under the cosh from their opponents and saw Birmingham Ladies growing into the game. Jennifer Beattie came to City’s rescue when the defender took the ball off Emma Follis while in a dangerous area, and saw the Scottish International clearing away from danger. Both teams struggled with their midfield, as neither side was able to get a foothold in the game. Birmingham then levelled things up in the 37th minute of play after an error by Keira Walsh saw her pass intercepted by Charlie Wellings and had her putting a ball through for Ellen White to run onto, with the striker rounding Ellie Roebuck and rolling the ball home for a 1-1 score.

The home side was growing in confidence more so and also did a great job of pressing the visiting side and forcing their opponents into errors. In the early part of the second half, Birmingham went close to taking the lead in the game through a shot from Rachel Williams, after the midfielder put her effort just wide of the target. Nick Cushing then made his first change of the game, with the introduction of Claire Emslie coming on Mel Lawley who struggled to get into the game and once on it didn’t see too much of the substitute at all in the second half. It saw City Women being let-off hugely in the 67th minute of play when Ellen White played a ball through towards Rachel Williams, but it saw the midfielder caught between passing or shooting and saw her playing a ball across the area when in a good position.

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Jill Scott then saw her claims for a penalty shout waved away and was shown a yellow card for troubles, with the referee adjudging the midfielder to have dived inside the Birmingham penalty box. It saw a straight swap then being made with Georgia Stanway coming on to replace the goalscorer Nadia Nadim, with the striker not having made any impression at all in the half. Eventually, it saw the visitors using Claire Emslie more as the game headed toward the final ten minutes of play and have the Scottish midfielder having two efforts on goal and testing Berger in the host’s goal.

Birmingham then pressed in attack and saw Emma Follis dragging her shot wide from inside the area and have Ellie Roebuck being alert and covering the danger. It saw the game being level after 90 minutes of play and needed extra time to determine a winner from the contest. During extra time, it saw City Women coming out more and looking far more like the league leaders of the Women’s Super League and threatened with more attacks and in turn, led to Georgia Stanway putting the visitors 2-1 up in the 97th minute after seeing the England youngster moving into space before firing home at the near post to put the holders ahead.

Late on it saw a stunning save from City keeper Ellie Roebuck, as the England youngster tipped a shot that she saw very late onto the far post and denied the home side from an equalising goal. Deep into added time, Claire Emslie put the tie to bed as she curved a shot in the far side of the net for a 3-1 score and booked her side’s place in the next round of the Women’s FA Cup. The sides renew rivalries again this coming Wednesday night, as City face Birmingham in the league ahead of their top of the table clash against title rivals Chelsea.

Parris double moves City back top

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Manchester City Women   4 – 0  Liverpool Ladies

Two goals by Nikita Parris helped Manchester City move back to the top of the Women’s Super League standings after a 4-0 win over Liverpool Ladies at the Academy Stadium. This was the first home game that City had played following seven straight matches away from Manchester in the League and the Cup too. Since that time, it has seen City progressing to the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup and also remain unbeaten with a goalless game against fellow title rivals Chelsea.

The Blues were minus three of their big name players in goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, club captain and defender Steph Houghton and also midfielder Jill Scott all through injury. It saw the hosts starting strong from the word go and have their recent new signing in Danish International Nadia Nadim going close with a couple of headers that saw Liverpool’s goalie Becky Flaherty dealing with it. Seconds later it saw the home side taking a fortunate lead inside fifty seconds when the ball struck Nikita Parris in the face and somehow ended up in the back of the net.

Abbie McManus then tested the Liverpool keeper from long range after the City defender lifted the ball back over a red shirts player and launched a right-footed volley that bounced in front of the Flaherty and saw her pushing the shot away for a corner. On a chilly early afternoon in Manchester, it saw Ellie Roebuck finally doing something to stay warm as Bethany England had a cross come shot that had the young keeper making the catch.

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Nikita Parris celebrates her second goal during Man City Women 4-0 win over Liverpool Ladies Pic: MANCITY.COM

The first half was a pretty uneventful forty-five minute half in truth, with Claire Emslie having two efforts on goal for City but that was as good as it got. In the Second half, saw the blues continuing their dominating of possession and in the 54th minute, it saw Nikita Parris weaving her way pass Alex Greenwood and then got brought down inside the area by Caroline Weir which resulted in a penalty. Izzy Christiansen stepped up City and fired high into the Reds goal to double their lead for a 2-0 scoreline.

