Continental Cup Ewen Fields, Hyde Att:752 dimanche 7 septembre 2014 13:00:00
- Helen Byrne
- Houghton (c)
- Flint (Kete 89 mins)
- Remplaçants non utilisés:
- Brooks, Nightingale, Walsh, Brougham, Harding, Young.
- Buet (Blundell 78 mins)
- Borges (Groenen 64 mins)
- Chapman (c)
- Spence (Ayane 46 mins)
- Remplaçants non utilisés:
- Endler, Coombs, Meiwald, Ayane.
Manchester City Women booked their place in the final of the Continental Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Chelsea Ladies at Ewen Fields, Hyde.
A solitary Toni Duggan strike on 51 minutes earned the victory for Nick Cushing's side, who made history, setting up the Club’s first ever cup final.
Having lost twice to the London outfit already this season, the hosts were desperate for revenge and backed by a vocal following, produced a superb performance to down the visitors – particularly in the second half.
It was a thoroughly impressive display mirroring a fine cup run, which saw City top the table in the group stage notching 12 points from a possible 15.
Cushing made two changes to the side that rescued a draw at Notts County in midweek, with Isobel Christiansen and Betsy Hassett returning to the starting line-up in place of Chelsea Nightingale and Keira Walsh.
A familiar back line of Emma Lipman, Kathleen Radtke, Steph Houghton and Abbie McManus took their place in front of Karen Bardsley, while Hassett and Jill Scott controlled the midfield.
Christiansen operated in a more advanced role with Duggan and Krystle Johnston. Natasha Flint started alone up front.
It was clear both sides had their eyes firmly on the prize from the off, and the opening exchanges were fast-paced with plenty of chances.
The first real opportunity of the afternoon arrived on 11 minutes as Flint latched on to a stray back-pass before rounding the goalkeeper. With no support, the youngster had to try a shot from a tight angle but fired her effort agonisingly into the side netting.
Chelsea responded well as Eniola Aluko – the Blues’ main threat - saw a shot deflected wide, before Duggan cut inside well only to drill the ball just the wrong side of the post.
Aluko fired off-target again on a rare occasion when the visitors penetrated the hosts’ defence. Throughout the first half, City worked tirelessly to win back possession. Radtke slid in with some timely challenges, while Duggan, Scott and Johnston tracked back well from midfield to regain the ball.
After a flurry of end-to-end action, Chelsea gained a foothold in the game and looked comfortable in possession for long spells without really testing Bardsley. Ji So-yun curled a free-kick wide as the home side conceded a number of free-kicks but it was City who were creating the better chances.
Hassett’s first-time effort flew wide before Flint was played through and shot straight at Marie Hourihan. Duggan’s header then suffered the same fate from Christiansen’s floated cross as the hosts pressed forward towards the end of the half.
Despite the pressure, City could not find the back of the net and both sides went in level at the break.
The home side continued where they left off after the restart and should have broken the deadlock when Flint was played through by Johnston. The youngster rounded the goalkeeper once again – only for her effort to hit the post.
Minutes later though, Cushing's side deservedly took the lead. It was more hard work from Duggan that created the chance, as the striker picked up on a loose ball before firing an effort past Hourihan and into the bottom corner.
The resulting celebrations cemented just how much it meant to the players.
With the lead, City were in complete control and sought to extend it, as Duggan hit the post before Scott’s effort was deflected wide.
The hosts also defended resiliently, retaining the ball with some intricate passages of play so the visitors were restricted to half-chances as the game entered its final minutes.
Substitute Hannah Blundell blazed over before Aluko’s header was plucked out of the air by Bardsley – but in truth, once City had taken the lead, they never looked like relinquishing it.
Johnston fired into the side netting in a nervy five minutes of injury time but a single goal proved enough as City hung on for an historic victory to set up a mouth-watering final against Arsenal Ladies.
The scenes at the final whistle reflected the magnitude of the win, which is a fantastic achievement in the Club’s debut season in the top flight.
There is only one way to watch City’s Capital One Cup third round clash with Sheffield Wednesday live.
The first step towards defending our trophy won at Wembley in March will not be shown live on TV anywhere in the UK, so make sure you’re at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday 24 September.
Prices start at £5 for under-16s and £15 for adults, so no excuses: get your ticket now and make sure you don’t miss out!