Report: Sunderland 0-1 Man City Women
- 31 May 2017 21:58
- Posted by @AdamPercival95
Man City Women grabbed a dramatic late winner to keep their FA WSL Spring Series title hopes alive.
Georgia Stanway’s stunning injury time strike gave the Blues a deserved victory against Sunderland in their penultimate game of the tournament.
The Black Cats looked to have held out a goalless draw but a loose ball was punished by Stanway who rifled her effort into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Beautiful sunshine greeted Nick Cushing's side as they made the long journey up to the North East, and the travelling supporters were rewarded with an entertaining and fast-paced affair.
It was almost the perfect start for the visitors when Stanway worked herself into a great position on the fifth minute mark, but could only watch her low curling effort bounce just wide of Anke Preuss’s far post.
City dominated possession in the opening 15 minutes; Stanway had an effort blocked while Jill Scott’s drilled attempt from 25 yards - the best of the chances in this period - dragged away from the target.
The hosts grew into the game and began to put pressure on City’s goal. A deflected Dominique Bruinenberg attempt from the right deflected kindly to Stephanie Roche inside the area but Ellie Roebuck produced a wonderful save with her right foot to prevent the breakthrough.
City had the best chance of the half just past the 30-minute mark as Izzy Christiansen cut open the Black Cats defence with a wonderful through ball to find Jane Ross, who rounded the goalkeeper and sent her effort trickling towards goal, only to be denied by a charging Victoria Williams who at full speed hacked clear off-the-line.
Abbey Joice didn’t appear to know the ball had struck her from Sunderland’s corner, yet her header was on target and needed Roebuck to pull off a wonderful reaction to save to stop the ball dead on the line.
City almost grabbed the opener with virtually the last kick of the half. Skipper Steph Houghton struck a wonderful free-kick in stoppage time which curled over the wall, causing Preuss to pull off an acrobatic save to tip her effort over the bar.
The fatigue of the summer series showed in the second half which was played at a more pedestrian pace. Stanway tried to catch Preuss off her line after the keeper sliced her clearance but Hayley Sharp blocked the winger’s long-range attempt.
Toni Duggan and Mel Lawley came into the game to reignite City’s attack, which had stagnated slightly. Despite the pace decreasing, the BLues never slowed down their pursuit for the breakthrough in the final 15 minutes.
Midfielder Lawley found Nikita Parris inside the box on 75 minutes with a neat ball but the winger was unable to test the keeper from close range.
The Black Cats put up a solid defence to hold out for a point, yet were spared their blushes after Houghton was left free at the back post. The skipper couldn’t bundle the ball from Stanway’s corner the right side of the post on the 88th minute.
As the fourth official raised his board for three minutes of additional time, it seemed the Blues would be coming away with just a point.
However, City were rewarded for their persistence in the final minute of play, when Stanway collected the ball on the edge of the area. The winger stepped up to smash home and grab all three points with a thumping effort into the top corner, sending the travelling supporters behind the goal into hysteria.
What this means…
City keep the fight for the Spring Series going down to the final game, where they’ll travel to Liverpool at the weekend.
League leaders Chelsea - level on points with City but with a far superior goal difference - visit Birmingham, while third-placed Arsenal (a point behind the two) are at Bristol City.