City took a huge step towards securing Women’s Champions League football next season with a thumping 6-0 win over Birmingham City.

A Georgia Stanway brace, plus goals from Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Laura Coombs, plus Alanna Kennedy‘s first goal for the Club, clinched a crucial victory with a ruthless second half display in our final home game of the season.

The triumph had repercussions at both ends of the table, as Gareth Taylor’s side leapfrogged Manchester United into third spot, while Birmingham were relegated to the Championship.

It was an emotional night all round at the Academy Stadium, as the home faithful bade a fond farewell to goalkeeping legend Karen Bardsley, who announced her retirement from professional football earlier this week.

The Lionesses shot-stopper was honoured with a presentation after the game, which included a shirt commemorating her 103 appearances and a lifetime Seasoncard. Her incredible career will also be celebrated at our final men’s Premier League game against Aston Villa on Sunday 22 May.


What happened

Heading into the clash in exceptional form and facing a side whose only hope of survival was victory, City sought to gain an early advantage and almost broke the deadlock inside four minutes when Lucy Bronze saw her header cleared off the line by Christie Murray.

Keira Walsh then fired over the bar and Sunday’s four-goal heroine Khadija Shaw fired straight at Emily Ramsey, as the Birmingham defence suffered an onslaught from the off.

Caroline Weir also tried her luck with what would have been her hat-trick of exquisite chips, as well as a curling free-kick, but Ramsey proved equal to both efforts.

Shaw then headed wide, while Bronze proved one of City’s brightest attacking threats, firing off-target and then striking the post.

In the last action of the half, Hemp’s nearpost effort suffered the same fate and the two sides headed into the break goalless - Birmingham no doubt grateful for the respite after defending valiantly for the opening 45.

The one-way traffic continued after the restart. Stanway drove wide but her next attempt would bear fruit, as the Club’s top scorer collected Walsh’s pass, after Hemp and Demi Stokes had done well to win the ball back on the left, and drilled low into the bottom corner from range.

Weir then should have made it two, bouncing a rebound wide after Ramsey had denied substitute Chloe Kelly, but the winger would craft the second of the night soon after, curling a delightful delivery to the backpost for the onrushing Hemp to volley home.

Stanway then doubled her personal tally with a thumping poacher’s finish, smashing home at the third attempt after Ramsey had denied the England star and Harriet Scott had thwarted Hemp’s rebound.

Kennedy then made it four, nodding home Kelly’s corner to open her goalscoring account, before Hemp returned her earlier favour to set up Kelly, bursting down the flank on the counter and crossing for her fellow winger to finish emphatically.

Coombs completed the rout with another strike from outside the box, driving a deflected effort past Ramsey to cap another superb night, and there was even time for Filippa Angeldahl to rattle the crossbar from range, as Taylor’s side pressed to the final whistle.

What it means

City leapfrog Manchester United with just one game remaining, moving two points ahead of the Reds and boasting a superior goal difference.

We travel to Reading on the final day, while United lock horns with title-chasing Chelsea.

Birmingham finish bottom of the table, having collected just nine points and two wins, and drop into the second tier.

1 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 19 16 1 2 54 12 42 49 WWWWW
2 Chelsea FC Chelsea Chelsea 18 15 1 2 53 14 39 46 LWWWW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 19 14 1 4 45 18 27 43 WLWWW
Last updated: 24 April 2024

How we lined up...

Taylor made one change to the side that defeated Leicester on Sunday, as Hayley Raso replaced Kelly.

Ellie Roebuck took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Demi Stokes, Alex Greenwood, Kennedy and Bronze.

Walsh protected the back four in defensive midfield, employed behind Weir and Stanway, while Hemp and Raso occupied the flanks. Shaw led the line upfront.

CITY XI | Roebuck, Bronze, Kennedy, Greenwood (C), Stokes (Blakstad 72’), Walsh (Coombs 72’), Stanway, Weir (Angeldahl 72’), Raso (Kelly 46’), Hemp, Shaw (White 72’)

SUBS | Keating, Taieb, Mace

BIRMINGHAM XI | Ramsey, Scott, Louise Quinn (C), Sarri (Whelan 79’), Robertson, Murray, Pennock (Ewens 79’), Smith (Whipp 69’), Finn, Lawley (Lucy Quinn 60’), Cowie

SUBS | Hourihan, Sandvej, Ryan-Doyle, Jenner, Worsey

Player of the Match: Georgia Stanway

Showcasing her impressive long-range accuracy once more, as well as her exceptional instincts to be in the right place at the right time, Stanway inspired her side to victory and was unfortunate not to complete her hat-trick with a rocket which flew just over the bar.


● City have won our last eight FA WSL matches against Birmingham, scoring 26 goals and conceding only four.

● Gareth Taylor‘s side have only lost one of our 19 FA Women’s Super League games played on Wednesday (W14 D4).

● We have won seven of our last eight at the Academy Stadium (D1), including each of the last six by an aggregate score of 24-2, and have won our last eight WSL games in a row by an aggregate score of 27-2. Only once have we been on a longer winning run within a single season in the competition – between December 2020 April 2021 last season (12 games).

● City haven’t dropped a single point against any of the six sides currently in the bottom half of the league this season, winning all 11 games with 48 goals scored and just five conceded. We are only the side yet to drop a point against those six teams this season.

● Chloe Kelly scored twice in a 4-0 win in this exact fixture last season and bagged her fourth goal against Birmingham. Only against Reading (6) has she scored more WSL goals.

What’s next...

City complete our FA WSL season with a trip to Reading on Sunday 8 May in a 12:00 (UK time) kick-off at the Madejski Stadium.

Taylor’s side then face the prospect of a mouth-watering FA Cup Final clash with Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 15 May (14:30). Tickets are on sale.


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