Jill Roord led Manchester City Women to victory with a double to help send the blues into the fifth round of the FA Cup. The Dutch international struck either side of half-time as City made light work of their Championship opponents to book their place in the draw for the next round.
Laura Coombs had opened the scoring with a spectacular finish, while Australian star Mary Fowler scored her first goal since April as the blues dominated their first competitive match of 2024.
The result was no more than City deserved, attacking from the start and taking control of the midfield, with Roord, Coombs and Japanese star Yui Hasegawa limiting the opportunities for Durham to attack. Bunny Shaw started up front as Manager Gareth Taylor again went for a 4-3-2-1 formation, with Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp on the wings.
And the winning formula, which saw the blues win their last four WSL matches, continued, with Roord hitting the bar as early as the sixth minute. The Dutch star made space inside the area, but saw her powerful shot cannon off the crossbar.
If Durham thought that was a close escape, they wouldn’t be so lucky a minute later. Kelly’s charge and cross from the right was met on the volley by Coombs, who expertly guided the ball home to give the visiting faithful something to cheer on a cold afternoon in the North East.
Two minutes later, City could have doubled the lead but for a fine double save by home keeper Naoisha McAloon, who kept the blues at bay and the score at 1-0. Durham had their moments, the Khiara Keating was more than equal to the tame shots the home side could produce.
Shaw, who has once again been so prolific, was inches away from connecting with Alex Greenwood’s inviting cross, and later found herself one on one with the keeper but, rather than shoot, the Jamaican star tried to square to Hemp, who couldn’t connect.
A second goal was coming and when it did, it came from the Dutch star who has been a revelation in the City midfield this season. Seven minutes before the break, Roord collected a pass on the edge of the area and unleashed a vicious shot that flew into the top corner, giving McAloon no chance of saving.
2-0 at half-time and the bleus fancied more goals after the break, but some great defending, although desperate at times, prevented City for a while. But there seems to be no stopping Roord at the moment and when she was played in by Hemp in the 68th minute, there was only one outcome. The midfielder controlled the ball and produced a delicate chip over McAloon to make it 3-0 and seal City’s passage into the fifth round.
Fowler later had a goal disallowed for offside, but wouldn’t be denied her first goal nine months, skipping her way into the box and producing a simple finish to put the icing on the cake with three minutes of normal time remaining.
City still pressed for further goals, but the tie was already won.
How we lined up
Keating, Casparij (Houghton 81), Aleixandri, Greenwood (Morgan 75), Ouahabi, Hasegawa (Mace 75), Roord (Park 68), Coombs, Kelly, Shaw (Fowler 68), Hemp
Goals: Coombs (7), Roord 38 and 69), Fowler (87).
Final Score: Durham Women 0-4 Manchester City Women