Wednesday night saw Man City Women beat Sheffield United 6-0 in the Continental Cup and Janine Beckie score four goals; her first for the Blues.
City started well as Keira Walsh’s long ball connected with Pauline Bremer, the forward returning from a long term injury, as Blades captain Ellie Gilliatt cleared behind for a corner. With regular corner taker Caroline Weir missing, Claire Emslie stepped up but her cross missed everyone and rolled out for a Sheffield throw in.
Forwards Beckie and Emslie played a one touch sequence before City’s number 22 lost out to Sheffield defender Nicole Kemp, the Blades player sending the ball up the pitch but could only find Gemma Bonner.
Georgia Stanway won back possession from FA Women’s Championship POTM nominee Sophie Barker and attempted a shot on goal but former Blue Alex Brooks saved comfortably.
A minute or so later, Bonner intercepted Sophie Jones’s free kick, the defender playing Stanway through but this time her shot went wide.
Walsh was involved again as she played it wide to Esme Morgan, the youngster passing to Emslie who’d made the overlapping run. The Scotland international also tried her luck on goal but Brooks was equal to the forward’s curling shot and saved it.
Emslie then had her pass cleared by Kemp seconds later, as Morgan crossed in to Pauline Bremer, the forward’s effort heading agonisingly wide of the post. Morgan picked up Brooks’s goal kick, City playing it around at the back before Claire’s cross was missed by Beckie and cleared by Sam Tierney. The former Doncaster defenders efforts were not enough as the ball fell straight to Janine and the Canadian poked it home for her first City goal.
Captain Steph Houghton’s long ball found Bremer, the forward passing to youngster Jess Park before Walsh’s long pass went too far and Brooks claimed.
Esme and Janine combined as the forward ran on the wing, playing through Morgan who had cut inside, the defender’s pass finding Georgia Stanway under pressure from former Blues development player Alethea Paul. Stanway passed back to Park and a few moves later, Jess’s cross from wide was cleared by Jones and Tierney before Jones’s pass fell to Abbie McManus. Georgia collected it and Keira passed wide to Emslie; Sheffield winning a throw in.
City went two nil up six minutes after their first goal, Pauline collecting Esme’s long pass and forcing a save from Brooks. Youngster Jess Park then pounced on the ball and put it into the back of the net from close range for her first senior goal.
Gilliatt stepped up to take a free kick for the visitors after Stanway committed a foul on Paul, Georgia lucky not to have been booked for her high foot as the Sheffield captain’s set piece fired straight at Karen Bardsley.
On the twenty minute mark, referee Helen Colney awarded the Blues a free kick, Jones fouling Stanway with the forward playing it short to Abbie before receiving it again; Tierney winning possession. Beckie then dispossessed Sophie Barker, playing in Georgia with the City number 12’s through ball finding Bremer; her shot saved.
Minutes later, Pauline would have another chance as Jess Park played it wide to McManus, the defender finding Stanway, her long pass for Bremer was misjudged by the German and Alex Brooks picked it up.
A City corner taken by Claire caused panic in the box as the twenty four year old attempted to curl the ball on, Ellie Gilliatt eventually clearing an effort off the line before Brooks collected. Less than half a minute later, the Blues had their third goal of the night thanks to Jess Park pressurising Gilliatt for the ball and feeding through Janine Beckie. The Canadian capitalised on Brooks being slightly off her line and cooly sent the ball into the back of the net.
Sheffield had a spell of possession just before the half hour mark and used it wisely, Sophie Jones sending a long ball down the pitch for Jade Pennock, her cross finding only Bardsley.
City then broke from the following goal kick, Emslie, Esme and Keira Walsh linking up well, the latter playing a long ball wide for Abbie McManus, the defender’s first time cross met by Pauline however her low effort went wide of the post.
Walsh played another ball wide for McManus and despite the fact it looked to be going out, Abbie sprinted to get there ahead of Kemp before passing back inside to Jess Park. The youngster saw the overlapping run of Beckie and laid it off to her, Janine’s cross bouncing off Sam Tierney for a Blues corner. Claire stepped up and her cross met Steph Houghton, Gilliatt clearing off the line again much to the frustration of the City fans.