Liverpool’s Bethany England then almost found an instant response for the visitors, as she cut inside Abbie McManus and seen her shot saved by Ellie Roebuck. In the 59th minute, it saw a corner kick being whipped in by Claire Emslie and saw a bullet header from Nikita Parris to net her second of the game and have City 3-0 up as the home side were flexing their muscles.

Defender Abbie McManus scored the fourth goal for the home side, with a touch of good fortune about it too, as Nikita Parris flicked a through ball onwards for McManus to run onto and had her initial shot blocked by Kate Longhurst and saw the ball bounce back off the knee of the City player and into the net with Flaherty down stranded still. The victory moves the sky blues back to the top of the WSL table with attention now switching to their Women’s FA Cup game next weekend against Birmingham City Ladies and a repeat of last year’s final where City lifted the trophy at Wembley. 


CITY WOMEN QUALIFY FOR QUARTERS FINALS

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Manchester City Women  2 – 0 Birmingham City Ladies

Manchester City Women booked their place in the quarter-finals of the WSL Cup with a comfortable 2-0 home win over Women’s Super League side Birmingham City Ladies at the Academy Stadium on Sunday afternoon, thanks to first-half goals by Nikita Parris and Claire Emslie as the holders topped the group with a game to play.

The home side was given a boost ahead of the clash with Birmingham, as Manchester City boss Nick Cushing put pen to paper on a new three-year deal that sees him staying at the club till at least 2020. It also saw him forced into a defensive change with Demi Stokes ruled out of the game with a knock that she picked up during England duty, and so youngster Esme Morgan came into the lineup for her debut in the Continental Cup.

After a quiet opening quarter of an hour to the game, in which the game was played mostly in the middle of the park and saw both goalkeepers being spectators. In the 18th minute, it finally saw the deadlock being broken thanks to a goal by Nikita Parri as a through-ball by Jane Ross saw the striker taking a slightly heavier touch than she wanted, but it caused hesitation from Birmingham’s Hannah Hampton in goal and that hesitation allowed the England International to lift her shot over the keeper to put the hosts in front.

Jess Carter had the first opportunity for the away side in the 23rd minute of play, as the defender tried a 25-yard shot from distance and had Karen Bardsley in the City goal more than able to deal with it. City’s Jill Scott then worked herself into space, before she unleashed a low drive that had Hampton beaten all ends up, but saw the ball bouncing inches past the far post and almost making it two.

City was looking comfortable at 1-0 without really getting out of first gear and that saw the home side doubling their lead in the 36th minute of play, when a fantastic ball was put into the area by Esme Morgan – and the ball evaded everyone but the incoming Claire Emslie on the back post, and the Scottish International made it 2-0 with a neat finish.

Emslie could have doubled her tally minutes later when a ball came out towards the midfield dynamo, and the Scot’s fiercely struck shot half-volley ended up hitting the side-netting. Birmingham had the last attack of the half with a Charlie Wellings shot on goal, but the forward shot straight at the keeper and have the home side going into the half-time break 2-0 up to the good.

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Claire Emslie makes it two for City – PIC: ManCity.com

In the second half, it saw a pretty quiet forty-five minutes and didn’t see much in the way of goalmouth action compared to the first half. Birmingham has over the last couple of years been a tough nut to crack for the treble-winners, as the hosts were forced to battle hard in which to beat the Blues in the league earlier in the season.

The Solihull-based side created a couple of half-chances from long range, as firstly Rachel Williams saw her shot going wide before Paige Williams had her effort well saved by Karen Bardsley.

Birmingham’s Emily Westwood then suffered an injury for the visitors, when a strong tackle against her by Claire Emslie forced the defender to be helped off down the tunnel and replaced by Kerys Harrop. Izzy Christiansen went close with a header from a corner, as the former Blues player saw her effort scrambled off the goal line and have the visitors clearing their lines.

Yet again for the away side, it saw both Williams testing the City keeper from distance and saw Birmingham the better side in the final quarter of the game. Jane Ross in what turned out to be her last action of the game, saw the Scottish striker putting her header just wide of the target and was subbed for youngster Ella Toone.

