Steph Houghton

Manchester City crushed West Ham United 7-1 at the Academy Stadium on Sunday afternoon although the score didn’t reflect on the visitors brave performance.

City took the lead inside just 2 minutes when Scotland international Caroline Weir hit a scorching volley the ball looping over Hammers goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer and into the net.

It wasn’t long before the Sky Blues doubled their lead as Nikita Parris picked up a poor clearance from Ria Percival and she looped a perfectly executed back header over the advancing Spencer and into the net for her fifth goal of the season.

Nick Cushing would have been delighted with his sides start and they had a third on 17 minutes when Parris was set free on goal before rounding the onrushing Spencer and slotting the ball into the empty net.

West Ham were struggling to deal with the home sides pace going forward however they created their first chance of the game on 19 minutes when Alisha Lehmann fired in a perfect cross to the back-post to Julia Simic but she blazed her effort over the bar when well placed to score.

The Hammers then settled down from the early onslaught and had another good opening on the half hour mark when Lehmann skipped past the challenge from Claire Emslie before her cross found former City striker Jane Ross, but her effort was well blocked by Steph Houghton.

Five minutes later it was the visitors who threatened again as the impressive Lehmann played an inch perfect pass to Simic but she fired her effort across Ellie Roebuck’s goal and wide of the target when the ball looked like it was creeping in.

City were playing some superb one touch football and they cut the Iron’s defence open on 40 minutes when Esme Morgan and Caroline Weir played in Emslie but just as she was about to let fly she was well tackled by Erin Simon.

In a frantic start to the second half West Ham had a perfect opportunity to pull a goal back as Ross was played in on goal by Brianna Visalli but she was denied by a fantastic save from the legs of Roebuck.

On 53 minutes it was the Hammers once again who had a fine chance to score as Roebuck made another fine save after Visalli had cut inside from the right.
However, Cushing’s side could have had their fourth on 61 minutes as Gemma Bonner’s cross was well blocked by Claire Rafferty before the ball looped into the air before being well claimed by the gloves of Spencer.

Spencer made another fine save on 64 minutes as Kiera Walsh got behind Rafferty but her effort across goal was well saved by the fine reactions of the keeper.
City did have their fourth on 72 minutes when Spencer’s chipped clearance to Rafferty was picked up by Parris before she drove past Brooke Hendrix and unselfishly squared the ball to substitute Georgia Stanway and she slotted the ball into the net.

Roebuck in the City goal was called into action a minute later as she made another excellent save this time to keep out a long-range strike from Kate Longhurst.
City however added a fifth on 75 minutes when Houghton met a Weir free-kick before thumping her header into the net out of the reach from the despairing dive of Spencer.
As West Ham began to tire Spencer made yet another fine save as she tipped over a curling strike from an acute angle from Walsh.

The home side however added a sixth as the fantastic Tessa Wulleart played a defence splitting pass into Stanway and she made no mistake in slotting the ball beyond Spencer.

West Ham however responded in a positive fashion and went up the other to pull a goal back as Esmee De Graaf got behind the Blues defence before smashing the ball past the onrushing Roebuck a goal their work rate deserved.

City then added a seventh on 86 minutes as Wulleart unleashed a powerful drive that slipped out of the hands of Spencer and into the net a moment that that the Hammers keeper won’t want to see again.

In the final minute of the game Cushing could have saw his side add an eighth as Stanway crossed the ball into the back-post to Houghton but she couldn’t reach the ball as it trickled behind in the final piece of action in the match.


Manchester City

Roebuck, Bonner, Beattie, Houghton, Scott, Morgan, Parris, Weir, Emslie, Walsh, Wullaert.

West Ham United

Spencer, Percival, Simon, Hendrix, Flaherty, Lehmann, Ross, Simic, Rafferty, Longhurst, Visalli.


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