Bunny Shaw continued her rich goal-scoring form as Manchester City Women earned a hard-fought three points at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. The Jamaican star kept her cool to round Mackenzie Arnold to secure the points for the blues to keep them in touch with the three teams above them. After leaders Chelsea drew at Arsenal and United hammered Liverpool 6-0. City needed the three points to keep the pace at the top of the WSL.
It was the blues first match since a home draw with United on 11th December, but City wasted no time in getting stuck into the home side, pinning the Hammers in their own half for large periods of the first half. But the blues struggled to get shots on target, with the best chance falling to Alanna Kennedy. Chloe Kelly’s cross from the right was straight to the feet of the Australian defender, and her weak shot was gathered by the arms of a grateful Arnold.
The Hammers set alarm bells ringing in the City six-yard box on 25 minutes as a goalmouth scramble saw several West Ham players trying to lash the ball home. City somehow survived the melee, with the ball eventually landing in the hands of a relieved Ellie Roebuck.
The City keeper came to the blues rescue just before half-time, parrying away Risa Shimizu’s close-range effort to keep the scores level going into the break.
City came flying out of the traps for the second-half and within five minutes, they had taken the lead. Japanese star Yui Hasegawa and Columbian striker Deyna Castellanos combined well, with the latter touching a pass into the path of Shaw. The striker charged forward and rounded the keeper before slotting home into an empty goal.
It was a composed finish by the Jamaican, who had an opportunity to shoot under Arnold’s body but chose instead to go around, knowing her strength would carry her through.
City dictated the play following the goal, with the Hammers barely getting sight of Roebuck’s goal. Alex Greenwood could, and perhaps should, have wrapped the points up with ten minutes to go, but her header from another Kelly cross went agonisingly wide.
As the match drew to a close, Shaw almost doubled City’s lead but saw her shot cannon off the post, with Lauren Hemp unable to follow up.
In the end, one goal was enough for the blues, who are now just three points behind United and Arsenal and six behind Chelsea.
Next up for City is the delayed League Cup clash at Leicester, where the blues can secure top spot with victory and will face Bristol City, Charlton or Lewes in the next round.
Final Score: West Ham United Women 0-1 Manchester City Women.