Meanwhile, the visitors went close with a Lucy Quinn shot that brought a good save out of Karen Bardsley and soon after it saw an Emma Follis cross into the box almost being turned in by Hayley Ladd, but her shot was turned around for a corner.

From the resulting corner, it saw Kerys Harrop bundling the ball home for the Blues, but much to their dismay, the referee ruled it out for a foul on the keeper and saw the home side preserving their clean sheet. As the full-time whistle blew, it saw City claiming all three points and see them topping their Continental Cup group with just one game left to play, as they travel to South Yorkshire to face Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday night.

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CAMPBELL INJURY MARS CITY WOMEN’S EURO WIN

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MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN  2 –  1  LSK KVINNER   (City win 7-1 on Aggregate)

Second half goals by Izzy Christiansen and Nikita Parris helped book Manchester City Women place into the Quarter Finals of the Women’s Champions League after the Blues beat Norwegian side LSK Kvinner 2-1 at the Academy Stadium, and 7-1 on aggregate and await their next opponents.

The victory came at a cost though for the WSL Champions, as the home side were dealt an enormous blow after losing Republic of Ireland defender Megan Campbell for a long spell on the sidelines after she sustained a bad looking leg injury in the victory. 

With City beating Kvinner over in Norway 5-0 last week in their first leg, it saw the tie is effectively over before the two sides renewed acquaintances once more at the Academy Stadium for the second leg, and saw the home side looking to hammer home their advantage in the home leg. 

The hosts had the first chance through Jill Scott in the opening minutes of the game, as some nice attacking play saw a ball putting the midfielder in on goal and having Scott seeing her shot well saved by Cecilie Fiskerstrand in the LSK Kvinner goals. From the following corner, it saw Jennifer Beattie heading over the bar and seeing a bright start by the home side. 

Captain Steph Houghton had a header saved on the line by the keeper minutes later, as City was looking very strong when in attack, and looked to be the only side in the contest in the open ten minutes of play.

Claire Emslie was the next player to go close for the home side after good work by Demi Stokes down the left-hand side then saw the England International nutmegging the defender and putting a good ball into the box for Emslie to get on the end of, but sadly could only hit it straight at the keeper.

Stokes then ran onto a long ball by Jennifer Beattie in defence and saw the England defender galloping in the penalty area for the hosts before trying to lift her shot over the keeper, but Fiskerstrand once again came to the rescue of the visitors and just got a touch to see go out for a corner.

Kvinner had literally been in stuck in their own half for the first quarter of the game and had hardly touched the ball inside the City half at all, but in the 17th minute, it saw the Norwegian side taking the lead very much against the run of play.

It saw Emilie Haavi spotting the run of a teammate and played a lovely through ball that cut the City defence open as Guro Reiten dashed on to the end of it, before then picking out Marte Berget as she drew both Houghton and Beattie over towards and left the Kvinner player completely unmarked in the City box have her shot partly stopped by Ellie Roebuck, but the ball trickled in a shock 1-0 lead to the side from Lilliestrom. 

The next few minutes saw a lull throughout the City side, as the goal seemed to disrupt and disjoint their play for the next few minutes as the visiting side seemed to have a bit of control temporarily in the game. Keira Walsh then saw her dipping volley going just over the bar for City as they looked to find a way back and reassert their position in the game.

Demi Stokes weaved her magic down the left once more, as this time she had the defender tied up in knots and put another good cross into the box for the wide open Nikita Parris to get her head on but the striker managed to put it wide of the goal and fail to test the keeper and was another chance that went begging.

The back line for the home side was caught out again, as the Norwegian side came close to doubling their lead through Guro Reiten, as she attempted to curl a ball into the top corner but thankfully for City, it went wide of the target.

Two quick chances then fell the way of the hosts in quick succession, as Izzy Christiansen and Keira Walsh both tested the Kvinner defence with shots and had the keepers having to get down to a Walsh shot from range that was tricky.

A minute into the second half saw the home side drawing level through Izzy Christiansen, as a through ball from Nikita Parris saw the midfielder unmarked and saw Christiansen curling her shot in the far side of the net past Fiskerstrand in the Kvinner goals for 1-1.

