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City almost scored from the kick off as Birmingham conceded possession straight to Lloyd who rounded Ann-Katrin Berger in the Birmingham goal but, from a narrow angle, could only hit the side netting. Lloyd went close again three minutes later as City countered from Ellie Roebuck and Berger was again on hand to save a low effort down to her left.
The visitors' first chance came on 12 minutes when Andrine Hegerberg saw her effort from the edge of the penalty deflected wide for a corner. It was from the resulting set piece that Birmingham took the lead as Coral-Jade Haines' in-swinging corner found Emily Westwood, who out-jumped Lucy Bronze at the far post to head home.
Birmingham grew in confidence as they began to frustrate the home side, taking the lead into half time.
City started the second half brightly and moments after the restart an early cross from Stanway was flicked on by Lloyd into the path of Christiansen, but the ball just evaded her inside the penalty area.
Bronze almost found the breakthrough on 55 minutes when she burst into the box pulling her cross along the six yard line to Kosovare Asllani but she was denied by an excellent block on the line, before the loose ball ended up in the hands of the grateful Berger.
Bronze made no mistake two minutes later as she latched onto Stanway's through ball before bursting into the penalty area and firing between the legs of the helpless Birmingham goalkeeper.
City continued to press but it took until the latter stages that they really threatened. Lloyd did superbly to hold off multiple Birmingham defenders before playing in Ross but the Scottish international was denied at the near post by a point blank Berger save.
Berger came to Birmingham's rescue again in the final minute as she raced to the edge of her area to block a Lloyd half volley from a deep cross from right but it wasn't enough to earn City three points in a well contested game of football.
Boss Nick Cushing took the opportunity to make changes after the Champions League semi-final against Lyon.
Ellie Roebuck, 17 made her full City debut in goal, with Abbie McManus drafted at left back of a flat back four with Lucy Bronze, Captain Steph Houghton and Jennifer Beattie.
In midfield Izzy Christiansen and Kosovare Asllani lined up in the centre ahead of the deep-lying Keira Walsh and Tessel Middag. Up front Carli Lloyd partnered Georgia Stanway giving City a 4-2-2-2 formation.
Megan Campbell made her return from injury as a second-half substitute.
City are off the mark in the Spring Series with a point, five points behind early pace setters Liverpool who have two wins from two.
City face three games on the road now as a busy period kicks in. First up is Reading on Sunday, followed by Bristol on Tuesday, before the FA Cup final against Birmingham next Saturday at Wembley.
Report by Rob McKay
The Blues welcome their fellow FA Cup finalists to the Academy Stadium, having narrowly missed out on a place in the European final with a 3-2 aggregate defeat to reigning champions Lyon.
Nick Cushing’s side reached the semi-finals in their maiden campaign in Europe, falling to a 3-2 aggregate defeat to title-holders Lyon but emerging victorious in France with a 1-0 win.
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg at the Academy Stadium, the Blues headed to France with a mountain to climb against the three-time winners but claimed a hard-fought 1-0 triumph at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, thanks to Carli Lloyd’s thunderous strike.