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.
Photo Credit – Man City.com