With just a handful of games remaining, Manchester City welcomed Leicester to the Academy Stadium. The two sides have met three times this season with the Blues putting 15 goals past the Foxes. Birmingham’s shock win over Brighton will no doubt have left Lydia Bedford’s side desperate to secure some valuable points in the relegation battle.
Starting XI’s Manchester City & Leicester City
Roebuck; Bronze, Kennedy, Greenwood (Mace ’76), Blakstad (Stokes ’65), Walsh (Angeldahl ’76), Coombs (Stanway ’65), Weir, Hemp, Kelly, White (c) (Shaw
Lambourne; De Graaf, Howard, McManus (c) ( Barker ’65), Plumptre, Purrfield, Goodwin, Pike, O’Brien (Scofield ’65), Gregory, FlintEmbed from Getty Images
Manchester City vs Leicester City: How it went
The opening spell saw the visitors forced to weather an extended spell of possession by their opponents. With City enjoying an overload on the wing, the Foxes were forced to maintain a high line for much of the opening spell of the tie. Despite Bedford’s sides defensive efforts, the opening goal came just 16 minutes into the tie. A Chloe Kelly cross was converted by Caroline Weir for a ten yard tap in. The goal may not have been as impressive as many scored by the No.19 however with City needing to make up vital goal difference in the pursuit for third, it is unlikely that Gareth Taylor will pay much attention to the manner of the goal.
The first half drew on with the hosts still dominating as the Foxes struggled to get a hold of the tie. The second goal came in the final moments of the first half as Lauren Hemp doubled the hosts advantage. Hemp’s close-range shot was the result of an excellent piece of build-up play by the No.15 alongside Ellen White and Julie Blakstad. The third goal came deep into injury time as Blakstad converted from a tight angle after a solo run on goal.Embed from Getty Images
Leicester’s first real chance of the game came 10 minutes into the second half as the Foxes were awarded a free kick. Purrfield’s shot however proved little trouble for Ellie Roebuck as the No.26 made an easy save. City’s fourth goal came in the way of a penalty as Hemp was brought down just inside the box by Demi Lambourne. Alex Greenwood’s spot kick easily found the bottom right corner as the Leicester keep dived the wrong way. Further chances came for the Sky Blues, however, none were enough to trouble the Leicester No.1. As the tie drew to a close, Manchester City increased their push for a fifth.
The tie finished with a convincing 4-0 win to the hosts. The three points see the Blues move into third place on goal difference. With Manchester United still to play, will Manchester City finish the weekend in the Champions League spots?Embed from Getty Images
The City boss was clearly pleased with his team’s performance. Speaking after the game, Taylor praised his side’s work rate throughout the game. He did however explain that he had felt the game had at times fallen flat with his team not testing the Leicester keeper enough in certain spells.
Taylor also confirmed that Jess Park is currently unavailable for selection. The 20 year old has not featured in City’s last two games. The forward sustained a calf injury whilst on international duty with England’s under 23’s. With the No.16 hopefully returning to pitch training in the coming week, Taylor was hopeful that the youngster could play a part in either the final game of the season or the FA Cup Final.
Lydia Bedford was pleased with her sides performance despite suffering a heavy defeat. The Leicester boss however did regret that her side had not maintained the game’s competitiveness for longer in the tie. Bedford did admit that her teams style of play may need to adapt when facing some of the tougher teams in the league. When asked about Birmingham’s win against Brighton, Bedford seemed confident that her side would be able to fight for their survival in the WSL.
Manchester City will next welcome Brighton to the academy stadium as the Blues look to secure third place. Leicester will face Reading who will make the journey to the King Power.