Roebuck injury overshadows game of the season

An awful injury to Ellie Roebuck marred an intense, draining and emotional game at the City Football Academy ended in a tense 3-3 draw as Chelsea remain winless away to City.

Chelsea could have taken the lead within 20 seconds, with Sam Kerr getting in behind the defence. Her effort was saved by Ellie Roebuck and Beth England made a mess of the rebound.

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Despite the early pressure, it was City who struck the first blow. Janine Beckie found Ellen White in the box with a slick cross and the England forward tapped in — even if White was offside.

Ellen White: ‘We’re really proud’

“It was pretty crazy to play in, probably a great game for the neutral,” White said after the game.

“For us, we’re a little bit disappointed but there’s still a lot of games left.

“We’re really proud, we gave everything in that game. We really did go for the win.”

Chelsea got themselves level five minutes before the break when Ji So-yun smashed a shot in from 25-yards. Her shot ricocheted off the head of Demi Stokes and into the back of the net.

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City regained the lead on the hour mark. Georgia Stanway broke away to score the 2000th goal of the Women’s Super League. She burst away from Millie Bright and then thrashed the ball past Ann-Katrin Berger at the near post.

Another equaliser came and arguably some more misfortune for Manchester City. Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson dove down to head on Beth England’s cross past a stranded Roebuck.

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Roebuck seemed to have a miscommunication between her two hands, leading to the ball slipping past and into the net to make it 2-2.

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City then had a chance to take the lead for the third time when Sophie Ingle tripped Caroline Weir in the box. There was no hesitation from the referee to point straight to the spot.

Stanway stepped up to take the penalty. Berger stood fierce, like a soldier, hands behind her back, unwavering.

The Chelsea goalkeeper took a small step to her left, baited Stanway into her left and leapt magnificently down to deny City the lead.

In fact, it was Chelsea’s turn to take the lead. For the first time in the game no less. This goal was special.

Goal of the season?

Arguably the goal of the season, Beth England thumped the ball home from 35-yards out. The connection on the ball was felt by all of the 3,542 fans at the City Football Academy.

Substitute Ramona Bachmann played what should have been a simple five-yard pass in the build-up to something more intricate. England was having none of that.

She lashed the ball into the top left corner, giving Roebuck no chance of saving it.

That’s now nine consecutive games that England has scored in for Chelsea. She’s got 12 goals in that same time period. The No.9 has come into her own this season.

Now it was City’s turn to dig deep and come from behind. It took them less than two minutes to find the goal to bring them level.

Lauren Hemp was the hero for City this time, with the young England international scoring her fifth goal of the season to rescue a point for City.

Weir carved open the Chelsea defence with a sumptuous ball into the area. Hemp stretched her leg around Maren Mjelde to tap the ball past Berger.

The game took on a sombre tone as it entered what was supposed to be seven minutes of injury time.

Gemma Bonner went down at the end of normal time, forcing a chunk of injury time. Then seven turned into 12 when City and England goalkeeper Roebuck was taken off injured.

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She needed gas and air after seemingly rolling her ankle in a really bad way. Roebuck was stretchered off and will be assessed by City on Monday.

Attention now turns to the SheBelieves Cup, with the next action for both City and Chelsea coming in the FA Cup quarter-finals on March 15.

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