Things then took a back seat in the 54th minute of play, when defender Megan Campbell stretched for a ball in a tackle and saw the Republic of Ireland player instantly waving for help and screaming in agony while laying down on the ground and had the Eire player rupturing her ACL in her right knee and was down for a long time.

The injury brought a long delay to the game, as the medics treated Campbell on the field and needed her to be stretched off and received a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance and left City a defender light in what is a small squad anyhow. Emilie Haavi then saw her shot whistling past the right-hand post of Roebuck in the City goals as the visitors nearly retook the lead with the shot.

Houghton saw her free kick failing to trouble Fiskerstrand in the LSK goal and the keeper claimed the ball pretty easily. Soon after it saw Guro Reiten spotting the goalkeeper off her line and attempting to chip her from distance, but the shot was a bit under-hit and saw Roebuck making the grab and easily getting back.

Then moments later in the 72nd minute, it saw Mel Lawley getting the better of Ingrid Wold down the Kvinner right and playing a low ball across the five-yard area for the incoming Nikita Parris to turn goalward for 2-1 lead to the Blues and 7-1 on aggregate. 

Danish International defender Mie Jans made her belated debut for the home side with twelve minutes left to play, after Jans had been injured after joining City from Brondby in the summer and shown some good glimpses in defence and attack to for her new side.

Ellie Roebuck then made a brilliant full-stretch save to keep out Emilie Haavi’s free-kick late on in the game, but the game belonged to Manchester City Women and have their joy of making it through to their second successive Quarter-Finals being short-lived, as the match was marred by that injury to Megan Campbell in the second half.

The city now awaits their fate in the Quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League with trips abroad to possibly the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain and maybe even a tie against Chelsea still on the cards. 

 

CITY MAKE IT FIVE STRAIGHT TO GO TOP OF THE TABLE

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MANCHESTER CITY LADIES 4 – 0 BRISTOL CITY WOMEN

Manchester City Ladies moved to the top of the Women’s Super League table thanks to a 4-0 win over new-girls to the top-flight in Bristol City Women. City netted two goals in each half on route to their fifth straight win of the season, as the Blues continue their unbeaten start to the WSL this term. 

After Nick Cushing’s side won 5-0 in their Women’s Champions League clash at LSK Kvinner of Norway in midweek, it saw the Blues returning home to the glorious sunshine of Manchester and facing a Bristol City side that was much changed from the side they met last time out at the Academy Stadium a couple of years ago.

The last time the Vixens came up North to face the Champions it was a couple of seasons ago and saw the home side handing out a 6-1 hammering of the visiting side. Meetings between the sides haven’t been kind to Bristol at all in the last four games, as the Vixens have scored once compared to the City who have netted sixteen.

City made inroads inside the opening ten minutes of play when Izzy Christiansen was brought down inside the area and saw the midfielder stepping up to take the spot kick herself and put the hosts a goal up after 8 minutes gone. Steph Houghton nearly doubled the lead minutes later with a free kick, but Bristol keeper Sophie Baggerley got down very well to push the England and City captain’s effort away for a corner.

Despite City dominating the game and having just a goal to show wasn’t a true reflection of how the first half was being played out. England duo Jill Scott and Izzy Christiansen both had chances to increase the Citizens lead, but neither were able to make it count and saw the visiting side doing a good job to contain the home side as best as they could.

Former Bristol player Claire Emslie capped her first appearance against her former employees with a goal. It saw the Scottish midfielder doubling the lead on 37 minutes for the home side as Emslie made a trademark cut in from the left and put a curling effort in at the far post to beat Baggerly in the Bristol nets for 2-0.

The home side was cruising at two-nil up and saw the back line getting needlessly caught out a couple of times late on and needed England’s Under-17 goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck to make a couple of stops to preserve the 2-0 lead.

Roebuck then made the best save of the two moments before the halftime break, when Lauren Kemp got behind the defence and was clean through on goal but the City keeper used her legs to deny the Vixens forward and see teams heading to the locker room.

For the start of the second half, it saw both teams having chances, as firstly Baggerly made a good save from Jennifer Beattie to keep her side from going further behind and then had Hemp once again going one on one with the keeper and saw her putting her shot wide and was the best chance that Bristol created in the half.

