Ellen White scored a late goal for Manchester City Women as the blues twice came back from losing positions to win a five-goal encounter with Birmingham City.
Christie Murray had given the home side the lead from the penalty spot, but Georgia Stanway levelled six minutes later with a stunning finish. Louise Quinn put Birmingham back in front before Lauren Hemp levelled, leaving White to become he match winner in the final minutes.
It was City’s first game since the international break, and the blues were looking for back-to-back victories in the WSL for the first time this season. The blues have endured a torrid first half of the season, but beat Aston Villa 5-0 at the Academy Stadium in November. Birmingham had won a solitary point, having lost eight of their nine fixtures so far, and are only second from bottom due to Leicester having a worse run of results.
City were without Keira Walsh and Janine Beckie due to testing positive for Covid-19, and Deni Stokes, Jill Scott and Jess Park also missed the match, and Lucy Bronze’s long-awaited return to the City after test and trace forced her to withdraw. Alanna Kennedy, Ruby Mace, Laura Coombs, and Hayley Raso came into the side, and so depleted was City’s squad that manager Gareth Taylor could only name two substitutes, and the manager will be looking forward to the day when he has a full squad to choose from.
But it was White, who was making her first appearance since breaking the England goal-scoring record, who came closest to opening the scoring in the 4th minute. Raso’s cross was mis-handled by Hourihan in the home goal and White pounced, only to see her shot hit the foot of the post.
City looked in the mood, but despite the blues forcing the keeper into a double save, it was Birmingham who took the lead. Kennedy upended Veatriki Sarri in the penalty area, and Christie Murray fired past Taieb to give the home support something to smile about.
In previous matches when going behind, City’s heads have dropped, but this afternoon, the blues made a fight of it, and were level within six minutes. Stanway drove forward before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
It was no more than City deserved, and was a just reward as they had been the more dominant up to Birmingham scoring.
However, the old defensive frailties came back to haunt the blues as Birmingham retook the lead. The blues failed to clear their lines from a Birmingham free-kick and Quinn poked home to leave City with all the hard work to do again.
And five minutes later, the teams were all square again as Lauren Hemp beat both Hourihan and defender Harriet Scott to head home Raso’s cross for her fourth goal of the season, and send the teams in level at the break.
The second half was devoid of many chances. While both teams pressed for the goal which would surely win the match for either side, there wasn’t many clear-cut chances. Libby Smith had a chance to put the home side in front for a third time, but chose instead to blaze her shot over the bar, and the stage was left for White to win the match for City.
Bunny Shaw, who was a 73rd minute replacement for Raso, was the provider, with White hammering home after Shaw created the chance down the right wing.
That goal secured the three points for the blues, who move up to 6th in the table and sit just two points of a Champions League place.
The blues entertain Reading Women next Sunday with a 2pm kick-off, and will need to be wary of the threat by the Berkshire club, who beat Chelsea 1-0 on Saturday.
Final Score: Birmingham Women 2-3 Manchester City Women