Manchester City Women won their eighth consecutive match as they beat Brighton 3-1 at the Academy Stadium. An own goal by Veatriki Sarri was added to by Julie Blakstad and Laura Coombs in a blistering first half-hour that threatened to blow the visitors away. However, the only goal that was added in the contest was a strike by Lee Geum-min in the final minute that gave the visitors a little respectability in the scoreline.
The blues needed the points after the top three all won their respective matches on Saturday and manager Gareth Taylor made five changes to the one that beat Sunderland last weekend. Chloe Kelly, Kerstin Casparij, Laia Aleixandri and Deyna Castellanos joined Coombs back in the starting line-up on a cold day at the Academy Stadium.
And the chilly temperatures may have got to City a little in the opening stages as the visitors went close in the opening minutes. City quickly settled and began piling the pressure on the Brighton defence, with Kelly going close.
And the England star would provide the assist for a fortuitous opening goal after just 11 minutes. Kelly swung her corner kick into the box that Brighton keeper Megan Walsh should have claimed. However, Sarri got in the way and the two made a hash of it with the ball ending up in the back of the goal.
Brighton heads dropped and City looked hungry for more. Bunny Shaw was looking to continue her superb goalscoring form but saw her header, moments after the opening goal, go wide as City dominated.
The blues were finding space across the Brighton half of the pitch and it was no surprise when City went 2-0 up in the 19th minute, with Kelly again the architect. Her cross to the far post was met by a brilliant diving header from Blakstad and City were threatening to inflict a heavier defeat on the Seagulls than the 8-0 thrashing Spurs gave them in November.
And Brighton fears of a similar scoreline were increased on 26 minutes when Coombs blasted home the third. The Brighton defence gave the City midfielder all the time she needed to line up her shot, before rifling home from the edge of the box, giving Walsh no chance.
The Brighton keeper redeemed herself from her earlier mistake as she superbly prevented Coombs from adding a fourth before half-time.
City took their foot off the gas in the second half, although Castellanos hit the post and Walsh remembered how to save shots, denying the Venezuelan striker. But Brighton had a better second half, yet still failed to fully test Ellie Roebuck.
The City defence will have been disappointed to concede a simple goal late on. A free-kick was tipped onto the post by Roebuck, but Lee Geum-min managed to get a touch to bundle the ball over the line.
The blues will now prepare for Wednesday’s League Cup match at Liverpool, where victory for the blues will put them level on points with their opponents with a game in hand. City then face high-flying United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, where another derby win will put them level on points with their City rivals. At least 40,000 will be present to see if the blues can beat the reds again.
Final Score: Manchester City Women 3-1 Brighton Women