Notts County 0
- Match reports
- 23 March 2016 21:11
- Posted by @roline_mcfc / Pics by Ed Garvey
Manchester City Women left it late to snatch all three points against Notts County and kick-off the new Super League campaign with a bang.
In a game as entertaining as Isobel Christiansen’s live Twitter commentary, it took an injury-time free-kick from skipper Steph Houghton to hand the Blues their second successive win and prove themselves as title contenders.
After all, isn’t grinding out results the mark of champions?
GET IN THERE— Manchester City WFC (@MCWFC) March 23, 2016
Having completed the 2015 season two points shy of top spot, City made clear of their intentions to go one better this time around and should they show the same spirit and character throughout this campaign as they did against the Lady Pies, they will at least be amongst those challenging for honours.
In front of another impressive crowd of 1,173 at the Academy Stadium, the Blues dominated possession from the off and thoroughly deserved their dramatic winner – as did the clash itself, which was packed with action including a missed penalty for both sides.
Having lost Christiansen, the Club’s Player of the Season for 2015, to injury in the FA Women's Cup victory at Liverpool, manager Nick Cushing made one enforced change with Daphne Corboz coming in to replace the England international.
Also in the additional absence of Georgia Stanway, who netted a screamer in Widnes and headed off on international duty earlier in the week, the boss also named Development Squad starlets Zoe Tynan, Alethea Paul and Amelia Kemp on the bench.
The Blues stated their intentions straight from the kick-off, piling early pressure onto the visitors’ goal. Within the first seven minutes, the hosts had forced five corners without testing stand-in ‘keeper Megan Walsh.
The Lady Pies’ first venture into the City penalty area resulted in the first real chance of the game, as referee Joseph Johnson awarded a spot-kick when Jess Clarke was upended.
The forward stepped up to take but drilled wide – a let off for the home side, though it would have been very much against the run of play.
Having survived the scare, City continued where they left off.
Jill Scott tried her luck from distance with a low drive, which Walsh was equal to, whilst Kosovare Asllani spurned the chance to mark her competitive home debut with a goal, as her volley flew high over the bar.
Nikita Parris then sought her second goal in as many games with a curling effort which bounced just wide, before the speedy winger was brought down and a second penalty was awarded.
The deadlock remained unbroken however as Toni Duggan’s effort was saved and gathered at the second attempt.
The Blues had the ball in the net shortly after as Asllani tapped home from close range – only for the linesman to rule the goal out for offside.
Following that, the ball was cleared off the line for a third time as the away side held firm, and Scott called Walsh into action once more in the last real action of the half.
The break hampered the Blues a little and it took time for them to rekindle their rhythm. Houghton was the first to force a save with a trademark free-kick before Scott volleyed over and then drilled wide.
Duggan also saw an effort fly just over as the game looked to be petering out.
However, the captain had other ideas and when the Blues were awarded a free-kick outside the area, strode forward for one last roll of the dice.
Of course, as she has done so often, the centre-back curled home the set-piece to send the crowd in raptures – including a delirious Christiansen!
GOALLLlLllLlLLlKdnskajs— Manchester City WFC (@MCWFC) March 23, 2016
Look out for the best of the midfielder's tweets in a social wrap-up tomorrow!
Next up for City is another home clash against fellow title contenders, Arsenal on Monday 28 March.