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With Champions Chelsea having dropped points the previous night, City were handed an opportunity to gain an early advantage in the title race, although with inclement weather conditions and heavy traffic, there had been some doubt as to whether the fixture would take place.
Pleasingly, the pitch proved unaffected by the pouring rain and Nick Cushing’s side kicked-off our third game of the week.
Everton were quickest to settle into the difficult conditions and created the first opportunity of the game, as Inessa Kaagman clipped to the top corner but saw her effort curl just wide.
With neither side able to retain possession, the early exchanges proved scrappy and the game’s only goal would arrive courtesy of a set-piece.
Caroline Weir cemented her status as a threat from dead-ball situations, driving in a corner, which was only half-cleared to the onrushing Stanway. With one thing in her mind, the forward raced onto the ball and struck a bullet past Kirstie Levell and into the back of the net – her first of the campaign and another to add to the collection of screamers, bolstering her reputation as a scorer of stunning goals with a superb arrowing strike
The hosts responded well to falling behind and Karen Bardsley had to be alert, as Chloe Kelly dragged an effort just wide, before Claudia Walker forced the England shot-stopper into a low save at her near post. Abbie McManus was also on hand to head off the line.
Mel Lawley and Parris both watched efforts fly over the bar and Stanway fired wide, in the last major action of the half.
City hit their stride in the second half and a well-worked team move put the game beyond Everton’s reach.
Jill Scott thought she’s extended the lead, having connected with Weir’s delivery, only for Levell to push away – and the Toffees goalkeeper reacted well to thwart the rebound.
The lead would be doubled just after the hour-mark, as substitute Tessa Wullaert made an instant impact, playing a delightful through-ball into Parris’ path and the England star made no mistake with a powerful finish.
The winger, who made her 100th appearance for the Club in the Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid, netted her second moments later, converting Lauren Hemp’s clever cut-back at the backpost.
Bardsley did well to preserve another clean sheet, tipping over Hannah Cain’s powerful effort, and Emslie added the icing to the proverbial cake, firing another unstoppable effort into the top corner in injury time to cap a perfect evening’s work for City.
How we lined up…
Bardsley was shielded by a backline of McManus, Beattie, captain Houghton and Gemma Bonner, with Weir occupying the defensive midfield role.
Scott and Stanway took their place in the centre, while Parris and Lawley were employed on the wings. Nadia Nadim led the line upfront.
City move to fourth in the Super League table with four points – two behind Arsenal and Birmingham and a goal shy of third-placed Reading.
It’s a tight turnaround, as City are back in Super League action at the Academy Stadium on Sunday 23 September, hosting Bristol City in a 2pm kick-off.
The Blues then entertain Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Round of 32 second leg on Wednesday 26 September (7pm), with an away goal in the bag from the away trip.
Tickets for all City home games are available via tickets.mancity.com or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office.
The Blues sealed a 3-0 win over the Vixens away at the Stoke Gifford Stadium through Claire Emslie, a Nadia Nadim penalty and Weir’s thunderous strike from the edge of the box.