City then made it 3-0 through an Abbie McManus strike, as some good build play between Mel Lawley and Jane Ross saw the ball being played back to the defender and have McManus firing into the top far corner and kill off Bristol’s faint hopes of getting back into the match.

Demi Stokes then got moved onto the wing and saw her having an immediate effect for the home side, as she bombed down the wing and put the visiting side in danger with a cross come shot and nearly caught out of the keeper. Jennifer Beattie then made it 4-0 on 87 minutes when a cross came in from her Scottish International teammate Claire Emslie and saw Beattie turning the defender inside out in the box, and then scored with a lovely finish.

Victory for the Blues and Chelsea being held 2-2 late on away at Reading meant that the champions moved two points clear at the top of the table, but there is a far long way to go yet and no one is thinking that far ahead quite yet. City Women now turn their attention to Thursday night when they play their second leg against LSK Kvinner in the Women’s Champions League tie.

PARRIS GOAL HELPS CITY TO AVOID A STICKY SITUATION AGAINST TOFFEES

manchester_city_2016 MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN   2 – 1  EVERTON LADIESeverton_fc_logo_introduced_2013

Manchester City’s Pocket-rocket Nikita Parris scored ten minutes from time to help maintain the defending champions 100% record in the WSL Continental Cup competition so far after the former Everton striker condemned her former employees to a 2-1 defeat at the City Academy Stadium on Bonfire night. 

The holders welcomed back goalkeeper Karen Bardsley to their starting line-up for the first time this season, after the England number one suffered a broken leg while playing for her country during the European Championships this past summer. For the blue half of Merseyside in Everton Ladies, it saw the return of ex-City starlet Georgia Brougham making her first trip back to the Academy Stadium since leaving to join the Toffees back in early 2016. 

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Nikita Parris goes close for City – PIC: ManCityWomen Twitter

With the game being played on Bonfire night, it saw City nearly starting off with a bang, as they came close to taking the lead in the 9th minute of the game when Nikita Parris ran onto a ball by Claire Emslie and saw her shot looking like it had been pushed away by Kirstie Levell in the Everton goal for a corner, but a goal kick was given. 

Parris then thought she had opened the scoring in the 13th minute, after the forward had put the ball in the back of the visitor’s net, but the flag had gone up prior to her netting for an offside against the home side and saw a long discussion between referee and linesman over the decision and resulted in a disallowed goal.

The visitors struggled to create much in the way of an attack in the first half and was limited to one shot in the first half from midfielder Claudia Walker as the Everton midfielder tried a hopeful long-range effort that saw easily dealt with by Karen Bardsley.

Steph Houghton had an effort that went wide of the target before the City captain then set up the opening goal of the game, as Houghton played a long floated ball into the Everton penalty area and Izzy Christansen guided the ball home to put the home side in front on 25 minutes. 

Everton’s backline stood firm for most of the game and saw the home side finding it hard to break down the Toffees defences with any clear-cut chances. Jennifer Beattie came close with a header from a Keira Walsh free kick that almost doubled City’s lead, but the Citizens went into the break 1-0 up. The second half saw the visiting side come out with a bit more of a spark to their play and weren’t afraid to have a go either. 

Jill Scott struck the bar for the hosts with a shot from outside the area early on and saw her 20-yard effort skimming the bar. City was starting to put Everton under a fair bit of trouble and despite heading controlling possession, they just weren’t able to make the most of it and was giving their opponents a hope of getting back into the game the longer it went on at 1-0.

Nikita Parris had another chance go begging for the home side when the striker blasted over the bar from inside the box and saw City becoming a bit wasteful with their goal scoring opportunities. Jennifer Beattie went close for the blues on 73 minutes as the Scottish defender put a header on goal and brought out a good save from Levell in the visitor’s goal to keep the home side out again.

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Izzy Christiansen and her teammates celebrate the opening goal – PIC: ManCityWomen Twitter

Everton then equalised through a header by Northern Ireland International Simone Magill on 77 minutes as the forward put home from a Chloe Kelly free-kick and saw the ball creeping in past Karen Bardsley to draw the visitors level. The home side very nearly replied instantly from a Jill Scott header, as a cross towards the far post was on the head of the Scott and her effort was superbly denied by a stunning point-blank save by Kirstie Levell. 

