New Home kit 2018/2019
Online and InstoreBuy Now
The Blues cruised to a 2-0 win over Birmingham, as the 2016 finalists met once again at the Academy Stadium. First half goals from Nikita Parris and Claire Emslie clinched all three points, maintaining our 100% record in the 2017/18 campaign.
The final week of November had already heralded cause for celebration, as manager Nick Cushing penned a new deal with the domestic treble holders, while Keira Walsh and Mel Lawley hit the headlines on the international stage with a senior debut and first Lionesses goal.
Seeking a 12th consecutive victory, City flew out of the blocks.
Within the first minute, Parris had tested Hannah Hampton in the Birmingham goal, before Emily Westwood almost turned Emslie’s cross into her own net.
The hosts broke the deadlock on 18 minutes, as Jane Ross slid a perfectly-executed through-ball into the path of Parris. The winger’s touch looked heavy but the England star managed to beat Hampton to the ball and clipped neatly over the shot-stopper.
With the lead, Cushing’s side rarely looked like relinquishing it. Ross almost doubled the lead but swept into Hampton’s arms, while Jill Scott’s long-range half-volley suffered the same fate.
At the other end, Karen Bardsley was called into action for the first time to deny Jess Carter from distance.
Scott then drilled wide before City extended their lead on 36 minutes.
Youngster Esme Morgan marked her first competitive start with an assist, delivering a teasing cross which evaded Ross and Izzy Christiansen but reached the in-form Emslie at the backpost, who finished well first-time into the near post.
The persistent Scott continued her pursuit of her fourth goal against Birmingham but fired wide twice more, before Emslie also drove two efforts off-target.
Charlie Wellings, who netted a consolation against City in May’s FA Cup final at Wembley, then smashed over in the last major action before the break.
City almost added a third after the restart as Scott’s header was cleared off the line, while Bardsley had to remain alert with several Birmingham attempts from distance.
Emslie then forced Hampton into a fine stop and Scott skewed the rebound over, while Ross headed her compatriot’s cross wide.
Cushing introduced more young blood in Georgia Stanway and Ella Toone in the second half, as the Blues saw out the victory.
How they lined up…
Cushing made three changes from the side that triumphed over LSK Kvinner in the Champions League Round of 16.
Bardsley returned to the starting XI in goal, replacing Ellie Roebuck. Ross also replaced Demi Stokes, who was forced to withdraw from England duty with a hip injury, while youngster Esme Morgan replaced long-term absentee Megan Campbell.
A back four of Abbie McManus, Jen Beattie, Steph Houghton and Morgan protected Bardsley with Lionesses debutant Keira Walsh operating in her defensive midfield role.
Christiansen and Scott controlled the midfield, flanked by Parris and Emslie. Ross led the line upfront.
What it means…
City move top of Group Two North on goal difference with three wins from three, overtaking Everton whose group stage exploits were complete.
The Blues’ nearest challengers were Birmingham (with six points) but the Solihull outfit would have had to win at the Academy Stadium in what was their final group encounter.
Cushing’s side have one game remaining.
City travel to Doncaster on Wednesday night (7:30pm) in their final Group Two North clash.
The Blues return to league action on Sunday 10 December (6:30), facing title rivals Chelsea at Kingsmeadow before the winter league breaks until January.
Tickets for all FA WSL home games are on sale at tickets.mancity.com.
Read what the City star had to say about our current form...
The Blues’ boss has agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal, which keeps him at the Club until the end of the 2020/21 season.