MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 2, LIVERPOOL WOMEN 1
Jen Beattie’s close range header deep into injury time kept Manchester City’s slim title hopes alive as they beat Liverpool Women 2-1.
And after Chelsea failed to beat West Ham today, City also qualified for next season’s Women’s Champions League as they cannot finish below second place in the WSL.
Claire Emslie’s first half goal had given Manchester City the lead but Courtney Sweetman-Kirk’s second half equaliser from the penalty spot had looked to have thwarted the home side’s title dreams.
But a free kick won in the last minute of added time allowed Caroline Weir to whip in a ball from the left which saw Beattie rise to head it home for a massive win.
The Blues still require the Gunners to slip up against against one of Everton or Brighton before a win at Borehamwood on the final day of the season would see City lift the WSL title.
There was a minute’s silence before this game and a minute of applause in the 47th minute to commemorate former club secretary Bernard Halford who passed away recently.
Within seconds of the kick off Nikita Parris was in agony on the ground after Rinsola Babanjide appeared to step on her foot in the early exchanges.
Emslie cut inside on her left foot on the edge of the area and scored City’s opening goal in the 28th minute after Jill Scott picked her out with a pass from midfield.
There was plenty of goalmouth action a minute after the restart.
Liverpool goalkeeper Anke Preuss saved from Lauren Hemp while Steph Houghton rattled the crossbar with a thunderbolt and Hemp’s turn and shot was tipped against the post by the German goalkeeper.
Liverpool were soon level after the restart when captain Steph Houghton was penalised for handball in the area after Yana Daniel’s shot was initially blocked.
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk equalises for Liverpool Women but Jen Beattie has the last word
Ellie Roebuck went the right way and got a hand to the ball but Courtney Sweetman-Kirk’s spot kick was powerful and squirmed under her and into the back of the net in the 53rd minute.
City immediately tried to retake the lead and brought on Tessa Wullaert for goalscorer Emslie.
Caroline Weir was twice denied by Preuss in the 62nd and 65th minutes after Wullaert and Keira Walsh found her with incisive passes.
Wullaert and Hemp also saw shots blocked before Georgia Stanway replaced Hemp for the last 18 minutes.
Wullaert’s mazy run saw a gap open in front of her and she found Parris in space only for the striker to fire wide.
Stokes saw her shot saved by Preuss after Weir had played her in, and Parris claimed a corner after her close range shot was deflected as City put Liverpool’s goal under siege.
Stanway saw a chance from 25 yards with 6 minutes to go but shot wide as the crowd anticipated a winner but Liverpool’s spoiling and timewasting took them into the final minute of added time before Beattie’s late late show kept their title hopes alive.
GOALS – Manchester City Women 2, Liverpool Women 1
Man City Women 1 Liverpool Women 0: 28. Claire Emslie found herself in plenty of space with time to pick her spot inside the back post from the edge of the area after cutting inside on her left foot.
Man City Women 1, Liverpool Women 1: 53. Courtney Sweetman-Kirk stroked a penalty to the right and Ellie Roebuck got a hand to it but couldn’t prevent the ball from squirming under her.
Man City Women 2, Liverpool Women 1: 90+5. Jen Beattie rose highest in the final minute of added time to head home Caroline Weir’s deep left wing free kick to win the game.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City Women 2, Liverpool Women 1
Man City Women: Roebuck, Stokes, Beattie, Houghton, McManus, Walsh, Scott, Weir, Emslie (Wullaert 58), Hemp (Stanway 72), Parris
Man City Women Subs Not Used: Bardsley, Bonner, Lawley, Bremer, Beckie
Booked: Houghton 53 (handball), McManus 56 (foul on Sweetman-Kirk)
Goals: Emslie 28, Beattie 90+5
Liverpool Women: Preuss, Robe, Fahey, Bradley-Auckland, Coombs, Sweetman-Kirk, Murray (Linnett 68), Daniels, Rodgers, Babajide (Hodson 76), Purfield
Liverpool Women Subs Not Used: Kitching, Little, Kearns
Goal: Sweetman-Kirk 53 pen