Match Report

Seventh Heaven as City run riot to vanquish Villans

Seventh Heaven as City run riot to vanquish Villans
Sun 17 Jan
Lauren Hemp 
(2’, 38’), 
Jill Scott 
Georgia Stanway 
Natalie Haigh 
Ellen White 
Chloe Kelly 
View highlights
City kicked off 2021 in emphatic fashion with a scintillating 7-0 triumph over Aston Villa.

A Lauren Hemp brace, plus goals from Jill Scott, Georgia Stanway, Ellen White and a Natalie Haigh own-goal, had cannoned the hosts into into a stunning half-time lead and Chloe Kelly added a late second half strike to seal the rout.

Despite having to ring the changes with players absent due to injury and isolation, the home side (deputised by Assistant Manager Alan Mahon in Gareth Taylor's absence) picked up where we left off in December to extend our impressive winning run.

The rout portrayed a ruthless display of attacking prowess, as City claimed a crucial three points in the title race and boosted our goal difference.

The triumph capped a fantastic weekend for the Club, following Saturday's signing of World Cup winner Abby Dahlkemper, and brought more positive news as youngsters Millie Davies and Alicia Window -  two of four Academy starlets named on the bench - made their debuts for the Club.


What happened

After a month without action and with a depleted squad, a slow start could have been forgiven but instead, City gained the perfect start, opening the scoring inside two minutes.

Hemp, who announced her full return to action with a Goal of the Season contender last time out against Göteborg in December, bagged her second goal in as many games, sliding home Chloe Kelly's delivery at the backpost.

Villa responded well and were almost handed an instant leveller, collecting Steph Houghton's misplaced pass - but Nadine Hanssen dragged wide.

Heeding the warning, City rallied and stormed into gear. Kelly was unfortunate to strike the woodwork, before FIFA Player of the Year Lucy Bronze crafted the first of her two assists, floating a pinpoint cross into Scott's path for the England international to head into the far corner.

The contest was effectively ended on the half-hour when Stanway beat the offside trap to race onto Bronze's clipped pass and smash into the near post for her third goal against Villa this season.

Hemp then netted her second, converting Kelly's corner, and added a fifth nine minutes later, driving forward and firing a delivery across goal, which struck Haigh and bounced over the line.

The PFA Young Player of the Year turned provider once more before the break, collecting the loose ball after White had done well to pressure the Villa defence into an error - and Hemp cut back for her fellow Lioness to tap home.

In complete command, City continued where we left off after the break but struggled to replicate the ruthlessness of the first 45, despite peppering the Villa goal.

Kelly struck the post once again but was finally rewarded for her efforts with just over 10 minutes of normal time remaining, chasing down and dispossessing Lisa Weiss in the Villa goal and smashing home from close range.

                        Seventh Heaven as City run riot to vanquish Villans

Villa almost grabbed a consolation through Sophie Haywood in injury time but dragged wide - and City would keep an enjoyed clean sheet to cap a perfect afternoon at the Academy Stadium.

Seventh Heaven!

What it means

City stay fourth in the table but keep within touching distance of the early league pacesetters, sitting two points behind third placed Chelsea at full-time (before the day's remaining games).

VIlla stay in 11th place - four points clear of Bristol City.

English Women's Super League
6 Manchester United Man United 8 3 3 2 12 13 -1 12 WDDDL
7 Manchester City Man City 8 3 1 4 16 16 0 10 LDWLW
8 Reading FC Reading 8 3 1 4 10 12 -2 10 LWWDW

How we lined up...

Karen Bardsley took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Bronze, Esme Morgan, captain Houghton and Janine Beckie.

Laura Coombs protected the back four, employed behind central midfielders Stanway and Scott, while Hemp and Kelly occupied the wings and White led the line upfront.

Academy stars Davies, Window, Anna Phillips and Millie Ravening were named on the bench for the first time.

CITY XI | Bardsley, Beckie, Houghton (C), Morgan, Bronze (Park 46'), Coombs, Scott, Stanway, Kelly, Hemp (Davies 75'), White (Window 82'). 

SUBS | Taieb, Greenwood, Window, Ravening, Phillips. 

VILLA XI | Weiss, Ale, Haigh, Asante, Siems, Ewers (C), Arthur (N'Dow 46'), Hanssen (Iwabuchi 46'), Petzelberger (West 72'), Hayles (Haywood 56'), Larsen.

SUBS | Rogers, Follis, Syme, McLoughlin, Silva.

Player of the Match: Lauren Hemp

Showcasing her blistering pace and eye for goal from the off, Lauren Hemp proved she is back to her best with another influential display.

In addition to her goalscoring prowess with her two fine finishes, she also displayed excellent composure and unselfishness to tee up her teammates.

Stat attack

City netted six first-half goals for the very first time in the FA WSL, becoming only the second team in the history of the competition to do so since Liverpool led Doncaster 7-0 back in August 2013.

Lucy Bronze has registered four assists in her last five league appearances - the same number as she managed across her previous 50 matches in the competition. Her four in 2020/21 is the most she's ever made in a single campaign in the English top-flight.

Jill Scott scored her 20th WSL goal with her first goal in the competition in 973 days, since netting against Everton back in May 2018.

• Only Ebony Salmon and Emma Bissell have scored at a younger age than City’s Lauren Hemp (20y 163d) in the league this season, with her second-minute goal the earliest strike by any player in the competition in 2020/21.

                        Seventh Heaven as City run riot to vanquish Villans

Up next...

City welcome familiar foe Chelsea to the Academy Stadium in the Continental Cup quarter-finals.

The pair lock horns on Wednesday 20 January in a 17:30 (UK) kick-off for a place in the last four, where West Ham or Durham will await.

Match highlights

Match highlights from Sunday's game and a full 90-minute replay of the match (available with a CITY+ subscription) will be available from noon UK time on Monday 18 January.

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