FA WSL Manchester Regional Arena Att:1292 dimanche 12 octobre 2014 13:00:00
Scott Duggan mins)
- Anthony Tankard
- Brougham (Young 90 mins)
- Duggan (c)
- Flint (Nightingale 70 mins)
- Remplaçants non utilisés:
- Hassett, Kete.
- Hourihan (Farrow 11 mins)
- Borges (Buet 58 mins)
- Chapman (c)
- Spence (Groenen 36 mins)
- Remplaçants non utilisés:
- Wilhelmsson, Rafferty, Coombs, Meiwald.
Manchester City Women ensured they ended the FA Women's Super League season on a high with a hard-fought 2-1 win over title-chasing Chelsea Ladies.
First-half goals from Jill Scott and Toni Duggan proved enough for the win for Nick Cushing's side, who also had Abbie McManus sent-off for an off-the-ball incident with 15 minutes to go after Gilly Flaherty had halved the deficit.
Though few had given the league newcomers any chance of claiming three points against a side needing a win to guarantee the title, City produced a fine display to spoil the party for the morning's table-toppers.
The result proved a crucial one in the title race as the hosts' victory handed Liverpool the league crown in place of Chelsea and second-placed Birmingham. The Reds - who had started the day in third place - earned a thumping 3-0 win over Bristol Academy to retain the title on goal difference.
With a surprising line-up which omitted the injured Karen Bardsley and captain Steph Houghton, who had collected her fourth yellow card of the season, many accused the home side of keeping more than one eye on their upcoming cup final.
However, those who featured proved the doubters wrong, working tirelessly to grind out a superb result, ensuring Cushing's side head into Thursday's Continental Cup clash with Arsenal on the back of a positive result
Starlet Keira Walsh protected the defensive line in midfield, with the industrious duo of Scott and Isobel Christiansen pulling the strings in the centre. Krystle Johnston and Duggan operated in more advanced roles, while Natasha Flint led the line upfront.
Fully aware of what was at stake, it was Chelsea who started the brighter in a bid to calm their nerves with an early goal but their plans were scuppered when goalkeeper Marie Hourihan was forced off with an injury after just 11 minutes.
It didn't take long for the home side to take advantage of the visitors' set-back as Flint lobbed wide before Scott netted her second in two games, firing a low, long-range effort past substitute Clare Farrow and into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
With the lead, City looked more comfortable in possession with some fine passages of play - one in particular proved the highlight of the contest.
Scott - influential once again - found space down the right before drilling a cross to Duggan. With only one thing on her mind, City's top scorer chested the ball down before unleashing a delightful volley into the back of the net to double the home side's advantage.
The goals stunned Chelsea, who knew they would have to rely on other results to go their way if they did not find a route back into this game.
Spearheaded by the lightning-fast Eniola Aluko, the away side sought an immediate response but were thwarted on a number of occasions by a stoic City defence and the fine goalkeeping display of young Brooks.
With a comfortable cushion for the home side at the break, it was clear Chelsea would be eager to pile on the pressure in the second period - and that's exactly what they did, though not before Flint headed Johnston's cross wide.
As news of other scores around the league filtered through, Chelsea pressed, desperate for a goal to keep their title hopes alive.
A series of goalmouth scrambles were cleared away well and Brooks was again called into action before the visitors finally penetrated the City defence as Flaherty rose to head the title contenders back into the tie with 20 minutes remaining.
There was more drama to follow when Chelsea were awarded a free-kick. As the set-piece was taken, referee Anthony Tankard spotted an off-the-ball infringement, producing a red card for McManus and ordering the defender down the tunnel for an early bath.
A player light, it was a real backs-to-the-wall challenge for City to hang on to their slender lead but credit to them, they battled hard to preserve it.
Hannah Blundell did almost find an equaliser in the dying moments but fired two efforts off target. There were also a number of penalty appeals turned down as Chelsea knocked ferociously on the proverbial door to salvage what would have been a vital point.
With three added minutes, it was hearts-in-mouths time for the hosts and Brooks produced another super stop low to her left to deny the visitors their elusive leveller.
That proved to be the last real chance of the afternoon and against all odds, City hung on to secure their first win in three and gain some much-needed confidence ahead of their first ever cup final on Thursday night.