Manchester City Women produced a dominant performance in their Conti Cup semi final to set up a date with Chelsea in the final. Goals from Jess Park, Bunny Shaw and Lauren Hemp saw the blues overcome Spurs and will now face the reigning WSL champions at Wimbledon on 5th March.
City went into the match having won seven of their last eight matches and Thursday’s victory means the blues haven’t lost a match since 17th November, when they were beaten in the same competition by Manchester United.
Since that match, City have welcomed back a number of first team players, including goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, who made her second appearance of the season against the London club. She barely had much to do with as the blues turned on the style they had badly missed in the first part of the season.
City gave a start to youngster Ruby Mace in the heart of City’s defence in place of Steph Houghton. There was no explanation as to the skipper’s absence, however, manager Gareth Taylor may give a more detailed explanation in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon.
The manager also gave a start to Park, while new signing Julie Blakstad and returning Australian duo Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy were named in the bench.
Although the victory was comfortable for the blues, there was a heart-in-the-mouth moment for the faithful in the first half when Spurs could have taken the lead. Jessica Naz dispossessed Keira Walsh in the City half and, with only Roebuck to beat, fired wide of the goal.
And Spurs were made to pay for that miss in the 21st minute as Park put the blues on their way in the 21st minute. Collecting a pass infield from Georgia Stanway, Park shrugged off the attentions from the Spurs defence to fire low across goal and into the corner of the net.
The 20-year-old took the ball in her stride, side-stepped the Spurs defender Harrop, and was allowed time inside the box to pick her spot, before rifling home beyond the keeper.
Six minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to what was probably the easiest goal Khadija Shaw will ever score. Hemp’s charge forward found Caroline Weir, whose left foot shot took a deflection and looped over the top to fall kindly for Park. The youngster had presence of mind to knock the ball back across goal to where Shaw was waiting to tap it home.
The ball looked to be rolling in, but Shaw made certain as Spurs appeals for offside fell on deaf ears and the blues looked set to confirm their date with Chelsea.
City continued the theme in the second half and Lucy Bronze saw her powerful header hit the woodwork from Stanway’s corner. City continued to dominate possession and a third goal was always likely to arrive. And when it did, it was the livewire Park that was again the provider.
The youngster delivered a magnificent cross from the right that eluded everyone but Hemp, who headed home from inside the six-yard box. The goal belonged to Hemp, but the night belonged to Park, who teased and terrified the Spurs defence while staking her claim for a role in Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.
Final Score: Manchester City Women 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur Women