The Blades then broke with Nicole Kemp playing in Tania Marsden, the forward beating Keira and getting a cross in; Bardsley coming to claim.
With five minutes of normal time, Sheffield won themselves a corner following a free kick, Alethea Paul sending the ball in only for Pauline Bremer to clear away and Jess Park to pick it up. The young forward made a great run, playing in Emslie before she cut it back to Gemma Bonner, the defender sending it long for Georgia Stanway.
Stanway’s ball found Bremer, Jess Park picking it up and playing in Walsh, the midfielder’s ball finding the German but she was called offside.
City could have had a fourth before half time as Pauline’s header fell to Janine, her long range effort stinging the palms of Alex Brooks, the keeper dropping the ball as Bremer was arriving but the former Blue did well to keep hold of it.
Half time saw both Nick Cushing and Carla Ward make substitutions, Pauline Bremer and Tania Marsden making way for Mie Jans and Veatricki Sarri.
Jans got involved quickly and blocked Sarri’s cross, clearing the ball to Jess who played in a lovely ball to Beckie, the forward taking advantage of Brooks being off her line as she rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into an empty net; completing her hat trick.
Abbie McManus, who had moved to midfield following Jans’s introduction, lost possession to seventeen years old Beth Ibbotson, the Blades playing it around at the back. Sam Tierney played through former Aston Villa player Beth Merrick, the forward launching one from range but Karen Bardsley made a comfortable save to deny the visitors.
Seconds after, captain Ellie Gilliatt tackled Georgia Stanway and the ball went out for a Blues corner, Claire Emslie’s cross meeting Gemma Bonner’s head; her shot going wide.
Sam Tierney felled Stanway in the box just a minute later, the defender lucky not to get booked for dissent with the City forward stepping up to slot the ball into the bottom right and give the home side their fifth of the evening.
Claire Emslie, who was played through by honorary captain Keira Walsh, lost out to Sophie Barker and Jade Pennock, the midfielder sending the ball wide for Veatriki Sarri. Her long pass found Merrick, the Blades having a spell of possession before Jess Park won the ball back, the youngster playing through Janine; the Canadian misjudging the pass.
Substitute Lauren Hemp brought down Stanway’s pass beautifully and played through Emslie, the Scotland forward having a shot goal wards; firing straight at Brooks.
With just under twenty minutes to go, the Blues were awarded a free kick, Claire swinging the ball into Hemp; the youngsters header going wide. The home side could have had a fifth when Emslie’s corner was sent towards the box, Gilliatt and Brooks clearing before Esme Morgan’s header was too saved by the keeper. However, City didn’t have long to wait as seconds later, Hemp nutmegging a defender to play through Jess Park, the youngster finding Beckie who netted her fourth of the night and City’s sixth.
The win sees the Blues stay top of the Group One North table, sitting on eleven points with Birmingham City Women in second. Man City Women play Marc Skinner’s side next in what will be the Blues last home game of 2018. Kick off is 12:15pm on December 9th, with the tickets still on sale to watch the battle for second in the WSL, plus if you can’t make it, the game is BT Sport.
Man City Women
Karen Bardsley, Gemma Bonner, Steph Houghton © (Lauren Hemp 58’), Pauline Bremer (Mie Jans 46’), Janine Beckie, Georgia Stanway (Tessa Wullaert 66’), Esme Morgan, Jess Park, Claire Emslie, Abbie McManus and Keira Walsh
Subs (not used): Ellie Roebuck, Jen Beattie, Nadia Nadim and Nikita Parris
Goals: Beckie 8’, 25’, 49’, 78’, Park 14’ and Stanway (PEN) 52’
Sheffield United Women
Alex Brooks, Sophie Barker, Sam Tierney, Jade Pennock, Nicole Kemp (Autumn Housley 85’), Ellie Gilliatt ©, Sophie Jones, Alethea Paul (Izzy Ford 54’), Tania Marsden (Veatricki Sarri 46’), Beth Merrick and Beth Ibbotson
Subs (not used): Lauren Joyce and Jodie Hartley
MCWFC OSC POTM: Janine Beckie
Referee: Helen Colney