Parris brace seals fine victory for Manchester City
Nikita Parris netted twice at Manchester City returned to the top of the FA WSL table
FA WSL 1 match
12:30, Sunday 11 February 2018
Manchester City Women Goal Scorers: Parris 1',60'
Manchester City ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against Liverpool to move back to the top of FA WSL 1 and extend their season unbeaten run.
Two goals from Nikita Parris plus an Izzy Christiansen penalty and a rare goal for Abbie McManus saw Nick Cushing’s side navigate a potentially difficult encounter with both sides missing key players.
The result hoists City back above Chelsea to the top of the league standings after the Blues had beaten Birmingham.
Manchester City 4
Parris 2 & 60, Christiansen (pen) 56, McManus 73
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ellie Roebuck; Abbie McManus, Mie Jans, Jennifer Beattie, Demi Stokes; Keira Walsh, Izzy Christiansen, Georgia Stanway; Nikita Parris, Nadia Nadim, Claire Emslie
Substitutes: Ella Toone for Stanway 63, Melissa Lawley for Emslie 72
Substitutes not used: Fran Bentley, Esme Morgan, Julia Spetsmark, Jane Ross
Red Cards: None
Liverpool (4-1-4-1): Becky Flaherty; Satara Murray, Amy Turner, Sophie Ingle, Alex Greenwood; Kate Longhurst; Martha Harris, Laura Coombs, Caroline Weir, Beth England; Jess Clarke
Substitutes: Ali Johnson for Turner 65, Rinsola Babajide for Harris 65, Lucy Roberts for Longhurst 86
Substitutes not used: Emily Ramsey, Ash Hodson, Amy Rogers
Red Cards: None
Referee: Scott Simpson
The opener came within 90 seconds and in bizarre fashion as Sophie Ingle’s attempted clearance hit Parris clean in the face and bounced past a helpless Becky Flaherty.
Liverpool found themselves pinned back in what became an uneventful opening half with neither goalkeeper forcibly called into action at any point.
But the defending champions stepped things up a gear after the break and were presented with the perfect chance to double their lead when Caroline Weir brought down Parris inside the box.
It was left to Christiansen to step home and smash home her eighth goal of the season to give Cushing the breathing space he and his team were craving.
Liverpool produced their best moment immediately after but Beth England saw her effort saved by Ellie Roebuck before Parris headed home her second and City’s third from Claire Emslie’s corner.
The final hammer blow in a tough week for Scott Rodgers’ side came with little over 15 minutes remaining as Abbie McManus found herself free inside the box. Her initial effort was blocked but the rebound hit McManus on the knee and once again left Flaherty with no chance.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Nikita Parris had an afternoon to remember having notched up a brace for the league leaders at the Academy Stadium.
Her first goal may have been fortuitous but her second was a neat header thanks to a pinpoint Claire Emslie corner to confirm the victory.
WHAT THEY SAID
Liverpool manager Scott Rogers said: “The game plan was out of the window after 60 seconds against a team that hasn’t lost in the league here for three years. “We tried to frustrate them and limited opportunities and I felt we did that in the first half but we’re still going in at half-time 1-0 down from an error that wasn’t part of the plan.
“It’s been a tough week for us, City had a week to prepare for this and we’ve had two days, it was always going to be a mountain for us.
“We had one or two half chances and the top teams will always get their chances eventually. Once it went to 2-0 it changed our mentality and we had to open up and when you do that against a team like City you get punished. “When you’re winning games, things seem to roll your way but today it didn’t really go for us.
Nikita Parris said: “It was always going to be a tough game and that’s why the early goal for us was such a positive because we knew Liverpool were going to sit deep and try and frustrate us.
“They sat on their 18-yard line and we had to break them down but we had that persistence to grind them down. We got a bit of luck and I’d be totally lying if I said I meant the first goal but I’ll take any goal as it comes.
“I think you saw out on the pitch no matter who’s out there we put out a performance. The girls who have come in have done their job and we’re always going to put in a performance.
“This is definitely the best form I’ve been in since joining City and that’s credit to Nick and the coaching staff because they’re determined to keep pushing me and they’ve done that in ways I didn’t even know I could.”
Both teams are in SSE Women’s FA Cup duty next week as Liverpool travel to third tier Chichester and cup holders go to Birmingham City in a repeat of last season’s final.
Rogers added: “There’s no easy game in the FA WSL and Sunderland is no different, we can’t take our eye off the FA Cup next week but Sunderland is a bit of an afterthought because we have to prioritise Chichester at the moment.
“I’m not sure if we’ll have players back, we’ll have to see how the players respond over the next week but fingers crossed we can get some players back because in our two biggest games we’ve had some good players sat in the stand.
City boss Nick Cushing added: “I don’t expect a different challenge from Birmingham than what we usually get, if you watch the game we played here we had to rely on penalties and a throw-in to win the game.
“Birmingham passed the ball really well and we just have to apply ourselves in the right way because we know Birmingham are a tough game to play. “We know they’ve had some really good results and even when they’ve had disappointing results they’ve played well and been really proud of their performances.”
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