Manchester City marked our first home match of the season with a 4-0 Barclays Women’s Super League victory over Leicester City.

A Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw brace and Lauren Hemp header set the tone for what was a deserved triumph in front of 2,853 supporters.

And a memorable afternoon was capped off when City debutant Yui Hasegawa fired home from distance to round off the scoring.

With our initial home opener postponed following the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II in September, City ensured the wait for football at the Academy Stadium was worthwhile.

What happened

City had finished the previous WSL season with seven victories from our last eight matches at the Academy Stadium, and the early signs suggested our fine run on home soil would continue.

The breakthrough almost came inside six minutes when Hemp’s deflected cross fell invitingly for Deyna Castellanos inside the area, but her effort was well saved by Kirstie Levell down to her left.

Our bright start continued, with Chloe Kelly cannoning a long-range effort off the top of the crossbar after being fed down the right by Esme Morgan, as Gareth Taylor’s side continued to turn the screw.

Although Leicester were under the cosh, the visitors did spurn a decent opportunity just after the 20-minute mark when Sophie Howard glanced a header wide at the far post after a cleverly worked set-piece routine.

But that chance only served to spring City back to life once again, with the opening goal of the game coming from a familiar source in the following passage of play.

Another incisive run down the left flank from Hemp stretched the Leicester defence, and her floated cross to the back post was gobbled up by an unmarked Shaw.

But Gareth Taylor’s side were thankful to Morgan as half-time approached who, fresh from making her England debut in midweek, was in the right place at the right time to block a goal-bound volley from Foxes captain Aileen Whelan.

Normal service resumed soon after with Castellanos a lick of paint from marking her home debut with a goal, but while the hosts’ control on proceedings never truly seemed in doubt, it took until the 66th minute for City’s first real sight of goal after the restart.

The chance fell to Laia Aleixandri, whose powerful header was too high to trouble the Foxes’ net after good play down the right from Kelly.

City’s number nine continued to be a thorn in Leicester’s side, and some typically fine wing play from the England international finally broke our opponents’ stubborn resistance with around 20 to play.

Her cross into the far post was met by Hemp, who headed an unstoppable effort past Levell.

It was Kelly’s final act before being replaced by Hayley Raso, and the Australian forced a fine save from the Foxes stopper from close-range soon after.

However, number three would follow when Shaw was upended inside the penalty area.

And while Alex Greenwood’s spot kick was saved by Levell, the Jamaican showed her poacher’s instinct to knock home the rebound for her fifth goal in as many matches this season.

But the final say on what was a memorable afternoon went to debutant Hasegawa, who marked a tireless display from midfield with a fourth.

The Japanese international switched the ball onto her right foot and, through a crowd of Leicester bodies, found the far corner of the net in style from the edge of the area.

Player of the match: Yui Hasegawa

Composed with the ball, tenacious without it, the midfielder slotted seamlessly into Gareth Taylor‘s side and demonstrated why the boss was so keen to bring her to the Club.

Her late effort was just rewards for a player that is surely going to go from strength to strength at the Academy Stadium.

What it means

Victory moves City up to eighth in the WSL table, with three points from three matches so far.

How we lined up

Ellie Roebuck started between the sticks, shielded by a back four of Kerstin Casparij, Laia Aleixandri, Alex Greenwood and Esme Morgan.

Yui Hasegawa started in front of the defence, with Deyna Castellanos and Laura Coombs completing the midfield three.

At the sharp end, Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp flanked Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw.

City XI: Roebuck, Casparij, Aleixandri (Ouahabi 80’), Greenwood (C) (Houghton 82’), Morgan, Hasegawa, Castellanos (Angeldahl 80’), Coombs, Kelly (Raso 73’), Hemp (Blakstad 82’), Shaw.

Subs: MacIver, Stokes, Fowler, Losada.

Leicester XI: Levell, Tierney, Bott, Whelan (C), Simon, Green (Flint 68’), Howard, Jones (Goodwin 57’), Plumptre, Purfield (Pike 57’), O’Brien.

Subs: Poor, Vance, McManus, Goodwin, Scofield.

Match Stats

  • Lauren Hemp has been involved in 13 goals in her last nine WSL home appearances (six goals, seven assists). She’s scored and assisted in her last four home appearances, with only one player ever achieving that also – Beth Mead, who is on an ongoing run of four in a row for Arsenal.
  • City have won eight of our last nine home WSL matches (D1), scoring 34 goals and conceding just three across this run.
  • City have scored at least four goals in each of our last five home WSL games, the longest ever run in the competition’s history.

Up next

City are back on the road next week when we face Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Women’s Super League.

Kick-off at Brisbane Road is scheduled for 11:30 (UK) on Saturday 22 October.

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