Match Report

Blues through to last eight

Toni Duggan and Isobel Christiansen celebrate
Continental Cup
Continental Cup
Thu 27 Aug
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Manchester City Women secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup with a 2-0 win at Everton Ladies.

Goals from Toni Duggan and youngster Georgia Stanway proved the difference between the two sides at the Select Security Stadium as the Blues returned to the top of Group Two on goal difference, having collected maximum points from their four games.

The triumph ensures City continue their 100% record in their defence of the trophy with one game still to play in the group stage, whilst extending their unbeaten run in the second half of the season to nine games – eight victories and one draw.

Reflecting on the win - and her first goal for Nick Cushing’s side - Stanway told mcfc.co.uk: "It's amazing - it's only the second time I've played for City so to get the goal, and even to be playing for this club at 16, is incredible.

It shows that hard work does pay off and it really means a lot.

"I didn't think I'd even be coming off the bench so early on in my City career - never mind scoring - but it shows that Nick and the rest of the team have faith in me.

"It's important that we carry on winning now, starting with Sunday's game against Liverpool."

The Blues produced a thoroughly professional display to book their place in the last eight of the competition and were unfortunate not to have increased their margin of victory, having hit the woodwork three times. Particularly in the first-half, the away side dominated possession and wowed the watching spectators with some sublime football in periods.

With little time between games, Cushing opted to make four changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Notts County on Sunday, with Abbie McManus, Kathleen Radtke, Emma Lipman and Krystle Johnston replacing Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Daphne Corboz and the ineligible Nikita Parris.

Krystle Johnston

Jill Scott, Isobel Christiansen and Duggan were named in the starting XI against their former club, while Danielle Lea also faced her former employers for the Toffees.

Everton knew before the game they could not progress in the Continental Cup but City were fully aware the FA Women’s Super League 2 side would have a point to prove and would be unwilling to gift their visitors three points.

Knowing a win would secure their place in the quarter-finals, City started brightly, eager to showcase their desire.

The first chance of the evening fell to Johnston after just three minutes but her shot lacked pace, and the winger was involved again soon after, delivering a dangerous cross which was almost deflected in - but for the fingertips of Megan Walsh.

Scott also saw a curled effort fly high and wide before City did break the deadlock on 19 minutes. It was the in-form Duggan who netted the opener, cutting inside before unleashing a low effort into the bottom corner - another fine strike to add to her collection.

Minutes later, Jennifer Beattie – starting upfront in this encounter – fired just over after combining well with McManus.

As the Blues pressed to double their advantage, they grew in confidence and the party tricks came out – much to the delight of the travelling faithful.

They could - and probably should - have extended their lead just before the half-hour mark but hit the woodwork twice in quick succession.

Scott had done well to jink into the box, after another fine team move, before watching another curling effort bounce off the post; then, moments later, she teed up Duggan whose shot suffered the same fate.

Jill Scott

There were no further chances of note in the opening 45 and the away side headed into the break with a deserved but slender lead.

Thoroughly dominant, at times they had carved open the hosts’ defence as easily as the proverbial hot knife through butter and had restricted their opponents to one real chance, as Karen Bardsley was forced into a save at her near-post from Dan Turner. 

After the break, it was a much more even contest as Everton enjoyed more of the possession without creating chances. Simone Magill spurned the Toffees' best opportunity to level the score, skewing off-target after being played through.

Heeding the warning, City then regained possession and sought their second of the night.

Having netted a stunning free-kick against Notts County, skipper Houghton tried her luck again from further out - but like Scott and Duggan, saw her effort crash against the woodwork with eight minutes remaining.

City wrapped the game up though shortly afterwards as Christiansen played Stanway through, and in only her second appearance, the starlet poked the ball beyond Walsh and into the back of the net to seal the win.

It was the icing on the cake on a positive night for the Blues, who face Liverpool in their final group game, before discovering their quarter-final opponents.

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