Birmingham City Women 0, Manchester City Women 4
Sam Mewis scored twice on her return from injury before Lauren Hemp and Caroline Weir helped Manchester City beat Birmingham City at St George’s Park in the WSL.
Mewis laid on the goal for Hemp before departing shortly after an hour as City warmed up for their Champions League game against Fiorentina with a tough workout against their hosts.Embed from Getty Images
Rose Lavelle also hit the woodwork as City won their eighth consecutive match in the WSL to go two points behind league leaders Chelsea.
Mewis returned from injury into the line-up alongside Laura Coombs after injury concerns ruled out Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway was rested.
Abby Dahlkemper was on the bench after travelling back from the US following the USWMNT victory in the SheBelieves Cup with Esme Morgan also starting for City.
And for much of the first half City dominated possession and turned the screw on their hosts who were happy to defend deep and try and slow the game down.
Gareth Taylor’s side had a couple of early chances through Lauren Hemp and Ellen White in the game played at England’s St George’s Park complex after it was felt that the Solihull Moors ground didn’t meet league requirements after a hard winter.
And Hannah Hampton saved from White and Steph Houghton while Chloe Kelly and Hemp saw chances blocked and White blazed over towards the end of the first half.
Claudia Walker had a penalty claim turned down after 20 minutes but Birmingham City in truth didn’t lay a glove on City – testing Ellie Roebuck just once in the whole game while City rained in 22 shots with 12 on target after a frustrating first half.
It took until the 40th minute for City to breach the hosts’ defence. Sam Mewis headed home from a right wing cross by Kelly for her 4th WSL goal of the season.
Kelly almost doubled that lead 2 minutes later but shot wide while Walker headed off the line as City pushed for a second during a goal mouth scramble just before the break.
It was one way traffic after the break and Mewis forced a fine save from Hampton with a rising shot after Kelly squared the ball for her in the 51st minute.
But it was only a short reprieve as City went through the gears and blew their hosts away.
City forced the ball home at the third attempt after Hampton saved from Mewis and Harriet Scott cleared White’s shot off the rebound off the line but they couldn’t keep Mewis from doubling her and City’s tally with a volley following Alex Greenwood’s corner.
And a minute later City were 3-0 up after Hemp was injured by Scott whose late challenge brought her down after she lobbed the visitors into an unassailable lead with her 5th WSL goal of the season inside the back post.
Mewis was rested after 64 minutes, with Georgia Stanway coming on but City were irresistible.
City’s fourth came with Caroline Weir hitting her 6th goal of the season as the floodgates opened in the 66th minute when Ellen White’s ball into the area and clipped past Hampton by the Scottish midfielder after a long pass upfield by Steph Houghton.
Weir’s goal brought up 50 WSL goals for the season for City – making City the first side to reach that landmark this term – all the more remarkable after a slow scoring start this season.
Rose Lavelle and Aoife Mannion came on for Hemp and Kelly as City rested players ahead of the midweek game against Fiorentina game next week.
And City’s final two subs saw Houghton replaced by Dahlkemper while youngster Millie Davies replaced White and City narrowly missed out on a fifth goal when Lavelle hit the crossbar with a deflected shot in added time before Weir saw her shot saved by Hampton from the corner.
GOALS – Birmingham City Women 0, Manchester City Women 4
Birmingham City Women 0, Manchester City Women 1: 40. Sam Mewis met Chloe Kelly’s right wing cross with a header that beat Hannah Hampton.
Birmingham City Women 0, Manchester City Women 2: 52. Sam Mewis volleyed home the rebound after Hannah Hampton and a defender had cleared off the line.
Birmingham City Women 0, Man City Women 3: 54. Lauren Hemp scored City’s third with a lob which flew in past Hampton at the back post but celebrations were muted after she was tackled late by Harriet Scott.
Birmingham City Women 0, Man City Women 4: 66. Caroline Weir got herself on the scoresheet as she beat Hannah Hampton to a through ball by Ellen White and clipped it past her.
MATCH STATS – Birmingham City Women 0, Manchester City Women 4
Birmingham City Women: Hampton, Mayling, Brougham, Scott, Holloway, Mace, Napier, Murphy (McCarron 75), Littlejohn (Green 90), Whipp (Kelly 75), Walker
Birmingham City Women subs not used: Whitehouse, Green, Grant, Lawley, Hart
Man City Women: Roebuck, Bronze, Houghton (Dahlkemper 77), Greenwood, Morgan, Coombs, Mewis (Stanway 66), Weir, Kelly (Mannion 72), Hemp (Lavelle 73), White (Davies 77)
Man City Women subs not used: Benameur, Keating
Goals: Mewis 40, 52; Hemp 54; Weir 66
Referee: Helen Conley