City started on the attacking side of things, Tessa Wullaert putting pressure on Simone Magill, the Belgian playing in Lauren Hemp who took on her marker and ran to the touchline; Angharad James forcing Hemp to put the ball out.
Pressure on Dan Turner from Jill Scott forced the Everton player out wide, Turner finding Dutch international Inessa Kaagman under pressure from Keira Walsh. Turner received it back and took a shot on goal which was blocked by Walsh, Janine Beckie taking advantage of the loose ball and running down the pitch, beating Megan Finnigan and taking a low shot on goal; Kirstie Levell saving comfortably.
An early corner for the visitors was taken by James, Ellie Roebuck coming out to punch the ball away, James collecting and sending a cross back into the area, Megan Campbell getting a head to it before Chaney Boye-Hlorkah shot was deflected shot went behind. The following set piece was again taken by James with everybody missing the cross, Beckie dispossessing captain Gabby George, the defender putting the ball out for a City throw. Everton went ahead shortly afterwards, Boye-Hlorkah taken advantage of a miscommunication in the Blues box, Roebuck losing possession to the Everton forward as she tucked it away to give the Toffees an early lead.
The home side weren’t going to be defeated that easily as a free kick by Claire Emslie saw Beckie’s header only kept out of the net by a fingertip save from Kirstie Levell. The resulting corner was swung in by Emslie but it went over the heads of both City and Everton players, Campbell picking it up and playing it around for a better angle, Steph Houghton’s wide cross going behind for a goal kick.
Around the fifteen minute mark Emslie stepped up take another corner, Houghton getting her head to the ball however Levell was once again equal to it and saved her effort.
A long ball from Kaagman was watched out by Steph, Roebuck’s goal kick met by the heads of Jill and Abbey-Leigh Stringer with Kaagman collecting and Magill playing through Turner, her shot going behind for a goal kick. Claire did well to win the ball back from George, Houghton’s long ball collected by her counterpart on the opposition, the Scot playing through Lauren who made a brilliant run into the box closely marked; cutting it back only for Levell to collect.
A mistake from Megan saw James play in Boye-Hlorkah, the forward receiving the ball in plenty of space before finding Simone Magill, Jill putting the Irish midfielder under pressure and forcing her to go back to Emma Brownlie.
Esme Morgan played a lovely ball down the line for Claire, the forward using her pace to beat George and cross into Lauren, Emslie making the run to receive it from her only to be tackled by James. The Blues following corner was cleared originally by Jill out to Janine, Emslie sending a cross back into the area with Hemp slotting home however it was called back for offside.
The home side kept the pressure up before half time with Hemp playing it out wide to Keira Walsh, who’d made the overlapping run close to the touchline, the midfielder cutting inside a little and sending in an absolutely lovely curling shot that went agonisingly the wrong side of the post. Everton broke quickly as Chaney Boye-Hlorkah dispossessed Walsh and sent a shot goal-wards that was watched behind by Roebuck, the goalkeeper then called into action as Magill won the ball off Campbell and played in Kaagman; Everton’s number eight sending a shot straight at Ellie in the last action of the half.
Nick Cushing’s side came back out and started with a substitution as Abbie McManus returning from a small injury; came on in place of Megan Campbell.
Demi Stokes’s throw was collected by Beckie and the forward made a run into the area however Georgia Brougham was there to clear out as far as Houghton, the defender collecting under pressure from Boye-Hlorkah. Emslie received the ball out wide and played in Hemp, her shot blocked by Gabby George with Walsh collecting and sending her powerful effort from range into the back of Levell’s net to give City the equaliser.
The Blues went ahead nearly ten minutes later as Lauren’s strike from range was deflected behind giving the home side a corner, Emslie taking the set piece following an Everton substitution and sending a lovely ball into the box. Beckie arrived at the back post and popped up to send a beautifully weighted header into the net to put City 2-1 up.
Keira Walsh’s long ball found Lauren and she managed to beat substitute Siri Worm twice, playing in Claire but the forward lost out to Abbey-Leigh Stringer.
The visitors came close to pulling back an equaliser just past the hour mark when Boye-Hlorkah’s cross was met by Inessa Kaagman, the midfielder’s header just skimming the bar and going over much to the relief of the City fans.
A corner for Everton was taken short by Welsh international James to Emma Brownlie, the Scot getting the ball in only for Simone Magill to send it back out to Kaagman; Jill blocking her effort. Magill then won possession back off substitute Caroline Weir before the midfielder won it back only to lose out to James, Demi eventually clearing any danger by sending the ball up the pitch.
A run from Tessa Wullaert was spotted by Abbie McManus, the defender playing her through with Tessa doing well to stay on her feet despite a push in the back from Worm. Sub Nikita Parris collected the pass from Wullaert on the wing and made it all the way to the touchline while Worm was putting her under pressure and eventually the Dutch defender out it behind. Weir stepped up to take the corner and sent it in onto the head of Steph Houghton, Lauren Hemp getting a touch before substitute Taylor Hinds cleared; Wullaert’s strike from range going wide.
With ten minutes to go Parris’s shot on goal resulted in another corner, Caroline’s cross connecting with McManus’s head and Jill Scott sending the ball back in for Hemp; the forward’s shot deflected behind. Caroline stepped up again and her cross resulted in a scramble in the box, Brougham shielding the ball from former teammate Scott allowing Kirstie Levell to collect.
In the last five minutes of the game, Everton were denied another goal twice as Inessa Kaagman’s shot from range went narrowly over the bar and then Chaney Boye-Hlorkah’s header was kept out following a magnificent fingertip save from Ellie Roebuck. The Toffees following corner was headed away by Steph Houghton and the Blues broke on the counter attack, Wullaert finding the run of Keira Walsh with the midfielder playing through Caroline Weir. The twenty three year old played through Nikita Parris with a neat little backheel the forward passing into Lauren but her powerful effort went wide of the goal.
The defensive work wasn’t over for the home side yet as a free kick, given away by Jill Scott and taken by Kaagman, the Dutch’s effort firing straight at Roebuck.
In the final minute of time City were awarded a corner with Caroline sending the ball into the area, Brougham cleared and Tessa’s follow up shot was blocked by Kaagman, Houghton getting back to cover the run of Megan Finnigan. Ellie, who had set up the three pass goal against Brighton, was at it again as this time she found Weir with a beautiful ball to the attacking midfielder, Caroline playing through Nikita who chipped the keeper and put the game to bed.
Man City Women take on Arsenal Women in the Continental Cup Final on Saturday 23rd February at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane. There are only a few tickets left if you want to attend but if you can’t the game is being shown on BT Sport 1; kick off 12:15pm.
Man City Women
Ellie Roebuck, Demi Stokes, Steph Houghton ©, Jill Scott, Janine Beckie (Nikita Parris 71’), Esme Morgan, Lauren Hemp, Megan Campbell (Abbie McManus 46’), Claire Emslie (Caroline Weir 68’), Keira Walsh and Tessa Wullaert
Subs (not used): Karen Bardsley, Gemma Bonner, Jen Beattie and Pauline Bremer
Goals: Walsh 47’, Beckie 55’ and Parris 90’
Kirstie Levell, Danielle Turner, Georgia Brougham, Gabby George © (Siri Worm 54’), Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, Inessa Kaagman, Simone Magill, Angharad James, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Megan Finnigan and Emma Brownlie (Taylor Hinds 72’)
Subs (not used): Becky Flaherty, Faye Bryson and Dominique Bruinenberg
Goals: Boye-Hlorkah 12’
MCWFC OSC POTM: Keira Walsh
Referee: Elizabeth Simms