Match Report

Superb City make it 10 WSL wins on the spin

Superb City make it 10 WSL wins on the spin
FA WSL
FA WSL
Wed 17 Mar
0
3
Caroline Weir 
(12’), 
Ellen White 
(30’), 
Sam Mewis 
(89’)
View highlights
First half goals from Caroline Weir and Ellen White, plus a late Sam Mewis header were enough to see City get the better of Bristol City and secure a tenth successive victory in the Women’s Super League.

Gareth Taylor’s side looked full value for that phenomenal run of form, with Weir drawing first blood inside 12 minutes after drifting into the box unmarked.

White made it two on the half hour, ushering home Lauren Hemp’s ball in from the left, before Mewis made it three in the 89th minute, heading home after Janine Beckie had forced a save from Bristol stopper Sophie Baggaley.

As well as reaching a memorable milestone, the three points crucially keeps City within touching distance of league leaders Chelsea, as the title race continues to take shape.

What Happened?

Although our opponents were still smarting from Sunday’s Continental Cup final defeat to Chelsea, they had also won three of their last six matches, and looked to sit in and frustrate City with two solid defensive banks.

Nonetheless, Gareth Taylor’s side were able to find chinks in the Vixens’ armour from the off, looking to stretch the hosts with typically industrious wing play from Chloe Kelly and Hemp.

The duo combined inside three minutes, with Kelly’s floated ball to the back-post landing into the path of Hemp, but full-back Flo Allen did just enough to divert the ball behind for a corner.

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However, ten minutes later Kelly’s cutback struck gold, with the winger finding a pocket of space down the right before feeding the onrushing Weir who, without breaking stride, calmly slotted home into the far corner.

And Ellen White thought she’d then doubled the lead five minutes later, convincingly dispatching her first real sight of goal into the top corner on the half-volley.

However, the England forward had started her run in behind a split second too early and was denied by the offside flag.

The early goal seemingly released the shackles, with City’s intricate passing play oozing with the kind of confidence that a ten-match winning run breeds.

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Kelly was at the centre of that positive play, rouletting exquisitely past Jemma Purfield on the by-line before Bristol were able to eventually scramble her low ball away from danger.

White was next to go close, flashing a header from the winger’s vicious ball across just wide of the near-post.

But our captain was not to be denied a third time, incisively finishing off a swift counter after being fed down the left by Hemp with 15 minutes of the first half still to play.

Gareth Taylor’s side continued to press forward in search of more goals before the break, with Hemp forcing a smart save from Baggaley after being unleashed down the left.

Despite our dominance, the hosts did manage a rare sortie against the run of play on the stroke of half-time, with a free-kick into the box causing some penalty box pinball.

However, City soon snuffed out the danger, with Ellen Jones’ effort through a crowd of bodies landing straight down the throat of Ellie Roebuck.

The Vixens began the second 45 brightly, with some half-time changes seemingly injecting some energy back into their play.

But our searing pace meant we remained a constant threat on the counter, and Hemp showed a clean pair of heels down the left before releasing White, who stung the palms of Baggaley with a shot on the turn after 58 minutes.

And Mewis was left wondering how she didn’t find the back of the net for the sixth time in her last five matches when sent clean through, firing straight at the hosts’ stopper with the game ticking past the hour.

WATCH: Demi Stokes: 'I wouldn't want to be anywhere else'

As the match wore on and legs tired, City began to find more space in the Bristol half, dictating the tempo and zipping the ball around in search of an opening.

Substitute Demi Stokes nearly grabbed an assist on her return from injury in the 78th minute, but her cross into a dangerous area was eventually smothered by Baggaley at the second attempt.

And the Vixens’ stopper had to be at her best to deny Abby Dahlkemper her first goal in Blue a few minutes later, tipping the defender’s goal bound effort wide for a corner after she snuck in at the back post.

However, the pressure eventually told and City grabbed a third at the death, with Mewis in the right place at the right time to nod home after Beckie's initial effort had looped into the air after a smart save from Baggaley.

10 in a row

Victory #10 in succession in the WSL means City are now enjoying their longest winning league run, surpassing the nine matches Nick Cushing oversaw across two seasons between May 2017 and January 2018.

Incredibly, the last points dropped by Gareth Taylor’s side coming in November’s Manchester Derby draw.

Since that 2-2 stalemate at the Leigh Sports Village, City have beaten eight different teams in the WSL, scoring a phenomenal 35 and conceding just three in the process.

English Women's Super League
1 Chelsea Chelsea 17 14 2 1 52 8 44 44 LWWWW
2 Manchester City Man City 17 13 3 1 54 11 43 42 WWWWW
3 Manchester United Man United 17 11 2 4 35 18 17 35 WLLWL

How we lined up

Roebuck’s goal was shielded by a back four of Georgia Stanway, Dahlkemper, Alex Greenwood and Esme Morgan.

Keira Walsh sat in front, with Mewis and Weir completing a midfield three.

Kelly and Hemp started on the flanks, with White up front.

City XI | Roebuck, Stanway, Dahlkemper, Greenwood, Morgan (Stokes 68’), Walsh, Mewis, Weir, Kelly (Beckie 87’), Hemp (Park 87’), White (c) (Lavelle 80’)

Subs | Taieb, Keating, Coombs, Mannion, Davies

 

Bristol City XI | Baggaley (c), Rafferty, Pike, Allen (Bryson 45’), Palmer (Humphrey 68’), Bissell, Harrison (Wellings 65), Purfield, Mastrantonio (Layzell 76’), Jones (Daniels 45’), Skeels

Subs | Haaland, Collis, Wilson,

What it means:

Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Everton earlier on in the evening means we remain second, but keep up the pace with the league leaders, sitting two points from the WSL summit.

Player of the Match: Lauren Hemp

While she may not have got on the scoresheet, Lauren Hemp’s incessant workrate was a constant thorn in her former team’s side.

A high press from the winger eventually saw her tee up White for our second of the evening but this blend of attacking flair was not at the expense of her defensive duties.

Her constant tracking back ensured both Morgan and Stokes were never exposed, and helped Gareth Taylor’s side retain their shape whenever Bristol City came forward.

Stat Attack

  • Caroline Weir has now scored 7 times in her last 8 appearances.
  • Lauren Hemp has been involved in ten goals in her last 7 matches (5 goals, 5 assists)
  • City’s goal difference across our ten-game winning run in the WSL stands at an eye-watering +32.

Up next

City now have seven days to prepare for our Champions League quarter-final first leg away to Barcelona, before welcoming Reading to the Academy Stadium in the WSL three days later.

Our trip to Catalonia is available to watch live with a CITY+ subscripton.

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