Manchester City 4-0 Leicester City
by Johnathan Stack at the Academy Stadium (17/10/22)
Above: Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw (right) – City’s two-goal hero celebrates with her teammates. Photo: Manchester City.
Manchester City finally got off the mark in the 2022/23 Barclays Women’s Super League season with a 4-0 win over Leicester City.
A brace from Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw plus goals from Lauren Hemp and Yui Hasegawa on her Manchester City debut saw Gareth Taylor’s side pick up a vital home win.
The Sky Blues were playing at home for the first time in the league this season and they did not disappoint their fans after defeats to Aston Villa and Chelsea on the road to open the campaign.
Leicester had themselves experienced a tough start to the new season with losses to Everton and Spurs.
City got off to a great start and put the visitors under pressure from the start. Lionesses star, Chloe Kelly rattled the crossbar after being played through by Esme Morgan. The deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute as City striker Shaw headed home after great play from Morgan and Hemp on the left, who then crossed it in for the Jamaican international to score.
Shortly after Kelly fired just over after picking up the rebound in the box from Morgan’s cross.
City didn’t have it all their own way though as Leicester almost caught the hosts out from a quick-thinking corner routine, but Sophie Howard headed just wide. Visitors captain Aileen Whelan picked up the loose ball in the penalty after City failed to get the initial cross clear and had her shot blocked by Alex Greenwood. From that City started a quick counterattack towards the other end, as Deyna Castellanos smashed the ball onto the bar.
Into the second half, it was more of the same as City applied the pressure in search of a second. With Kelly, Laia Aleixandri, and Shaw going close.
Then the Sky Blues finally got their second goal of the game in the 72nd minute as Kelly played in a delightful cross in the box, which was dispatched brilliantly with a diving header from Hemp. That would be Kelly’s last kick of the game, as she was replaced by Australian star Hayley Raso straight after the goal.
Five minutes later, Leicester defender Howard brought Shaw down in the penalty area to give a penalty to City, Greenwood stepped up and had her spot kick saved by Kirstie Levell only for Shaw to fire the rebound in to make it 3-0.
City made it 4-0, two minutes from added time with a great strike from the edge of the box from player of the match Yui Hasegawa at the Academy Stadium.
After the game, City head coach Gareth Taylor gave his views on his team’s first win of the season: “(I’m) delighted, I think it was a vital win. But I was really pleased with the performance, more often than not the performance takes care of the result but not always.
“I was really pleased with the performance, and I thought there were some really good aspects to the way we played, we dominated proceedings. We went 1-0 up, could have gone a couple of more by half-time, we hit the bar twice, we took a while to get going in the second period.
“We know this team even though we make changes, can really open up and score goals, particularly when you bring on the likes of quick players at the top end of the pitch against an opposition who are probably flagging, it makes a difference for any team.”
Taylor also spoke about the impact that Australian international Hayley Raso has coming off of the bench: “Hayley is great to have from the bench, she wants to start games and she has started games.I think when you put that type of player on in that type of game, and there is space in behind against a team that has gone 70 minutes and start to feel the effects I think is a great option to have.
“What Hayley has to do is really improve on her final action, but I will say the same about that with all of our wingers, today we saw some good moments from our wingers but some inconsistencies as well. I think it’s just trying to make sure that we work really to get to the final third and then it’s about that final bit of quality, if Hayley improves on that then there are no limits to her game.”
City winger Lauren Hemp also spoke to the media after the game, saying: “I think it was clear to see that we all enjoyed today. I think you are starting to see the City we want to show. It’s obviously important in our first home game that we kick it off with a win, we haven’t had the results that we wanted recently but it’s important we start somewhere, and we have started today, obviously, we got the three points, we can work our way up the table now hopefully we can kick on from here.”
This was a much-needed win for Manchester City and eased some of pressure on head coach Gareth Taylor. City had a lot of chances in the game, but they didn’t finally take them until the second half. Ellie Roebuck kept a clean sheet, which is a big plus as City has already conceded six goals this season. Hemp and Kelly looked powerful on the wing and Yui Hasegawa was instrumental in the middle picking up loose passes, linking the play, and scoring an incredible goal on her home debut too.
So, a big three points for City, who play Spurs away next Saturday in the Barclays Women’s Super League at Brisbane Road, before getting their Continental Cup campaign started at home against Blackburn Rovers at the Academy Stadium the following Wednesday.
Teams: MANCHESTER CITY: Roebuck, Casparij, Aleixandri, Greenwood, Coombs, Kelly, Castellanos, Hemp, Morgan, Shaw, Hasegawa. Substitutes: MacIver (GK), Stokes, Houghton, Fowler, Angeldahl, Raso, Ouahabi, Losada, Blakstad.
Scorers: Shaw 24′, 79′. Hemp 72′, Hasegawa 88′.
LEICESTER CITY: Levell, Tierney, Bolt, Whelan, Simon, Green, Howard, Jones, Plumptre, Purfield, O’Brien. Substitutes: Poor, Vance, McManus, Flint, Pike, Jones, Goodwin, Scofield.
Referee: Farai Hallam