FA WSL Huish park Att:1302 Sunday, September 24, 2017 1:00:00 PM
- Adam Bromley
- Miles Jackson 61’
- Gemma Evans
- Heatherson Georgia Evans 75’
- Pusey Melton 86’
- Unused subs
- Howard, Lloyd, Aldridge, Sawyer.
- Beattie Campbell 69’
- Houghton (c)
- McManus Morgan 80’
- Scott Stanway 59’
- Unused subs
City kicked off their defence of the Women’s Super League title with an excellent 4-0 win at Yeovil.
An Izzy Christiansen penalty and Jane Ross’ nifty flick, plus Jill Scott and Georgia Stanway strikes handed the Blues the points at Huish Park, as Nick Cushing’s side claimed the perfect start to the 2017/18 campaign.
Almost a year to the day since their first league title triumph, due to the switch in format to a winter league, the champions set their campaign off and running with a thoroughly dominant display in Somerset.
While the Club’s men’s side have been hitting headlines for their goalscoring exploits, Cushing’s side ensured they received similar praise. The manager had strengthened the firepower over the summer, with the capture of Claire Emslie and Pauline Bremer, in a bid to increase the number of goals. It worked wonders, as Emslie grabbed two assists on her competitive debut.
Yeovil and City had met just once before – in the Spring Series back in May. The Blues ran out 5-1 victors on that day but it would prove a memorable campaign for the Glovers, who would go on to win promotion.
This encounter proved equally one-sided for City, who threatened as early as the second minute – heading over the bar – before breaking the deadlock from the spot.
Nikita Parris – along with fellow winger Emslie – would cause problems all afternoon and she proved too quick for Nadia Lawrence, who upended the England star, on six minutes. Referee Adam Bromley had no choice but to point to the spot and Christiansen, who recently signed a new deal, stepped up to drill into the corner.
With any early new season nerves put to bed, the Blues – calm in possession – went in search of a second. Steph Houghton was unfortunate to see her effort whistle just wide and Parris forced Megan Walsh into a good stop at the near post with Jen Beattie heading wide the resulting corner.
Ross should then have doubled the lead but couldn’t convert Emslie’s delivery, while Scott tried her luck from distance but watched her shot fly over the bar.
Walsh then denied Parris once more before City extended their advantage with a goal of real quality, as Emslie weaved her way into the box and teed up Ross to flick neatly into the far corner, handing the Blues a comfortable lead at the break.
The Blues continued where they left off after the restart.
Demi Stokes saw a cross-shot saved on the line, while Parris headed over the left-back’s cross.
Scott made it 3-0 just before the hour mark, curling into the bottom corner to continue her run of scoring in every season for the Blues.
Yeovil’s first attempt arrived on 65 minutes as Jessie Jones volleyed goalward but Ellie Roebuck was equal to it.
Almost immediately at the other end, Emslie drove forward and let fly to the near post but Walsh pushed wide.
With an unassailable lead, Cushing introduced fresh legs, including youngster Esme Morgan, who replaced Abbie McManus for her competitive debut.
The scoring was completed with seven minutes of normal time remaining, as Emslie drove forward once again before cutting back for substitute Stanway to drill home, capping a superb day for the champions.
How they lined up…
In Karen Bardsley’s enforced absence, Roebuck, who celebrated her 18th birthday on Saturday, took her place in goal.
The teenage ‘keeper was shielded by a backline of Stokes, Beattie – returning from injury, captain Houghton and McManus.
Keira Walsh protected the back four in defensive midfield, just behind Christiansen and Scott, while Emslie and Parris operated on the wings. Ross led the line upfront.
New signing Pauline Bremer was not risked with a slight niggle.
City’s first home game of the 2017/18 campaign takes place against title rivals Arsenal on Saturday 30 September at 12:30.
Tickets for the clash at the Academy Stadium are on sale and are available at tickets.mancity.com or at the Etihad Stadium ticket office.