Match Report

White grabs late winner in thrilling Birmingham clash

White grabs late winner in thrilling Birmingham clash
FA WSL
FA WSL
Sun 12 Dec
2
3
Christie Murray 
(28’), 
Louise Quinn 
(39’)
Georgia Stanway 
(34’), 
Lauren Hemp 
(44’), 
Ellen White 
(89’)
View highlights
Ellen White’s close-range strike earned Manchester City a deserved last-gasp victory away to Birmingham in the FA Women’s Super League.

Making her first appearance since becoming England’s record goalscorer in the Women's international break, the forward tapped home from Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw’s cutback to hand Gareth Taylor’s side a deserved three points at St Andrew's.

An entertaining first half had twice seen City come from behind thanks to a Georgia Stanway stunner and powerful Lauren Hemp header.

And White’s vital contribution in a cagey second 45 was just rewards for a dogged display, which saw City grab successive wins in the WSL for the first time this season.

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What happened

City were on top for the majority of an entertaining first 45 despite twice having to work our way back from a goal behind.

White was first to go close, striking the post inside four minutes after reacting quickest to Hayley Raso’s cross which had been spilled by Marie Hourihan.

City continued to find joy down the flanks as Raso was once again released down the right, but fellow winger Lauren Hemp wasn’t able to find the target from close-range.

And Gareth Taylor’s side were a matter of inches from the breakthrough once again as the 20-minute mark approached, Caroline Weir stroking a vicious effort just wide of the far post from Hemp’s clever cutback.

Hourihan was again called into action soon after, with a quickfire double save from Weir and White preventing City from taking what would have been a deserved lead.

And it was the hosts who got themselves in front soon after when Christie Murray stroked home from the spot after Veatriki Sarri was upended just inside the area before the half hour.

But City were back on level terms in emphatic fashion soon after, as Stanway launched an unstoppable drive into the top corner of Hourihan’s net around 25 yards from goal.

Gareth Taylor’s side were full value for our equaliser, but Birmingham restored their lead when Quinn tapped home after City failed to properly clear a deep free-kick.

However, City once again rallied to go in level at the break when Hemp beat Hourihan and defender Harriet Scott to Raso’s teasing cross to head home her fifth of the season.

The second half at St Andrew's proved to be less eventful, with Birmingham’s Melissa Lawley heading over from a promising position before the hour.

A defensive lapse in concentration presented Libby Smith with a gilt-edged chance with 20 to play but the forward, after impressively working her way onto her right foot, skied her effort.

City almost found the winner from an unlikely source when the ball bounced into the path of Kennedy from a corner, but the defender couldn’t make a clean contact from close-range.

In need of some inspiration, Gareth Taylor introduced Shaw to the fray and the Jamaican’s clever ball into the near post almost presented White with our third of the afternoon.

But Hourihan once again was quick off her line to thwart the City forward, who looked destined to poke home the game’s decisive goal.

White wasn’t to be denied again though, smashing home after Shaw had carved out an opportunity down the right wing as stoppage time beckoned.

The City forward was rightfully mobbed by her teammates after coming back to haunt her former club, and provided Gareth Taylor’s side with a welcome boost ahead of an important week in our season.

Player of the Match: Georgia Stanway

The England international stepped into the breach in an unfamiliar position at left-back and, as always, demonstrated her footballing intelligence and collective ethos throughout.

Defending diligently across the entire 90 minutes, Stanway grabbed a spectacular leveller for good measure as well!

How we lined up

Gareth Taylor made four changes from the side that beat Aston Villa 5-0 in our previous outing, with Demi Stokes, Jill Scott, Keira Walsh and Jess Park making way for Alanna Kennedy, Ruby Mace, Laura Coombs, Hayley Raso.

Karima Taieb started between the sticks, shielded by a back four of Georgia Stanway, Alex Greenwood, Alanna Kennedy and Ruby Mace.

Laura Coombs sat in front of the defence, with Caroline Weir and Filippa Angeldahl completing the midfield three.

At the sharp end, Lauren Hemp and Hayley Raso started on the flank, with Ellen White leading the line as captain against her former club.

City XI: Taieb, Stanway, Greenwood, Kennedy, Mace, Coombs, Weir, Angeldahl (Losada 63'), Hemp, Raso (Shaw 73'), White (C).

Subs: Keating, Park

Birmingham XI: Hourihan, Sandvej, Lawley, Quinn, Holloway, Murray, Robertson (Whipp 46'), Scott, Pennock, Smith (Quinn 72'), Sarri

Subs: Finn, Ramsey, Ryan-Doyle, Whelan, Cowie, Worsley

What it means

City move up to sixth in the WSL table courtesy of our hard-fought win at St Andrew's.

Manchester United's earlier 2-0 victory over Brighton also means Gareth Taylor's side are now just two points off the Champions League places.

English Women's Super League
2 Arsenal Arsenal 22 17 4 1 65 10 55 55 WWWWW
3 Manchester City Man City 22 15 2 5 60 22 38 47 WWWWW
4 Manchester United Man United 22 12 6 4 45 22 23 42 WWDWL

Next up

It’s a quick turnaround for City, with the team in Continental Cup action on Wednesday 15 December away to Leicester.

Victory would all but guarantee our progression to the competition’s quarter-final stage.

Gareth Taylor’s side welcome Reading to the Academy Stadium the following Sunday in the WSL in our final match before the winter break.

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