The Blues once again asserted their dominance on Group One North as Nick Cushing’s side beat Bristol City Women 3-0 in the Continental Cup on Sunday.
City already had five points and sat at the top of the group going into this game and within a few minutes they had already shown their intent to stay there when Claire Emslie was repeatedly played through on the right hand side by Steph Houghton and Gemma Bonner.
The Scot managed to get a cross in but it was cut out by former Man City development player Poppy Pattinson, rewarding the Blues with a corner, taken by Caroline Weir but eventually heading over to the far touchline.
Emslie seemed to be the target with City playing the forward through, Claire once again having a shot blocked for a corner; also cleared by Bristol. This seemed to be the order of the day for the first fifteen minutes as Bristol blocked the visitors from getting Emslie down the wing and clearing any balls that came into the area.
Keira Walsh sent a ball over the top looking for Nadia Nadim but the Danish international was ruled offside, much to the frustration of the forward. City then started from the back with Jen Beattie sent the ball to Lauren Hemp on the left wing, the former Bristol City player getting the ball across to Nadim, who set up Georgia Stanway for one of her trademark shot from the edge of the box. The Under-20 international’s shot was seen agonisingly inches away from goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley’s goal.
Steph Houghton showed great skill in getting the ball to Emslie, who was still having trouble running down the right wing, the forward able to get a cross in before Welsh international Gemma Evans cleared for a corner.
Beattie’s throw ins found Hemp both times and the U20 international went up against new Bristol captain Loren Dykes and Belgian international Julie Biesmans respectively, playing Nadim through on goal; Baggaley collecting the ball. The Vixens then made a breakaway as Dykes played through Poppy Wilson, who cut down the right but her efforts couldn’t give the home side the lead. Houghton took advantage of the Bristol players being high up the pitch and ran forward, her cross stinging Sophie Baggaley’s palms as the keeper collected.
As Biesmans played a back pass, Nadia Nadim was applying pressure, winning back the ball and playing through Tessa Wullaert; her effort being pushed wide for a corner. Bristol made a quick counter attack, Wilson and new signing Juliette Kemppi linking up well before Houghton managed to win back possession.
Lauren Hemp was disposed by Dykes and Kemppi took the throw in for the home side, Weir collecting the ball and teeing up Stanway for another shot on goal; this one saved by Baggaley. After a stop in play for treatment on Jess Woolley, Stanway brought the ball down beautifully from Baggaley’s goal kick, striding goal-wards but shooting wide.
In her first appearance of the 2018-19 season, Ellie Roebuck had little to do in either halves, the U20 goalkeeper seeing Katie Rood’s cross over and watching Houghton clear the ball.
Returning from the break, City applied some early pressure to the Vixens when they were awarded two corners in quick succession, the first being cleared by Evans resulting in the second which had too much pace on it and headed over everyone.
Another set piece a few minutes later saw Beattie’s header go wide, Gemma Bonner getting a head to the following goal kick, Stanway, Hemp and Nadim all getting a touch on the ball before Emslie cut inside from the right and curved the ball goal-wards. Gemma Evans attempted to clear the shot but ended up heading the ball into the back of her own net; giving the Blues the lead in the 52nd minute.
Thirteen minutes later, Emslie was brought down in the box by Pattinson and City were awarded a penalty. Nadim stepped up to take and buried the ball into the back of Baggaley’s net putting City 2-0 up.
Cushing then made his first substitution of the day with Keira Walsh coming off for Janine Beckie, the Canadian getting involved in the game almost immediately, playing some lovely link up play with Nadim. Stanway, who seems to have taken on a deeper role this season, passed to Nadim who sent the ball into the box and towards Hemp, whose header was eventually cleared by Evans. City’s backline had a scary moment when Woolley broke through, running goal-wards but Roebuck was there to comfortably save the shot.
Roebuck played her part in City’s third goal, when she played the ball out Beattie, Hemp and Beckie linking up before the dual Canadian-American citizen sent a cross towards Stanway. Nadim, Wullaert and the goal-scorer herself all took touches on the ball before Nadim sent it back out to Weir who fired the ball into the back of Baggaley’s net; the Bristol keeper unable to do anything. Neither the Blues or the Vixens had many more shots on goal and City came away from the South West with three points to add to their five already on the board.
Speaking to mancity.com about her first City goal, Weir said “It’s always nice to score, but that goal especially as it was my first for City. It’s nice to score for the team but most importantly it’s great to get the three points as that’s what matters”.
“I love picking the ball up on the edge of the area and if I can get a shot away then that’s what I try to do so I’m delighted with that, and even more delighted with the team’s performance”.
“Bristol made it really difficult for us in the first half and we knew that they would sit behind the ball a bit so we knew we had to break them down. Once we got the first goal we could relax a little bit and enjoy having the ball, plus it was great to get another two”.
Other results from the day’s Group One fixtures include Birmingham City Women beating Sheffield United Women 2-0 with goals from Lucy Staniforth and Shania Hayles and Aston Villa Ladies beating Leicester City Women 1-0 with the goal coming from Kerri Welsh.
Man City play Everton Ladies away in the FA WSL on Thursday 20th September at the Merseyrail Community Stadium. Kick off is 7pm and if you can’t make it, the game is being streamed via the FA WSL’s Facebook page.
Bristol City Women:
Sophie Baggaley, Loren Dykes ©, Gemma Evans, Frankie Brown, Danique Kerkdijk, Poppy Pattinson, Juliette Kemppi, Katie Rood (Ali Johnson 56’), Poppy Wilson (Carla Humphrey 56’), Julie Biesmans and Jess Woolley (Heather Payne 80’).
Subs (not used): Aimee Watson and Ella Rutherford.
Man City Women:
Ellie Roebuck, Gemma Bonner (Esme Morgan 74’), Jen Beattie, Steph Houghton ©, Nadia Nadim, Georgia Stanway, Lauren Hemp, Caroline Weir, Claire Emslie, Keira Walsh (Janine Beckie 65’) and Tessa Wullaert.
Subs (not used): Karen Bardsley, Mel Lawley, Nikita Parris and Abbie McManus.
Goal scorers: Evans 52’ (OG), Nadim 65’ (pen) and Weir 72’.
MCWFC OSC POTM: Claire Emslie
Referee: Savvas Yianni