Man City Women ended their 2018/19 home season with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Yeovil Town Ladies, top scorer Nikita Parris getting on the scoresheet as well as Lauren Hemp who put in a brilliant performance for the Blues.
However City started on the back foot as almost immediately, Yeovil broke from a Keira Walsh mistake, Emily Donovan intercepting the pass to play in Megan Alexander who ran down the left wing before crossing into the area. Steph Houghton slipped as she tried to clear the ball away and it fell to Olivia Fergusson, the forward playing a give and go sequence with Rachel McLauchlan before sending a shot goal-wards, Ellie Roebuck guessing right but narrowly missing the effort that went into the back of the net.
The home side then took control of possession but a couple of minutes later, Walsh gave the ball away under pressure from Bonnie Horwood, the Yeovil midfielder finding McLauchlan with the former Hibernian player sending a low shot along the ground that went wide.
Pauline Bremer, who was making only her eighth appearance this season, played through Parris and the forward was almost through on goal but Megan Walsh came off her line to save it with her feet before Ellie Mason cleared it away. Alexander and Abbie McManus chased the ball down with the City defender winning the free kick which Megan Campbell stepped up to take, her left footed cross nearly connecting with the arriving Gemma Bonner but the ball went wide.
A ball out wide from Parris for Claire Emslie was collected by the Scot and she made a run down the right wing before playing a ball into the path of Bremer, but the German couldn’t finish and her skewed effort went behind.
Fifteen minutes in the Blues won a corner and with Emslie stepping up to swing the ball into the area, Bonner making the run again but it was cleared by Georgia Evans, falling to Georgia Stanway but her shot went well over the crossbar.
City found a way back into the game when they were awarded a penalty, Lauren making a run in behind the defence under pressure from Charlotte Buxton and was tripped by the defender. Parris stepped up to take the spot kick and sent the ball into top left corner, keeper Megan Walsh diving the right way but not in time to stop Parris putting the Blues level. Following the equaliser, the home side ramped up the pressure with McManus playing through Emslie, the forward cutting inside to the edge of the box to set up a shot on her left foot but the keeper was equal to it. A minute later Claire made a run down the line to collect another pass from Abbie, Pauline collecting the cross and playing in Hemp who ran almost the by-line to force Walsh into a good reaction save.
The visitors gave away a corner just before half time, Emslie sending the ball in with Gemma Bonner getting her head to the ball but Walsh saved it, Yeovil winning themselves a corner down the other end after Ellie made a good save with her foot to keep out Syme, Horwood taking the set piece which was eventually cleared by a header from Abbie and then Parris in the last major action of the half.
The home side started better in the second half, Hemp once again winning a corner off Buxton and Claire sending the ball in but Nikita’s header went wide and five minutes later, Pauline’s effort was stopped by Walsh; Lauren also forcing a good save from the keeper at her near post. A corner taken just after the hour mark by substitute Caroline Weir was headed away by Rachel McLauchlan, with Hemp picking it up and playing a one touch sequence with Steph, the youngster getting a cross in from the wing; McManus putting it behind.
City went ahead in the sixty fifth minute when Keira Walsh played Nikita down the wing, the forward sending a cross in which Lauren rose the highest to meet and put a powerful header past Megan Walsh, putting the Blues 2-1 up with a very deserving goal following a brilliant performance by the youngster.
With just under twenty minutes to go, sub Tessa Wullaert caught Yeovil sub Monique Fischer and referee Richard Aspinall awarded a free kick, Hannah Short sending the ball in only for Houghton to put the ball behind for a corner. Megan Alexander stepped up this time, Short getting her head to it with Wullaert clearing any further danger but sub Ann-Marie Heatherson won it back off Lauren and sent a ball in for Emily Syme to head straight at Roebuck.
Houghton had the chance to make it two free kicks in both meetings against Yeovil this season when Steph played in Nikita, the forward tackled by McLauchlan winning the free kick which Houghton took, Walsh catching the ball but fumbling it slightly before getting a firm grip.
Caroline had a shot cleared and Georgia Stanway bought the ball down well, chipping it over the defence but none of her teammates made the run however it took a deflection and went behind for a corner. Weir stepped up and her cross was met by the head of Gemma Bonner, but like the defender’s other efforts of the game, it was collected by Megan Walsh.
The PFA Awards that followed the game and took place in London, saw several Blues players nominated for awards.
Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh were nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year alongside Bristol’s Sophie Baggaley, Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert, West Ham’s Alisha Lehmann and Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal while Walsh, captain Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris were up for the PFA Player’s Player of the Year with Cuthbert, Miedema and Ji So-Yun; also of Chelsea.
Stanway walked away with the Young POTY while Miedema took Player’s Player, with Steph also receiving the PFA Merit Award.
Not only did City come away with trophies from the awards, Houghton, Parris and Demi Stokes were named in the PFA WSL Team of the Year alongside Baggaley, Miedema, Ji, Cuthbert, Hannah Blundell of Chelsea, Aoife Mannion of Birmingham City and Arsenal’s Kim Little and Lia Wälti.
City Women head down to Wembley on Saturday to take on West Ham United Women in the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final. Kick off is at 17:30pm and will be shown live on BBC One, tickets are still available and City providing free coach travel to those who wish to go; more details will be released soon.
Man City Women
Ellie Roebuck, Gemma Bonner, Steph Houghton ©, Pauline Bremer (Tessa Wullaert 58’), Georgia Stanway, Lauren Hemp, Nikita Parris, Megan Campbell, Claire Emslie (Caroline Weir 57’), Abbie McManus (Esme Morgan 66’) and Keira Walsh
Subs (not used): Karen Bardsley, Fran Stenson, Demi Stokes and Janine Beckie
Goals: Parris 30’ and Hemp 65’
Yeovil Town Ladies
Megan Walsh, Megan Alexander, Emily Syme (Charlie Taylor 83’), Hannah Short, Olivia Fergusson, Bonnie Horwood, Ellie Mason, Emily Donovan (Monique Fischer 68’), Charlotte Buxton (Ann-Marie Heatherson 56’), Georgia Evans and Rachel McLauchlan
Subs (not used): Bethany-May Howard, Amy Goddard, Nicola Cousins and Erin Bloomfield
Goals: Fergusson 1’
MCWFC POTM: Lauren Hemp
Referee: Richard Aspinall