Manchester City 3-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
by Johnathan Stack at The Academy Stadium for Impetus (5/12/22).
Above: Manchester City celebrate Laura Coombs’ strike. Photo: Barclays WSL.
Manchester City extended their improved run of results with a comfortable win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Academy Stadium with all three goals coming in a 15- minute burst in the first half as Gareth Taylor’s side came out of the blocks on fire.
City came into the game on the back of a 2-1 win over Everton at Walton Hall Park. As for Brighton, they drew 3-3 with Liverpool at The People’s Pension Stadium in their last WSL match.
Chloe Kelly had a great chance to grab the game’s first goal inside the opening 10 minutes after being played in by Bunny Shaw. The Lioness produced a good piece of skill to get past her marker but her shot went just wide.
City then did break the deadlock as Kelly took a corner kick on the left, and there was a mix-up at the near post between Brighton keeper Megan Walsh and forward Veatriki Sarri. Walsh struggled to claim the ball it ended up in the back of the net off Sarri for an own goal.
The hosts were in control in the opening 20 minutes and the pressure paid off as a move down the right from Kelly saw her move inside before shooting just wide, but the ball found the path of Julie Blakstad to get a touch to double City’s lead.
Brighton were struggling to stop Blakstad who, as she made a darting run inside, the ball found its way to Laura Coombs who struck the ball first time from 25 yards out and it flashed past a helpless Walsh in the Brighton goal to make it 3-0 inside 26 minutes.
It was all one-way traffic in the opening half an hour of the game, as Brighton offered very little in terms of attack. City saw the rest of the half out with little fuss in terms of having to defend, Blakstad nearly had a second in first-half stoppage-time but Walsh produced a great save to keep the score 3-0 at half-time.
Into the second half and Brighton came out and tested Ellie Roebuck a couple of times but to no avail.
Second-half substitute Filippa Angeldahl then went close as her shot went just wide after a great move down the right from Kelly the cross found her unmarked in the box.
City then had another chance to get the fourth goal as great link-up play from Alex Greenwood and Hayley Raso down the right saw City skipper play the ball into Deyna Castellanos whose first-time shot was instinctively well saved by Walsh.
In the final minute, Esme Morgan produced a great piece of skill down the right and played in Raso, who then found Blakstad who missed an absolute sitter in the six-yard box and put the ball over the bar from a couple of yards out.
In stoppage time Brighton did get a consolation goal from a free kick, a long ball into the box, which City failed to deal with was eventually bundled into the back of the net by Lee Geum-Min to make it 3-1.
After the game in the post-match press conference, Manchester City head coach Gareth Taylor spoke of his pride in the first-half performance.
“It was a good win, we were a bit slow first five minutes, but I think the goal settled us, our set play delivery was really good today. After that, we scored two excellent goals – the second goal was really good, it was a good finish by Julie (Blakstad) from Chloe’s (Kelly) cross and then a really good finish from Laura (Coombs) as well.
“Second half was a bit too loose from us in possession which made the game a little too open for Brighton and we were a bit disappointed that we’ve not added a few more goals to our performance. It keeps us right in touch and that’s the really pleasing thing.”
Manchester City are back in action on Wednesday evening when they travel to Prenton Park to take on Liverpool in the Continental League Cup.
Teams: MANCHESTER CITY: Roebuck, Casparij, Aleixandri, Greenwood (C), Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Coombs, Castellanos, Shaw, Blakstad. Substitutes: MacIver, Stokes, Houghton, Angedahl, Raso, Morgan, Mace, Kennedy, Hutchings.
Scorers: Kelly 11′, Blakstad 19′, Coombs 26′.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION: Walsh, Fox, Pattinson, Sarri, Connolly, Lee, Zigiotti, Green, Carter, Williams, Robinson. Substitutes: Jarvis, Park, Bance, Scott, Symonds, Terland.
Scorer: Lee 90+1′.
Referee: Cheryl Foster