BURTON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: A general view of the Umbro football training pitch is seen during a media event at St George's Park on July 10, 2012 in Burton, England. (The FA via Getty Images)

Manchester City move to within two points of league summit with victory over Birmingham City

Manchester City recorded their eighth straight Barclays FA Women’s Super League win with an impressive 4-0 victory over Birmingham City.

Goals from Lauren Hemp, Caroline Weir and a brace from Sam Mewis sees Gareth Taylor’s side move to within two points of Chelsea, who currently sit top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table.

Carla Ward made one change to her Birmingham City side ahead of kick-off, following their 1-1 draw at Everton three weeks ago, with Georgia Brougham coming in to replace Chloe McCarron.

Manchester City made three changes themselves going into this game, with Laura Coombs, Esme Morgan and Sam Mewis replacing Abby Dahlkemper, Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh from their 3-0 victory over rivals Manchester United a fortnight ago.

The game was moved to St George’s Park, following a League’s Executive Operations Committee (EOC) decision on Friday in which they determined that Birmingham City’s current home ground of the SportNation.bet Stadium didn’t meet ‘requirements in the Rules and Regulations of the League’.

The away side started the strongest and wasted the first chance of the game within the first few minutes, as Ellen White narrowly diverted wide from a dangerous free-kick by Alex Greenwood.

Manchester City dominated the possession in the opening exchanges and they soon went close again, this time they were denied by Birmingham City goalkeeper Hannah Hampton. Chloe Kelly’s initial shot across goal was blocked, before Ellen White jumped to meet the rebound, but her header towards goal was gathered up by the Birmingham City stopper.

The visitors applied real pressure on their hosts throughout the first half and they finally made their work count when they took the lead after 40 minutes. Mewis claimed her fourth league goal of the season with a powerful header beyond Hampton following good work down the right from Kelly.

Appeals for a Manchester City penalty were made just before the break when Georgia Brougham appeared to make contact with the ball using her arm following a downward header from Steph Houghton, however, those appeals were waved away by referee Helen Conley as she blew her whistle for half-time.

Following a relatively quiet first half, Manchester City doubled their lead early into the second period. Mewis earned her second goal of the afternoon, firing home from 12 yards, as the hosts struggled to clear away the ball from a corner.

Things got even better for the visitors two minutes later, when Hemp’s attempted cross completely wrong-footed Hampton and the ball floated over her head and into the bottom corner giving Manchester City a 3-0 lead.

Birmingham City struggled to get a foothold in the game and just after the hour mark found themselves 4-0 down. Following a good build up from the back, Weir got onto the end of a clever flick on from Kelly and poked beyond Hampton from close range.

United States internationals Dahlkemper and Rose Lavelle were two of five substitutions who came into the action for Manchester City late in the second half after helping their nation retain the SheBelieves Cup during the international break.

Manchester City produced a fine second half performance following a slow start in the first half and they will be happy with the three points as they close in on Chelsea at the top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table.

Birmingham City are back in action next Sunday when they take on Arsenal at home. Manchester City meanwhile will look forward to their next fixture in midweek, when they face Fiorentina in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie in the UEFA Women’s Champions League at The Academy Stadium.

Article author: Brad Saxton

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