Birmingham City Ladies 0 Manchester City Women 2
BLUES Ladies ran out of steam after an energetic first half performance as their illustrious visitors stood strong to claim a hard earned three points.
David Parker’s Blues side, forced into several personnel and positional chances due to numerous injuries, gave a good account of themselves in the opening period as young strikers Charlie Wellings and Ellie Brazil – the latter making her first team debut – showed good energy.
However, a 34th minute opener from Daphne Corboz took the sting out of the hosts who from then on were unable to test England keeper Karen Bardsley in the visitors’ goal.
Blues remained in the contest until the death and Man City could not truly breathe easily until Scottish striker Jane Ross nodded home Nikita Parris’ right wing cross in the fifth and final minute of added time.
The hosts, without the injured Corina Schroder, Meaghan Sargeant, Coral-Jade Haines, Alex Windell and Kirsty Linnett, were at least able to welcome back England ace Jade Moore, who played as one of three centre backs alongside Emily Westwood and Aoife Mannion before being withdrawn at half time.
The first chance of the game came Man City’s way in the ninth minute but Parris could only fire wastefully over when it looked easier to convert an inviting centre from the right.
Blues’ best chance of the game arrived just two minutes later when Brazil showed great persistence to force a mistake from the visitors’ rearguard and her strike partner Wellings came within inches of scoring as she hooked an effort just wide under pressure from England skipper Steph Houghton.
Mel Lawley then had a firm 22-yard strike well saved by Bardsley as the hosts looked lively and it came as something of a surprise when the visitors took the lead.
Good approach play on the left from Demi Stokes set up Parris who fired against the post but the rebound fell nicely to Corboz who neatly rolled her effort into the bottom right corner from just inside the area.
At half time Parker introduced Freda Ayisi into in the action in place of Wellings, whilst Remi Allen made a welcome return as she replaced Moore.
Allen produced some typically feisty challenges and looked sharp but Blues could not put any pressure on the visitors as Houghton and fellow England international Lucy Bronze marshalled the visitors’ rearguard impressively.
Houghton came close to making it 2-0 in the 80th minute but her curling 25-yard strike was superbly pushed around the post by Sophie Baggaley, but the home stopper was powerless to stop Ross having the final say in the closing seconds.
Blues now face a key game at home to Doncaster Rovers Belles on Wednesday (7.45pm) as they look to put their first points on the board.
Blues: Baggaley, Carter, Mannion, Westwood (C), Moore, Harrop, Lawley, Peplow, Potter, Brazil, Wellings.
Subs: Ayisi (Wellings, 45), Allen (Moore, 45), Davies (Peplow, 83). Unused: Stringer, Edwards, Brown, Johnson.