A couple minutes later, it saw a carbon copy of the Scott header from moments before but this time it saw Jill Scott put her header on goal and had teammate Nikita Parris making sure of the ball going in, as she nodded in from close range to restore the lead for the hosts and see the holders lead 2-1. 

Despite the away side being stubborn opposition for the Nick Cushing’s side, the home side always looked the likelier side to score again and when Parris tried to lob the keeper from 25-yards out, it saw Levell unsure where the ball was ending up and so was forced to tip the ball away for a corner.  

City closed the game out and made it two wins from two, but they didn’t have it their own way and the visitors took their one and only chance when it was presented to them and they made the home side forced to work for it.  

City leave it late to beat Birmingham

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MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN  3 – 1 BIRMINGHAM CITY LADIES 

Two penalties by England midfielder Izzy Christiansen and a header from Jennifer Beattie saw the champions leaving it late to beat a difficult Birmingham City Ladies side 3-1 at the Academy Stadium in the lunchtime kick-off on Sunday. Games between the two sides have always been very tight affairs over the past few seasons, and with the Women’s Cup Final being the exception to the rule, three of the last seven WSL (Women’s Super League) games have resulted in drawn games and even the victories for the Citizen have been close games as well.

Birmingham has always been a stubborn side for the top sides in the WSL and City have found that out on numerous occasions as well over the years. The visiting side came out and played a good brand of football and put the home side under stern pressure from the off. Rachel Williams had the games first effort of the game in the 4th minute of play when some good work by Jess Carter down the City right saw her playing the ball into the penalty area for Williams to get on to and have the striker stabbing the ball wide of the post.

Moments later, it saw the away side taking the lead through a Lucy Quinn goal with five- minutes gone in the game, after a comedy of errors by the home side saw them managing to overplay deep in their half and see a mix up with the defence and  keeper and give the visitors a great chance which they took. Rachel Williams then charged down an under-hit pass back towards Ellie Roebuck from Jennifer Beattie and saw Steph Houghton poorly attempted clearance going only as far Lucy Quinn, to which the striker curled an effort past Roebuck at the far post and despite the City keeper getting a hand to it, she couldn’t prevent the ball going in and put Birmingham one up.

The home side then had their first chance of the game on 12 minutes when former Birmingham player Mel Lawley put a lovely cross into the box for Jane Ross to get her head on, but sadly the Scottish striker could only head over the bar. Birmingham was doing a fine job of containing the home side and forcing them into hurried passes and seeing them make errors all over the pitch, with the City side second-guessing their teammates and leaving the ball for the other Sky Blue shirt to get the ball and saw the home fans getting annoyed and very frustrated with their side.

Keira Walsh then had a shot on goal from long-range that needed a good stop from Ann-Katrin Berger in the Brum goal to keep out the City Midfielders effort. Birmingham managed to get into some very dangerous positions in the first half, but they weren’t able to make it count and went into the halftime break leading through the Rachel Williams goal early on in the half. 

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City players celebrate Jennifer Beattie’s header late on – Pic: ManCityFacebook

Play in the second half was in keeping with the first as Birmingham continued to press their hosts at all times and nearly forced them into another mistake at the back when Jen Beattie again played a ball across the face of goal for Ellie Roebuck who was unaware of the goalscorer Lucy Quinn quickly closing her down, and the City keeper just managed to get enough to get the ball clear and have the home side breathing a huge sigh of relief. 

City boss Nick Cushing then made his first change of the game, as he brought off Jane Ross for her Scottish International teammate Claire Emslie, and she injected some pace to the hosts play with her up tempo attack play. The home side then had their first shot on goal in the half through Izzy Christiansen, after Jill Scott jumped on a loose ball outside the visitor’s penalty box and played in Christiansen but the midfielder fired her shot straight into the body of Berger and saw a chance go begging. 

Melissa Lawley was then replaced by Georgia Stanway as the home side looked in search of a way to break down the Birmingham City defences. The home side was creating the better chance in the second half and saw Jill Scott being the next City player to see her trying her luck, but the midfielder could only drag her shot wide of the goals after some very good build-up play involving Nikita Parris. The hosts then caught a break when Parris was fouled inside the area by Paige Williams, and it left the referee Helen Byrne with no choice but to immediately point to the spot and hand the home side a lifeline. 

