Houghton celebrates her birthday in style as Man City take vital three points

Chloe Kelly and Steph Houghton hug as they celebrate a goal for Manchester City
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Chloe Kelly embraces Steph Houghton of Manchester City following their teams victory and both scoring during the FA Women's Super League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at The Academy Stadium on April 23, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Manchester City captain Steph Houghton enjoyed a welcome birthday gift as her side scooped a crucial three points in the Women’s Super League.

The Citizens romped to a confident 6-2 win against West Ham, with Houghton herself getting on the scoresheet.

The skipper joined the goalscoring action alongside WSL leading scorer Bunny Shaw, Mary Fowler, Laura Coombs, and Chloe Kelly who bagged a brace.

City’s victory sees them move into second in the WSL table, three points behind Manchester United.

Man City vs West Ham — Starting XIs

Manchester City

Kheating; Casparij (Ouahabi ’70), Greenwood, Houghton (c), Coombs (Castellanos ‘ 63), Kelly, Hemp (Raso ’75), Angeldahl, Morgan, Shaw (Fowler ‘ 70), Hasegawa

West Ham

Arnold; Smith, Shimizu, Evans, Snerle (Atkinson ’69), Brynjarsdottir, Parker (Tysiak ’82), Hayashi (Thestrup ’69), Fisk, Cissoko (Longhurst ’57), Asseyi

How it went

In the opening moments, both sides provided a good few chances as the game promised drama from the off. Just five minutes in and Kelly found the opener for the hosts. A stunning strike from 25 yards out left Mackenzie Arnold unable to make contact with the ball.

No sooner had play resumed the No.9 bagged her second of the evening. Coming in almost an identical manner, the forward smashed the ball into the Hammers’ net, securing her brace in less than a minute.

However, four minutes later, the visitors had managed to pull one back. Emma Snerle’s close-angled shot caught Khiara Kheating wrong-footed. After a few shaky moments for the hosts it would be Gareth Taylor’s side to find the next goal. A free header from six yards out saw Coombs bag City’s third in the 25th minute.

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After a quiet opening spell, it was Shaw who found the first goal of the second half. The Jamaica international managed to turn the ball home, following defensive mix up in the penalty area. Just three minutes later, Man City captain Houghton managed to get her name on the scoresheet. Tapping the ball in at the back post, the skipper was able to snag Gareth Taylor’s fifth of the night.

The 72nd minute saw Lisa Evans bag a second for the visitors, although it would prove to merely a consolation for the Irons.

A rare goal for Fowler put the Sky Blues a clear four goals ahead with less than 10 minutes to go. The Australian international headed the ball home from close range, ultimately cementing their victory.

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