Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City
Above: Manchester City lift the Conti Cup at Plough Lane last night. Photo: FAWSL.
By Darrell Allen (6/3/22)
For the first time ever Chelsea and Manchester City went head to head in a major final. The 2022 Conti Cup final was played at a sold out Plough Lane, the home of AFC Wimbledon.
Both teams came into the game in form but Chelsea were without Fran Kirby who was ill and Jessie Fleming who tested positive for Covid.
Chelsea started the game much the brighter with an early Harder cross missed by Kerr. The cup holders continued the pressure. Ji played the Australian in once more, but it was covered well in the Manchester City defence by Alex Greenwood.
Chelsea kept up their excellent press in search of an opener and it was Ellie Roebuck in the Manchester City goal who had to punch clear to further deny Kerr.
City then went on the attack, Jess Carter intercepted but played a ball back to Berger who took a big touch and almost played herself into trouble but it was just cleared away.
That was a wake-up call Chelsea needed, as they then went up the other end. Again, there was great movement from Ji who found Pernille Harder, but the move was read well by Roebuck who dealt with the pressure.
A Guro Reiten cross was cleared by Greenwood. Chelsea then had a penalty appeal turned down when Kennedy handled but the referee was unsighted.
The game was end to end as Raso then found White but it came to nothing. Stanway had a half chance which fell to White who fired over the bar but the flag was up for offside.
City were getting in the groove, A Stanway ball in and it was Lauren Hemp who fired against the post. City then had their penalty appeal turned down as Hayley Raso’s shot hit the arm of Sophie Ingle but penalty appeals were waved away.
Action then switched to the other end of the pitch. Greenwood and Roebuck were very causal. Harder intercepted but no finish.
Chelsea then took the lead, an instinctive finish from Sam Kerr after a Reiten cross and mix-up between Roebuck and Demi Stokes allowed Kerr was to finish.
Niamh Charles had an opportunity to double Chelsea’s advantage with a great chest down and control but she fired over the bar. Half Time arrived with Chelsea deservedly leading 1-0.
An inspired half time team talk from Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor saw them come out for the second 45 minutes with their heads up.
The equalizer soon arrived, Georgia Stanway to Caroline Weir who was in acres of space following Charles being off the pitch after colliding with an advertising hoarding. Weir took a touch before firing into the corner.
It was a good reply from Chelsea, a strike from Charles but Roebuck saved. However, this would prove to be the last serious chance that Emma Hayes’ side would fashion.
City then took the lead, Hemp danced around the Chelsea defence before drilling the ball across, Berger spilled and Ellen White was there to finish.
A series of Manchester City corners by Stanway followed, the best of which saw Kennedy head wide.
City increased their lead after a Stanway corner was headed down by Bronze, Ingle cleared into the path of Caroline Weir who fired into the top corner to make it a personal brace and three goals in 20 minutes from City.
The Sky Blues continued to press. Stanway’s corner was played in, Bronze headed on but Raso couldn’t finish after Berger spilled.
Chelsea were in a mess as Manchester City dominated. Gareth Taylor’s side were able to see the clock down with relative ease and without fear with a two-goal cushion.
Chelsea did look brighter after Bethany England was introduced but they never really looked like getting back into it. It was Manchester City who take England’s first silverware of the domestic season.
Teams: CHELSEA (4-4-2): Berger, Nouwen, Bright, Ingle, Andersson, Reiten, Ji, Kerr, Carter, Harder, Charles. Substitutes: Musovic (GK), England, Eriksson, Mjelde, James, Spence, Abdullina.
Scorers: Kerr 34’.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Roebuck, Bronze, Kennedy, Greenwood, Stokes, Raso, Walsh, Stanway, Weir, Raso, White, Hemp. Substitutes: Keating (GK), Coombs, Beckie, Angeldahl, Park, Shaw, Blakstad.
Scorers: Weir 49’, 70’. White 58’.
Referee: Lisa Benn.