City march on with Continental Tyres Cup victory at Doncaster
The Belles fight back but City do enough to hold on in a 3-2 thriller with Emslie opening the scoring
FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup match
19:30, Wednesday 6 December 2017
Doncaster Rovers Belles Goal Scorers: Sigsworth 54', Murray 77'
Manchester City Women Goal Scorers: Emslie 4', Ross 55', Stanway 58'
Claire Emslie’s early opener paved the way for another Manchester City win as they confirmed their place atop their FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup group by beating Doncaster Rovers Belles.
City asserted their dominance after just four minutes of an entertaining game as Emslie tucked away Steph Houghton’s cross from the right after Doncaster only managed to get a corner halfway clear.
Jess Sigsworth twice had the chance to equalise in the first half, but headed just over the bar from Kirsty Hanson’s excellent cross before later curling a loose ball wide from the edge of the City box.
Substitute Izzy Christiansen could have doubled City’s lead 11 minutes before the break after Nicky Davies’ clearance went straight to Emslie on the edge of the box, but Rhiannon Roberts blocked her placed attempt on goal.
Doncaster briefly drew level nine minutes after the break as Sigsworth’s efforts finally paid off, with her shot from the edge of the box deflecting past Marie Hourihan.
But City restored their lead just a minute later as Jane Ross poked home through a crowded box at the end of an attack that began with the kick-off.
Georgia Stanway doubled City’s advantage four minutes later to kill the game, bagging her fifth goal of the season with a fiercely-struck close range effort.
The Belles continued battling, however, and clawed another goal back through Christie Murray, who slotted home from substitute Rebecca Rayner’s clever lay-off after Samantha Tierney had a shot blocked.
Doncaster interim head coach Katie Rowson said:
“I’ve just said to the girls I’m really, really, really proud of them. They’ve given a good account of themselves as individuals, as a team, and as a club, and that’s what we set out to do.
“I don’t know this but I’m guessing that Man City didn’t expect a game like we gave them, so it’s a huge kudos to the players and the hard work they’ve been putting in and the preparations we made for the game.
“You can see that when we equalised, yes City did go up a gear and got two very quick goals, but that’s what good teams can do.
“The kudos to our girls is that they carried on, we kept our shape and we got even more composed on the ball.
“I think that’s what let us down in the first quarter of the game, but actually once we got the composure, it went all the way through to ninety-plus minutes. I’m very, very proud of them.”
Manchester City manager Nick Cushing added:
“We took the opportunity to put in some young players who have been in the first team squad and need a game and obviously we had some development players on the bench and managed to get Jess Park on.
“I think when you make some changes like that and mix it up, your levels are always going to drop and dip a little bit.
“But it is what it is. When you put young players on there you gamble with the level of performance you’re going to get.
“In this sort of game, we gambled that Mel Lawley and Mie Jans would be able to survive on the level of fitness that they have. We got them through it and we just need to see how they react now.”
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Doncaster Rovers Belles 2
Sigsworth 54, Murray 77
Manchester City 3
Emsley 4, Ross 55, Stanway 59
Doncaster Rovers Belles (4-3-3): Nicky Davies; Sophie Bradley-Auckland, Rhiannon Roberts, Leandra Little, Sophie Barker; Sophie Walton, Emily Simpkins, Samantha Tierney; Kirsty Hanson, Christie Murray, Jess Sigsworth
Substitutes: Rachel Newborough for Bradley-Auckland 62, Rebecca Rayner for Walton 69, Monique Watson for Sigsworth 77
Substitutes not used: Bethan Davies, Olivia Cook, Izzy Whittle
Red Cards: None
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Marie Hourihan; Esme Morgan, Steph Houghton, Jen Beattie, Mie Jans; Abbie McManus, Keira Walsh; Claire Emslie, Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone; Jane Ross
Substitutes: Izzy Christiansen for Walsh 9, Mel Lawley for Emslie 46, Jess Park for Christiansen 71
Substitutes not used: Karen Bardsley, Poppy Pattinson, Brenna McPartlan, Serena Fletcher
Red Cards: None
Referee: Rebecca Welch