With just three league games remaining, Manchester City welcomed Brighton to the Academy Stadium. The two sides met in January when the Blues’ dominant second-half performance saw them put six past the Seagulls. The two sides had met 6 times previously with Manchester City claiming victory five times.
Starting XI’s Manchester City vs Brighton
Roebuck; Bronze, Kennedy (Mace ’72), Greenwood (c), Stokes, Walsh, Stanway, Weir (Angeldahl ’78), Kelly (Raso ’63), Hemp (Blakstad ’72), Shaw (White ’78)
Walsh; Le Tissier, Kullberg, Williams (Kerkdijk ’62) Koivisto, Connolly (Simpkins ’87), Zigiotti, Lee (Symonds ’87), Kaagman, Carter (Whelan ’72), GreenEmbed from Getty Images
How it went
The start of the game brought chances for both sides within the opening seconds. A defensive error for the Sky Blues almost allowed the visitors an opener within the first minute of the tie. It was the hosts however who broke the deadlock just three minutes in. Bunny Shaw’s left-footed strike from around 20 yards out saw the Jamaican score her 15th goal in all competitions. The Blues second goal came just nine minutes later as Shaw’s close-range shot found the back of the net. The third goal came soon after as Caroline Weir tapped home a deflected effort by Shaw in the 16th minute.
The 20th minute appeared to have brought a change of fortunes as Brighton were awarded a penalty. A challenge on Lee Geum-Min by Keira Walsh saw the Seagulls awarded the decision with Inessa Kaagman stepping up to take the spot kick. The No.10’s shot flew to Ellie Roebuck’s top right with the City No.26 diving the opposite way. The goal seemed to reinvigorate the visitors with Hope Powell’s side beginning to ask more questions of their opponents.
More chances came for the Sky Blues as the first half progressed however Megan Walsh was equal to the danger. The second goal for the visitors came in the final moments of the first half. Julia Zigotti’s effort saw Roebuck unable to stop the ball as it found the back of her net.Embed from Getty Images
Second half: Manchester City destroy Brighton
The second half began in much the same way as the first. It was Hope Powell’s side however who almost added to the scoreline first. An attacking break for the visitors saw them barrel down on Roebuck’s goal with the resulting shot flying over the crossbar. It wasn’t long however before City’s No.21 continued her dominant scoring performance from the first half. The Jamaican international scored her 17th and 18th club goals in just three minutes. A 67th-minute right-footed shot was followed just three minutes later by an almost identical goal marking her third and fourth of the afternoon.
From there Manchester City began to assert its dominance in the tie. The 68th minute saw Alex Greenwood head home Weir’s corner for City’s sixth of the afternoon. Less than a minute later Lauren Hemp found the back of the net from barely five yards out, bending the ball past Walsh in the Brighton net. The match finished with a resounding win for the hosts who now sit two points clear of United with an extra game still to play. The victory marks Gareth Taylor’s side 11 wins in a row in all competitions.Embed from Getty Images
Stand out player
Scoring four goals in the game, Bunny Shaw was phenomenal for the hosts. The No.21 has now scored 18 in 26 games across all competitions since joining from Bordeaux in the summer. With City now desperately needing goal difference in the race for Champion’s League qualification, the striker’s work in front of goal is now more valuable than ever.
Manchester City will now face Birmingham at home in their rearranged league fixture on Wednesday night. Brighton will play host to Everton for the Seagull’s final game of the season on Saturday afternoon.