Manchester City earn back-to-back wins over the weekend to edge past Chelsea in the FA WSL title race.
Manchester City edged past Chelsea in the race for the FA WSL title with back-to-back wins over the weekend and they are now six points clear of their nearest rivals at the top of the table.
But Chelsea can still make that up as they have played two games less, while Arsenal missed the chance to go level with Chelsea on nine points when they could only manage a draw at home to Birmingham City.
City completed a busy bank holiday schedule when they hosted bottom club Doncaster Rovers Belles on Monday. A rampant Manchester City side ran riot scoring five goals in the first forty five minutes to eventually thrash Rovers 6-0. Lucy Bronze opened the scoring for the Blues after seven minutes, racing into the Doncaster area to pick up a pass from Nikita Parris before shooting wide of Keeper Hobbs. This was followed by further goals from Scott, Ross, Beattie and Asllani, before Duggan added a sixth in the seventy fourth minute.
Nikita Parris was again in blistering form down the right wing and was unlucky not to score herself when she twice hit the bar. Jen Beattie also impressed at centre half, playing for the first time this season at the Academy Stadium after being out with a lengthy injury. And she capped a fine game by scoring a typical defender’s headed goal from a corner.
Sadly, Doncaster’s best response came from their fans taking it on the chin and singing “we’re going down and we don’t care!” It’s still much too early to be sure about that, but having lost all their opening three games, the signs aren’t looking good.
City began the bank holiday weekend with a much sterner test at Sunderland on Friday night.
Sunderland started the match well and for half an hour they prevented City from establishing their usual fluent pattern of play. And they almost scored themselves when Roche’s long-range effort just cleared the bar and then a header by the same player was well held by Bardsley, while Beth Mead was a constant threat all through the match.
But City eventually found their rhythm and their better quality was evident as they opened up their opponents defence with some eye-catching one-touch-football that resulted in Asllani testing the keeper with two headers.
In midfield, Corboz was denied the space she enjoyed against Birmingham, but this only meant that Jill Scott was now given the freedom to have her best game so far this season, as she hardly put foot wrong, winning balls in midfield and showing great skill in the build-up play.
Despite the close attention, it was Corboz who made the pass of the game, showing great judgement to pick out Parris for City’s opener, when it looked like she was about to have a go herself.
The second half started like the first with Sunderland pressing forward in search of an equalizer. But City always looked the more dangerous on the counter and with fifteen minutes to go, Duggan came on for Asllani and with almost her first touch, angled a low shot around the out-stretched hands of Rachel Laws to secure all three points for City.
Before the Doncaster game, City hadn’t managed to score more than two goals in a match this season. But since Friday their goal difference has now gone from plus five to an amazing thirteen for and none against, giving them the best stats in the FA WSL.
City’s next match in the WSL is a possible title decider when they play Chelsea in London on 19th May.
The two teams have already met once this season, of course, with the Londoners running out winners after extra time in the SSE FA Cup semi-final. But too much shouldn’t be read into that result, as City dominated the match for eighty five minutes in normal time, only to tire towards the end, which allowed Chelsea back into the match. The Sky Blues will also hope to have some key players back from injury in time for this important match.