Man City win Continental Cup
Manchester City Women (Bronze 104’) 1-0 Birmingham City Ladies (A.E.T)
Manchester City Women win the 2016 FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup after an extra time goal from Lucy Bronze.
After 90 minutes ended all square, the final had to go into extra time and just before the half time break – Birmingham’s goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger’s error of judgement gifted a free header, at an open goal, to Lucy Bronze.
— WomensSoccerUnited (@WSUasa) October 2, 2016
Berger kept Birmingham in the game after 90 minutes of four exceptional saves to keep the match level but all forgotten by not reaching the end of Toni Duggan’s corner.
The defeat is Birmingham’s third loss at a Continental Cup final joining their misery to Arsenal in 2011 and 2012.
Man City’s victory adds to their first ever Women’s Super League title from seven days before and their second Continental Cup in three seasons.
City manager Nick Cushing only named one change from their win over Chelsea Ladies as goalkeeper Karen Bardsley was replaced by Marie Hourihan, who had played every minute of the cup campaign.
The visitors however made five changes to the squad who beat Liverpool Ladies with Berger, Meaghan Sargeant, Andrine Hegerberg, Marisa Ewers and captain Emily Westwood came in for Sophie Baggaley, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Chloe Peplow and Corina Schroder.
Birmingham started off the final well with an early threat after a 30-yard strike from Kerys Harrop flew a whisker wide trying to catch Hourihan off guard.
The hosts quickly responded by dominating the field with possession before a chance came from defender Jayne Beattie drilling a loose ball off target after 15 minutes.
There was a scare for City when captain Steph Houghton went down injured allowing a gap for Freda Ayisi to run through but a savour tackle from Beattie denied the opportunity.
Nikita Parris produced the first real threat coming into the penalty area from the right finding the target but Berger making the much needed save.
Five minutes before the half-time break saw Duggan go one on one with the keeper, after outpacing the defence, but Berger denied once again.
With 17 minutes before the 90, Berger saved her team yet again by finger tipping away substitute Kosovare Asllani’s shot on goal.
In extra time there were appeals for a penalty to Birmingham moments after Jess Carter went down claiming Asllani was the suspect.
Both teams will play each other again on October 30 in WSL 1 at the Academy Stadium.
Stats & line-ups:
Manchester City Women: Hourihan, Bronze, Houghton (c), Beattie, Stokes, Walsh, Scott, Christiansen, Parris (Asllani 65), Duggan (Corboz 105), Ross (Middag 84).
Substitutes not used: Bardsley.
Goals: Bronze (105)
Birmingham City Ladies: Berger, Sargeant, Carter, Harrop, Ayisi (Linden 105), Linnett (Wellings 75), Hegerberg (Peplow 90), Ewers, Lawley, Westwood (c), Mannion.
Substitutes not used: Baggaley, Windell, Stringer, Schroder.
Yellow cards: Harrop, Ayisi
Player of the match: Lucy Bronze
Referee: Rebecca Welch (Durham)
I’m a 21-year-old University student who is an aspired sport commentator and writer. When I’m not studying, I have the privilege to shout GOAL behind a microphone while witnessing 22 players kick a ball around a field.