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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: City 7 West Ham Ladies 1
Three goals inside the first 20 minutes set the tone for an emphatic 7-1 victory for City, with Caroline Weir’s brilliant volley the pick of the goals.
Five of City’s starting XI were called up for their countries in the international break, including skipper Steph Houghton who returned from England duty to play her 100th WSL game. There was no sign of an international hangover for the Blues though, who started brightly, scoring in just the second minute of the game.
Claire Emslie and Weir both had two weeks off the pitch due to Scotland not having a game in the break, and the compatriots linked nicely to immediately put City on the front foot. Emslie battled well in the air and the ball fell nicely for Weir, whose outside of the boot struck a perfectly placed half volley, lobbing Rebecca Spencer and nestling in the West Ham goal.
Nick Cushing’s side had gone 2-0 down in each of their last three games and were determined to reverse that form. It took City just seven minutes to get their second of the game and double their advantage. Jill Scott found Weir on the left wing, who’s cross returned the ball to Scott. She kept the attack alive with a good header, and after some confusion in the West Ham box, Nikita Parrisimprovised well, using the back of her head to nod the ball over Spencer.
The two goal scorers combined to add a third for The Blues in the 17th minute. Nikita Parris ran in behind the West Ham defence and onto Weir’s perfectly weighted through ball. Parris kept her cool, rounding the goalkeeper and sliding the ball into an empty net.
The visitors tried hard to get back into the game before half time, and were inches away from clawing a goal backing the 34th minute, Julia Simic’s cross goal effort skimming Ellie Roebuck’s post.
The Hammers had the first chance of the second half too but Roebuck was alert to make a good save with her legs, denying former City striker Jane Ross.
Georgia Stanway replaced Emslie in the 69th minute, and scored Nick Cushing’s side’s fourth of the game just two minutes later, latching onto a low cross by Parris and finishing easily.
City were in a relentless mood, and the goals weren’t ready to stop yet. Weir’s out swinging free kick found Houghton, who made it 5-0 with a powerful header.
With ten minutes to go, Tessa Wullaert’s pass led to some good trickery by Stanway, whose clever feet dazzled the goalkeeper, before slotting her second of the game, and City’s 6th!
West Ham didn’t let their heads drop, and were rewarded with a consolation goal in the 82nd minute. Esmee De Graaf found space on the right wing, and hit a low shot into the corner of City’s goal.
With just five minutes left, Wullaert decided it was her turn to get in on the action. Her long range effort was fumbled by Spencer, and completed the scoring for City, making the final score 7-1 to the home side.