LIVERPOOL LADIES 0-2 CITY WOMEN (STANWAY 30, PARRIS 64)
Competition: FA Women’s Cup
Venue: Select Security Stadium, Widnes (att: 743)
Date: 19 March 2016 (17:30)
Impressive goals from two City subs ensured the Blues marched on to the quarter-finals of the Women’s FA Cup.
A 25-yard stunner from 17 year-old Georgia Stanway, and a great header from ex-Evertonian Nikita Parris helped City Women reach the sixth round for the third season running.
A new-look Liverpool side, which included seven debutants in the starting XI, former City winger Natasha Harding among them, ultimately didn’t have enough to combat the Blues’ strong attacking threat.
Things got off to a bad start for City, however, with a worrying ankle injury to last year’s Player of The Season, Izzy Christiansen.
Having just extended her contract, the midfielder is another unwanted addition to an early-season injury list already piling up for manager Nick Cushing; new defender Megan Campbell and midfield youngster Keira Walsh also picked up recent ankle injuries whilst on international duty.
Such a glut of misfortune is the last thing that Cushing and his team need at the start of the WSL season, and the gaffer told mcfc.co.uk, ‘We don’t know what the extent of [Christiansen’s injury]… she’ll be assessed by the physio and the medical team. We’ll get the feedback tomorrow and then we’ll [look] at swelling… on Monday.’
Ironically enough, Christiansen’s teenage replacement was to have an enormous influence on the game. Every cloud, etc. Before Stanway scored her wonder goal, City taliswoman Toni Duggan did her usual threatening in front of goal, Scotland striker Jane Ross would have opened her account for the Blues if it wasn’t for some fine goalkeeping by Liverpool’s Siobhan Chamberlain, and the Reds themselves could have had a penalty, only for referee P Gibbons to adjudge Abbie McManus’s hold on Rosie White to be nothing much.
City’s deserved lead came at the half-hour mark, leaving Chamberlain with no chance, and Cushing effusive with his praise. The City boss told mcfc.co.uk ‘Georgia has got that in her locker… Every time she has played, she’s created a goal or scored… She works hard, she’ll put a tackle in, pass the ball well and score. The goal tonight was exceptional.’
It underlines the strength of City’s squad this season that players with this much ability are coming off the bench.
Liverpool threw another new girl on for the second half, Swedish striker Emma Lundh, who nearly equalised with a close-range shot, only to hit the upright. It was City who scored the decisive second goal, courtesy of another substitute. Pocket dynamo Nikita Parris – all five foot four inches of her – rose highest in the Liverpool box and scored a header from Duggan’s corner with practically her first touch, putting the game beyond the Red’s reach. The former Evertonian will certainly have enjoyed that.
City were by far the better team all game, and would have extended their lead had Stanway and Duggan kept further chances on target. All in all, this was job done for the Blues, the perfect rehearsal for the opening match of the WSL 2016 season (the Notts County fixture takes place at the Academy Stadium this Wednesday night). With their name in the hat for the next round, and a statement laid down for the rest of the Women’s Super League, City are beginning their domestic campaign with confidence, and one eye on Wembley already.