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Georgia Stanway bagged a hat-trick at the Academy Stadium, as the Blues continued their unbeaten league run with a third straight win.
A vocal crowd of 2,026 turned out to see the league leaders produce another dominant display, which perhaps could have been more flattering for Nick Cushing’s side as per the two previous triumphs of 8-0 and 5-1.
With City in rampant form and gathering momentum in the title race, manager Cushing made one enforced change from the side that defeated Notts County, as Demi Stokes replaced the injured Abbie McManus.
The aforementioned routs away from home had seen the Blues come flying out of the blocks with goals inside the first five minutes.
This occasion would not bring such a feat but the hosts came close on seven minutes, as Jane Ross hit the crossbar with a dinked header from Megan Campbell’s delivery.
Campbell then had a chance of her own, forcing Rachael Laws into a smart stop on the goalline, before the home side opened the scoring on 17 minutes.
Stanway, who netted a worldie at Meadow Lane last weekend, was responsible for another fine finish. The 17-year-old found herself in space just outside the area and opted to try her luck with a low drive, which swerved to deceive Laws.
It was the youngster’s third of the season and another sweet strike to add to her already-impressive collection.
As City looked to showcase their clinical side, Houghton went close with a header and Lucy Bronze struck the bar with a fierce drive.
Good work from Jill Scott then released Nikita Parris who fired straight at the ‘keeper before a Bronze header suffered the same fate.
Sunderland’s first effort arrived two minutes before the break as Karen Bardsley made a flying stop to thwart Rachel Furness’ powerful effort.
The second half was a more even contest until Stanway doubled her tally on 55 minutes, drilling Scott’s deflected lay-off into the bottom corner.
Parris and Houghton then went close with headers, whilst Ross had an effort cleared off the line and Bronze opted to cross when in a great position to shoot.
The result was put beyond doubt as Stanway completed her treble, netting the best of the bunch with another superb first-time effort from Toni Duggan’s backheeled lay-off.
The forward could even have scored a fourth but saw her shot deflected wide in her last action, as she left the field to standing ovation when replaced by Daphne Corboz.
The hat-trick was the icing on the cake for another excellent result for City, though Duggan almost added to the scoring with a well-saved volley. The title charge continues…
Next up for Cushing’s side is a trip to Reading on Wednesday night...
After scoring 13 goals in their last two outings, the City Women’s boss believes his side are at their best when they force the opposition to play in their own half and make mistakes.