Match Report

Coombs bags a wondergoal as City down Liverpool

Coombs bags a wondergoal as City down Liverpool
FA Women's League Cup
FA Women's League Cup
Wed 4 Nov
Laura Coombs 
Rose Lavelle 
Jess Park 
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Laura Coombs struck a sensational opener against her former Club, as City clinched all three points against Liverpool in the Continental Cup.

The midfielder broke the deadlock three minutes before the break at Prenton Park, controlling Gemma Bonner’s floated through-ball beautifully before dipping a sweetly-struck half-volley beyond Rylee Foster and into the top corner, before second half goals from Rose Lavelle and Jess Park sealed the win.

Running out 3-0 victors, Gareth Taylor's side produced a dominant and thoroughly professional display to make it two wins from two in Group C.

There was further cause for celebration as Karen Bardsley made her 100th appearance for the Club, marking the achievement with a clean sheet.


What happened

With celebrations from our Women’s FA Cup win yet to die down, City headed into the clash in excellent spirits, eager to use Sunday’s success as a springboard for further glory.

There was little time to savour the triumph with attentions switching to Conti Cup action on Wednesday afternoon and a buoyant City were eager to claim the victory needed to move top of our group with one game remaining.

The visitors started well, as Jill Scott created the game’s first opportunity, driving just over the bar, before the weekend’s FA Cup heroine Georgia Stanway was denied by Foster.

Coombs then tried her luck against her former Club, with a low effort, which Foster was again equal to, and Park was then denied a certain opener, as Rhiannon Roberts nipped the ball away with the in-form winger ready to pounce.

Stanway went close again with a long-range effort, as City gained control, though Liverpool looked threatening on the counter-attack.

At the other end, Ashley Hodson looked to catch Bardsley off her line but clipped narrowly over before Rinsola Babajide spurned a great chance, latching onto but mis-controlling Alex Greenwood’s backpass.

Heeding the warning, City responded with a moment of magic crafted by two former Liverpool stars, as Coombs plucked Bonner’s lofted pass out of the air and looping a delightful half-volley over Foster to break the deadlock in style and bag her first of the season.

Continuing where we left off after the break, Park showed great strength to carve out a chance of her own making, dispossessing and forcing Foster into a stop at her near post.

The points were effectively wrapped up six minutes after the restart with a well-worked second.

Park, who provided the through-ball for Stanway to strike in the FA Cup Final, was involved again, releasing Lucy Bronze down the right and the pacey full-back drove forward before cutting back for half-time substitute Lavelle to slide home.

Janine Beckie then went in search for her second goal in two games, flashing an effort just over, while substitute Ellen White felt she should have had a penalty when upended by Leighanne Robe - only to see protests waved away by referee Sarah Garratt.

Scott then headed off-target but City would bag a third in injury time when Park swept home at the far post to cap an excellent week for the Club.

What it means

City continue our 100% record to go top of Group C with one game remaining.

Everton and Manchester United were due to face off on Wednesday night (19:00 UK) at Walton Hall Park but the game was called off due to safety concerns on site arising from damage caused by high winds.

That game will be rescheduled in due course before Manchester and Merseyside Derbies conclude the group stage campaign in a fortnight’s time.


How we lined up

As expected, Taylor rang the changes for the clash, opting for eight alterations to Sunday’s side, as Bardsley, Esme Morgan, Bonner, Coombs, Scott, Park, Stanway and Beckie were restored to the starting XI.

Centurion Bardsley took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Morgan, Greenwood, Bonner and Bronze.

Sam Mewis was employed in the defensive midfield role, positioned behind Coombs and captain Scott, while Park and Beckie occupied the wings and Stanway led the line upfront.

Stat attack

The clash marked City’s 200th game since we relaunched as a professional outfit in 2014.

Bardsley made her 100th City appearance at Prenton Park, while Janine Beckie clocked her 50th.

Up next…

City return to FA Women’s Super League action with the visit of Bristol City to the Academy Stadium on Saturday 7 November (15:00 UK time).

Taylor’s side then have a week to prepare for two Manchester Derbies in a week, as we travel to face Manchester United in the FA WSL on Saturday 17 November (12:30 UK) before locking horns again in the Conti Cup the following Thursday (19 November, 19:00 UK).

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