Manchester City Women crushed Brighton to move third in the WSL table. Caroline Weir and Steph Houghton bagged a brace each and further goals from Ellen White, Chloe Kelly and Janine Beckie sealed a comprehensive win for the blues, who are now five points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand.
The blues went into the match on the back of a disappointing 4-2 home defeat to Chelsea in the Continental Cup on Wednesday, but their last WSL outing saw them hammer Aston Villa 7-0 at the Academy Stadium to extend their unbeaten league run to six matches.
Brighton claimed a point when the two met in September, with visiting keeper Megan Walsh in inspired form to deny the blues the three points and are the only team to prevent City from scoring this season. Walsh was on the bench on Sunday, while Ellie Roebuck returned to the City line up to make her first start of 2021.
And it was the returning Weir, who was also making her first start of 2021, who put City into a commanding lead with just 16 minutes on the clock. Her first came in the 12th minute after Georgia Stanway released Kelly down the right. Her low cross found Weir on the edge of the six-yard box and she calmly slotted home to give City the lead.
Four minutes later, Weir was on the scoresheet again after a flowing move from City ended with the second goal. Keira Walsh’s pass found Weir, who went past her marker and played a brilliant one-two with Lauren Hemp before lashing home with her left foot.
Brighton must have feared a City rampage in the same style as last weekend, but a third goal didn’t arrive until four minutes before half-time. Alex Greenwood’s corner was flicked on by White and bundled into the goal by Houghton to send City in 3-0 up at the break.
Thirteen minutes into the second half and City made it 4-0. The ever-impressive Chloe Kelly charged forward and her ball into the box was flicked home by White for her sixth goal of the season.
City were in the mood for more and three minutes later, Houghton scored her second. The blues were awarded a free kick outside the penalty area, and the captain curled the ball over the wall and into the goal off the underside of the bar.
Brighton did get some consolation by scoring their first goal against the blues. Laura Coombs’ poor backpass allowed Rianna Jarrett to race forward and fire past Roebuck to make it 5-1. But any hopes of a spectacular comeback were dashed four minutes later when Kelly got the goal her performance deserved.
City passed the ball between them on the edge of the penalty area, before Coombs made up for her earlier error and played in Kelly, who drove the ball beyond the reach of the keeper to make it 6-1.
And the rout was completed in the 77th minute when substitute Janine Beckie scored City’s seventh of the game, and it was Kelly again the provider. The former Everton striker raced away down the right and completed her hat-trick of assists by squaring to Beckie, who rifled the ball into the roof of the net.
It was City’s seventh league game without defeat and the seventh win of the season! Next up, the blues face West Ham at the Academy Stadium.
Final Score: Brighton Women 1-7 Manchester City Women