Amidst a slew of cancelled fixtures, Manchester City made the journey to Brighton for their first game of the new year.
Gareth Taylor’s squad had ended 2021 in sixth place, with their opponents sitting one spot above them. Meanwhile, Hope Powell’s side had enjoyed a strong start to their campaign, with five league wins out of nine.
Walsh; Koivisto, Kerkdijk (Bowman ’45), Le-Tissier, Whelan, Connolly, Kaagman (Symonds ’57), Green, Brazil, Carter, Williams
Taieb; Bronze (Mace ’69), Kennedy, Greenwood (Houghton ’69), Stokes (Losada ’60), Walsh, Stanway, Coombs, Raso, Hemp (Beckie ’60), White (c)Embed from Getty Images
How it went
Man City enjoyed an early spell of possession, with the visitors having their first attempt on goal just two minutes in. A cross from Alex Greenwood almost found a way past Megan Walsh, however the Brighton goalkeeper was able to hang on to the ball.
The next few minutes were dominated by City with last season’s league runners-up searching for the opening goal.
It was the hosts who found the back of the net first, however the goal was quickly ruled offside. The next few chances went the way of the visitors but the deadlock remained throughout the first half.
It was an own goal that eventually broke the tie. Victoria Williams put the ball beyond her own keeper in the 47th minute.
Just two minutes later, Lauren Hemp delivered a beautiful chip into the net, leaving the hosts struggling to find a way back into the tie. Georgia Stanway then added a third as her shot found the bottom right of the net.
From there came a flurry of chances with Hayley Raso and Hemp having shots blocked. The 54th minute saw Laura Coombs add a fourth goal following a defensive mistake.Embed from Getty Images
The tie saw the return of several Man City players from injury. The most notable of which was captain Steph Houghton, who had been out for four months with an achilles injury.
The skipper immediately made an impact as she set up City’s fifth goal of the afternoon. Her long diagonal ball was nodded forward by Ellen Hemp to allow Hayley Raso to find the back of the net in the 73rd minute. Spanish international Vicky Losada then added a sixth as she chipped the ball beyond Walsh’s reach. Despite several chances, Brighton were unable to find a late consolation goal as the visitors move above them in the league table.
Stand out player
Hayley Raso was once again a vital asset for Taylor’s side. The Australian international was frequently a nightmare for the Brighton defence to handle as she relentlessly chased the ball. With the forward playing a key role in several goals for the Sky Blues as well as her own goal, Raso has proven herself to be an incredible attacking talent.