BIRMINGHAM City Ladies did their Super League survival hopes the world of good by beating fellow relegation candidates Bristol Academy on Saturday afternoon.
Two penalties by England ace Karen Carney and a Mel Lawley goal earned Dave Parker’s side their second win of the season which moves the Blues five points clear of bottom-placed Bristol Academy with just two games remaining.
Angharad James came within inches of breaking the deadlock after six minutes at the Stoke Giffod Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Bristol player unleashed a powerful 25-yard shot which sailed narrowly wide of goal and moments later Caroline Weir forced Sophie Baggaley into a routine save with a low shot from just outside the area.
The first notable chance of the half for the visitors came in the shape of Karen Carney when put a dangerous cross into the box from the right but no Blues player could find the all important touch in front of goal.
On 20 minutes Jo Potter headed over the bar from close range when perhaps she could have done better and four minutes later Carney fired high over the bar.
At the other end Blues’ young goalkeeper Baggaley pulled off a fine one-handed save to deny Jade Boho Sayo’s low shot which looked destined for the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Shortly after the half-hour mark Carney tested Earps with a free kick from the edge of the area which was well held by the Bristol keeper.
But on 38 minutes the deadlock was finally broken. Mel Lawley was put clean through on goal by Remi Allen and the Blues winger did the rest by slotting the ball low past Earps.
There was to be more joy for the visitors two minutes later when the referee awarded the visitors a penalty for a handball infringement and Carney fired home from the spot to give Parker’s side a two-goal lead at the break.
Bristol began the second half with attacking intent in a bid to find a way back into the match.
Sophie Ingle fired narrowly wide of goal before on 55 minutes young goalkeeper Baffaley pulled off another fine save to deny Christine Murray from close range.
And on 57 minutes Caroline Weir unleashed an audacious long range shot from 35 yards out which clipped the top of the crossbar.
At the other end Linnett tried her luck from long range after controlling the ball well and creating space but her effort drifted over.
Shortly after the hour-mark Lawley came close to scoring a second but her shot inside the area took a deflected and whistle wide.
However the visitors were able to make it 3-0 on 64 minutes. Lawley was brought down inside the area after being picked out by Linnett and Carney made no mistake with her second spot kick to put the visitors 3-0 up.
Weir was one of the standout performers for the hosts and she was unlucky again to strike the crossbar on 72 minutes with another superb long range effort which thundered against the bar.
Parker’s side were happy to rely on the break as the match drew to a close and almost scored a fourth when Linnett cut the ball back for Remi Allen but her close range shot was well blocked on the line.
With ten minutes to go Emily Westwood was denied by a superb save by Earps after being picked out by Carney by the penalty spot and Carney herself was denied a hat-trick with the Bristol keeper producing a fine reflex save.
Lawley burst into the area in the final minute of the match and forced the impressive Earps into another stop before the final whistle came and the Blues sent their noisy fans home happy thanks to a 3-0 win.