Arsenal Ladies FC 4
Nobbs (5 mins), Carter (58 mins), Yankey (68 mins), Stoney (82 mins)
- Match reports
- 24 August 2014 16:01
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
Manchester City Women returned to action with a disappointing 4-0 home defeat to Arsenal Ladies.
Goals from Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Rachel Yankey and Casey Stoney earned a convincing victory for the Gunners, who took the lead after just five minutes and never really looked like relinquishing it.
After almost a month without a competitive fixture, this encounter was always going to be a test of fitness and preparation but with the visitors in the same situation, a lack of match action could not be used as an excuse for City's display.
Throughout the afternoon, the away side were sharper, more disciplined and more clinical as the hosts struggled to retain possession and ultimately, create chances.
Ahead of the clash, manager Nick Cushing opted to field a side unchanged from the one that defeated Liverpool Ladies last time out. There was one alteration to the substitutes’ bench as Natasha Flint – fresh from international duty with England U20s in Canada – replaced Georgia Brougham.
There was no respite for the City quartet of Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Toni Duggan and Jill Scott, who featured for England on Thursday night in their World Cup qualification-securing win over Wales, as all four Lionesses were named in the starting line-up.
After a slow start to the season, Arsenal have turned their campaign around, having notched five wins in all competitions since the mid-season break - including an FA Women's Cup final triumph - and they started the brighter at the Manchester Regional Arena.
Straight from the off, the Gunners fired a warning of their intentions and it was clear they did not make the trip up north for a point. They almost opened the scoring after just two minutes but Yankey’s free-kick flew over the bar.
The away side did not have long to wait to break the deadlock though, as Nobbs gave the North London outfit the lead with a stunning long-range lob which sailed over Bardsley and into the back of the net.
It was a shock to the system for the hosts and a test of their character of how they would react to falling behind against the country's most successful women's football team.
Under the watchful eye of Club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, City did respond well but struggled to create any real chances. Isobel Christiansen almost found an equaliser on 16 minutes but she was called offside on one occasion before seeing a long-distance effort pushed wide by Emma Byrne three minutes later.
That was the closest the home side came to equalising in the first half. Arsenal on the other hand looked dangerous on the break, as Yankey fired wide before the hosts' defence did well to block a number of efforts in a goalmouth scramble.
Just a goal behind at the break, the home side were still very much in the game but needed to change their approach in the second period to stand any chance of clawing themselves back level.
As the home side began to build some pressure though, they were hit with a hammer blow as the visitors doubled their lead against the run of play, when Carter fired a shot past Bardsley and into the corner.
The task of finding two goals against a well-organised Arsenal outfit looked a tall order and any hopes of a comeback were dashed ten minutes later, when Yankey swept in Turid Knaak’s cross from close-range to make it 3-0, effectively sealing the contest.
Eager to restore some pride, the home side pressed forward in search of a consolation. Houghton and Emma Lipman both saw efforts well-saved but again, City struggled to string passes together and break down the Gunners' back four, which also caught the hosts offside on a number of occasions.
Arsenal added a fourth through Stoney with eight minutes to go to secure a thumping win for the away side, who narrow the gap between themselves and Cushing's side to a single point.
Overall, it was a day to forget for Manchester City Women who return to action on Wednesday 3 September with a trip to Notts County Ladies.