Manchester City Women started the defence of their title in fine form as they thrashed Blackburn Rovers 6-0 at the Academy Stadium. Mary Fowler and Julie Blakstad helped themselves to a brace each, while Hayley Raso and Vicky Losada weighed in with a goal apiece.
The blues beat Spurs 3-0 at the weekend going into the match against the Championship strugglers, and Wednesday night’s win was their third successive victory after starting the season with two straight defeats.
With a home match on Sunday against newly promoted Liverpool, manager Gareth Taylor made nine changes to the team that comfortably brought three points back from London on Sunday. Sandy McIver made her City debut, while Steph Houghton, Demi Stokes, Leila Ouahabi, Filippa Angeldahl, Losada, Raso, Blakstad and Fowler also started that match.
As expected, the blues dominated possession throughout and it was no surprise when City took the lead after just 16 minutes. Raso found enough space after a driving run into the penalty area to find the bottom corner in her first start of the season.
A Steph Houghton trademark freekick was saved by the visiting keeper and Dutch international Kerstin Casparji was denied her first City goal by the woodwork as the blues threatened to overrun their opponents.
The blues were given the opportunity to increase their lead seven minutes before the interval when Blakstad was brought down inside the penalty area. Fowler showed Riyad Mahrez how it’s done by coolly dispatching the spot-kick to make it 2-0.
Losada made it three on the stroke of half-time when Casparji and Esme Morgan combined to set up the Spaniard, who powered her header past a static Alex Brooks.
City continued to dominate the match after the break but had to wait until the 69th minute to make it 4-0. Losada’s flick over the defence found Fowler in space, and Mary didn’t need a second invite to get her second of the match.
Fowler could have had a hat-trick when she stole the ball off the Rovers defence inside their own area. But, instead of shooting, the Australian star squared to substitute Jemima Dahou, who saw her shot blocked.
Blakstad then took over the goalscoring responsibilities, scoring two in three minutes to finish the thrashing. Her first came when debutant Marley-Paraskevas threaded the ball to the Norwegian with pinpoint accuracy, giving Blakstad the simple task of tapping home the fifth. Two minutes later, she was on hand again to score from close range as City made up the goal difference on Liverpool in just one night.
The blues face the reds on Sunday and could enter the top four with a win and results elsewhere go their way.
Final score: Manchester City Women 6-0 Blackburn Rovers Ladies