Another former Birmingham player in Izzy Christiansen saw the England International stepping up to take the penalty and put it past Berger for 1-1 with 14 minutes left to play. Two minutes later saw the visitors beginning to unravel as Kerys Harrop was shown a straight red card for reacting to a hard challenge from Georgia Stanway and saw the Birmingham defender lashing out with a little kick and knee to the back of the City youngster while she was down, and saw her teammates pulling her to calm her down.

With the home side now having the numerical advantage for the remainder of the game, it saw the visiting side completely falling apart and from looking comfortable in the game they now found themselves desperately trying to hold on to what they had with City clearly on the front foot. Late in normal time, it saw a collision involving City captain Steph Houghton along with Birmingham’s Ann-Katrin Berger and her teammate Meaghan Sargeant, with all three colliding from a Christansen corner and had the keeper getting lengthy treatment from the incident. 

Berger the Birmingham goalkeeper, looked a bit worse for wear from the incident and saw the board going up at the ninety- minute mark and showing seven minutes of added time to be played. Hayley Ladd then put the ball out for a throw-in with Georgia Stanway battling the defender early into stoppage time, and that gave the home side the chance to use their secret weapon and long-throw specialist in Republic of Ireland’s Megan Campbell. Campbell then launched one of her trademark long throws in the Birmingham penalty area and had Jennifer Beattie first to make contact and saw her header beating the keeper to see give the home side all three points late on.

Manchester City took complete control of the game and saw them awarded a second penalty with literally the last kick of the game, after Abbie McManus sent a ball upfield and had Hayley Ladd completely missing the ball and that allowed Stanway to bear down on goal and was stopped by Berger who brought her down in the area for yet another City penalty and see the goalie picking up a yellow card. Izzy Christiansen then concluded proceedings with her second goal of the game from the penalty spot as Manchester City got out of jail to take all three points and record an unlikely win, as for 70 minutes of the contest they weren’t even in it. The win puts the Citizens level on points with Chelsea at the at the top of the WSL table and sees Nick Cushing’s side facing Everton Ladies next weekend.


 

Five-Star City see off Arsenal in thriller

manchester_city_2016  Manchester City Women  5 – 2  Arsenal Women Arsenal-FC-icon

Three second-half goals in the space of ten minutes saw Manchester City Women prevail in their Women’s Super League clash with Arsenal Women at the Academy Stadium after the league champions beat their title rivals 5-2 to maintain their 100% start to the season in the lunchtime kick-off. Both sides started with a win in their respective openers last weekend and saw this being a big game already, between two of the biggest sides in English Women’s Football of the modern era.

City started off the brighter of the two teams, with Nikita Parris going close with a curling effort inside ninety-seconds of the game but the England International saw Sarah van Veenendaal making the save for the visitors. The WSL champions have lost a couple of their big names players to some of Europe’s big names in recent months after Toni Duggan and more recently Lucy Bronze left for pastures new to Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais, despite the losses to the side, they still looked just as attacking and a constant menace to their opposition as they have done to side for the last few seasons. Arsenal’s first meaningful effort shot on goal, saw Heather O’Reilly dragging her shot wide of Ellie Roebucks’ goal in the 12th minute of play and sent a warning to the home side.    

Manchester Citys Jane Ross celebrates scoring against Arsenal A39O9685
Jane Ross gives City the lead against Arsenal – Pic ManCity.com

 

The visitors played with only ten players on the field at one point, as for a spell of at least five-minutes it saw the Gunners Lisa Evans taking a raised boot to the face off Nikita Parris and led to the Arsenal player getting treatment on touchline. One of the new signings this summer for Nick Cushing’s side is Scottish International Claire Emslie and after her impressive debut in City’s 4-0 win over Yeovil last week, it saw the new girl trying her luck from long range and have van Veenendaal making an easy save. Parris had another chance for the hosts midway through the first half when the visitors got caught out in defence by Jill Scott, and her ball was played into the path of the striker and was forced to shoot wide. Star of this summer’s European Championships for England in Jodie Taylor saw the striker almost breaking the deadlock minutes later in the game when the Gunners striker lobbed the ball over Ellie Roebuck and thankfully for City, the ball missed the target. 

