Manchester City Women 4, Birmingham City Women 0
Chloe Kelly scored twice but was taken off injured after she won a penalty in a contest where City had to win big to put some pressure on Chelsea who will win the WSL if they win their remaining two games in the WSL.Embed from Getty Images
They notched up 26 shots on goal, with 11 on target with 83% of the possession but were thwarted by heroics by Hannah Hampton in the Birmingham City goal.
Hampton, who only turned 20 in November and has been named as a training player in England squads, made three great saves from Caroline Weir – one to keep a spot kick out – and also denied Janine Beckie before she was finally beaten late in the game from two City corners.
Esme Morgan and Sam Mewis scored the late goals to give the scoreline look more deserving and hand City a decent chance of snatching the WSL title if Chelsea were to slip up in their remaining games.
City ended the day on top of the WSL by a point but Chelsea have a game in hand and must also prepare for the Women’s Champions League final potentially leaving room for one more twist in this season’s WSL title race if Chelsea were to slip up.
City boss Gareth Taylor made three changes with Demi Stokes, Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper dropping out of the starting lineup with Morgan, Georgia Stanway, and Laura Coombs coming into the side.
And from the start City meant business – Kelly’s early curling shot was saved by Hampton seconds after the game started.
But Kelly was not to be denied for her 9th goal of the season as she was on the spot to tap in the rebound from 6 yards after Hampton had parried away Caroline Weir’s shot from Lauren Hemp’s left wing cutback.
And Kelly had another tap in from close range after 23 minutes when the ball came in from Hemp on the left to Ellen White who knocked it back to the City winger for another tap in to bring up 10 for the season.
By this time the City machine was in full flow, passing fluidly, winning it back when they didn’t, and generally cruising through the game while looking for holes against a Birmingham side who couldn’t escape the City press.
Kelly curled another shot over the bar as she looked for a first half hat trick.
It was much the same traffic in the second half with Weir blazing over from a free kick as the visitors struggled.
After 57 minutes Emily Murphy left the field to be replaced by Mollie Green for the visitors who were tiring.
City needed to improve their goal difference though and were being frustrated by eight or nine players in the Birmingham box all defending.
Esme Morgan headed wide from a short corner routine and Georgia Stanway blazed over from outside the box as City tried to mix it up.
Chloe Kelly injured earning a penalty in Man City Women win over Birmingham City Women
Kelly was felled by Rebecca Holloway after 65 minutes as she looked to break into the box, earning her a penalty but she stayed down injured after appearing to hurt her right leg in the challenge.
There was the sad sight of Kelly being carried off on a stretcher after her leg was heavily strapped after 8 minutes of treatment with Janine Beckie was replacing her which will have concerned Team GB for the Olympics as well as the City back room staff.
Caroline Weir stepped up but her spot kick was saved at full stretch by Hannah Hampton to her right.
Ellen White hooked the ball wide and Hampton saved again from Weir with another acrobatic effort as a third goal continued to evade City.
Laura Coombs was replaced by Sam Mewis with 12 minutes to go while White was replaced by Rose Lavelle as City rolled the dice again in their hunt for goals.
Beckie saw a shot saved by the inspired Hampton who went on to save from Weir again.
Mewis headed over from a Greenwood free kick but City finally got their third when a low corner came in from the right by Beckie and Esme Morgan reacted first to stab the ball past Hampton for her first goal of the season.
Jess Park was brought on with 3 minutes to go to protect Lauren Hemp with the points safe and Chloe Kelly having gone off injured.
Emma Kelly appeared to handle the ball even later into injury time but there was no reaction from the referee as City looked for a fifth goal which would have brought City back to goal difference parity with Chelsea.
GOALS – Manchester City Women 4, Birmingham City Women 0
Man City Women 1, Birmingham City Women 0: 10. Chloe Kelly had a tap in from 6 yards out after Hannah Hampton could only parry Caroline Weir’s shot into her path.
Man City Women 2, Birmingham City Women 0: 23. Chloe Kelly had another tap in from close range as Lauren Hemp put in another cross which Ellen White laid off for the winger to bring up double figures for the season.
Man City Women 3, Birmingham City Women 0: 85. Esme Morgan notched up her first goal of the season after a corner by Janine Beckie
Man City Women 4, Birmingham City Women 0: 90+4. Sam Mewis made it 4 after Lucy Bronze laid the ball off to her after Birmingham failed to clear a corner.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City Women 4, Birmingham City Women 0
Man City Women: Roebuck, Bronze, Greenwood, Morgan, Stanway, Walsh, Coombs (Mewis 78), Weir, Kelly (Beckie 73), Hemp (Park 87), White (Lavelle 78)
Man City Women subs not used: Benameur Taieb, Mannion, Dahlkemper, Davies
Goals: Kelly 10, 23; Morgan 85; Mewis 90+4
Birmingham City Women: Hampton, Kelly, Brougham, Scott, Mace, Holloway, Murphy (Green 57), Murray, Whipp, Napier, Walker
Birmingham City Women subs not used: Whitehouse, Sarri, Logan
Referee: Emily Heaslip