Jane Ross scored the opening goal of the game in the 39th minute, as a great cross into the box by Abbie McManus saw the Scotland International turning the ball home at the near post to give City the lead and a deserved one for that. Arsenal kept coming at the home side and saw them not really troubling the City defence in truth, but when they did finally get behind the Blues defence it saw O’Reilly handling the ball in the area and picking up a yellow card.

As the half was winding down it looked like the teams would go into the break all square after a header from a Jordan Nobbs corner saw Arsenal back in the game at 1-1, but there was still time for more drama before the break. Nikita Parris then had an effort from outside the box beaten away by keeper Sarah van Veenendaal once again for a corner kick. From the resulting corner, it saw Claire Emslie putting the ball under the crossbar for the home side and have the keeper unable to claim in the air and have the ball falling nicely to former Gunner Steph Houghton, and the City captain fired home for a 2-1 half time lead.

Heather O’Reilly helped draw Arsenal level early in the second half, after a cross by Alex Scott saw a lack of communication between Steph Houghton and Ellie Roebuck in the City penalty area which saw the two jumping for the ball and had O’Reilly on hand to head it on goal and make it all-square. This coincided with the visitors having their best spell of the game so far and have Arsenal with their tails up and looking the much better side in the contest.

Izzy Christiansen then stretched out a leg to try and prod home a Claire Emslie cross for City, but yet again the Dutch keeper for Gunners was alert to the danger. Jordan Nobbs who scored a stunner to beat the Blues back in the spring series back in May, then saw her almost scoring another when O’Reilly passed back out towards Nobbs and saw her high curling effort striking the bar and forced City to scramble the ball away from danger. That seemed to be the wake-up call that the league champions needed to jolt them back into action and saw them battling back. 

The Citizens then led for the third time in the contest at the 70th minute mark through a Georgia Stanway goal to see the Blues going back in front at 3-2. It saw some nice build-up play from the home side in which Jill Scott played a nicely weighted ball between the two Arsenal central-defenders and then saw Stanway being quick to latch onto the pass and put it past van Veenendaal for the lead. Minutes later it saw Stanway nearly grabbing a second goal for herself, when the youngster saw her fierce shot well saved by the goalie and began to see the home side taking the wind out of the visitors’ sails with that third goal.

Arsenal contributed to their own downfall and saw Izzy Christiansen putting the nail in the coffin for the away side on 73 minutes, when Nobbs was dispossessed by the City midfielder in the middle of the park and had the England midfielder bearing down on goal and curl a low shot in the far post for a 4-2 lead. The game as a contest was effectively over now as the Arsenal side looked dejected and saw their hopes of a comeback all but come crashing down upon them after conceding that fourth City goal. In all honesty though, neither side really looked like their normal selves and in truth was mostly down to which side could cut out the most mistakes in their game would take victory.  

It seemed a double-edged sword really, as you could make the case that both teams weren’t playing at their best with the season still early in it’s infancy, but at the same time when they clicked it was a thing of beauty to watch. The latter could certainly have been used for City in the second half though, as the home side were dominant after the fourth goal went in and saw the home side hammering home their advantage from there on in. Jill Scott made it five with just over ten minutes of play left in the contest to go and saw a lovely team move, that started from the back and ended up with a lovely finish. Keira Walsh then sprayed the ball out wide to Claire Emslie on the wing and from there she played a nice ball ahead for Jill Scott, to which saw the City midfielder smashing the ball past the despairing dive of Sari van Veenendaal in the visitors net on the volley for 5-2.

The win sees the Blues remaining unbeaten and lying second but only on goal difference to rivals Chelsea, who haven’t yet conceded a goal in their two games to date. City travel to Austria next with a Women’s Champions League tie on Wednesday night against St Polten before facing the Everton Ladies next Saturday night in Widnes.


 

Duggan’s goal helps see off Chelsea on emotional night

manchester_city_2016 Manchester City Women  1-0  Chelsea Ladies 13

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. 

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City players wearing “We Love Manchester” T-Shirts.

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.

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Toni Duggan celebrates with Izzy Christiansen for City lead

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.

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Taken from BBC Sports