Manchester City Women maintained their 100% start to their pre-season campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over a W-League Champions Melbourne City.
Manchester City were able to name their strongest side, Jenny Beattie aside, as they named an unchanged starting eleven from the side that beat Rosengard 3-1 in Manchester last week. By contrast Melbourne City were missing five players on International duty with Australia as well as Kim Lilttle and Jessica Fishlock having returned to Seattle Reign.
With the two teams at different stages in their seasons the game started tentatively and it took until 10 minutes for either side to test the goalkeeper as Toni Duggan fired her shot straight at the goalkeeper. City upped the tempo and on 25 minutes Lucy Bronze cut inside at the edge of the penalty and curled an effort to Duggan at the far post but the England International couldn’t apply the final touch to force the ball towards goal. Two minutes later Kosovare Asllani pinged a low cross to the near post but Jane Ross could only fire her shot over the bar. On 30 minutes Bronze played in Asllani on the right whose low cross found Scott in the middle at the edge of the penalty area; Scott played in Isobel Christiansen with a lovely flick with her instep but the under hit shot was easily held by Davey in the Melbourne goal.
The deadlock was finally broken on 34 minutes as Steph Houghton powered a 25 yard free kick over the wall which despite getting a hand to it Davey was unable to prevent it going into the net. Three minutes later Jill Scott played a superb path to Asllani who played a through pass back into Scott but she fired wide inside the penalty area as they lead 1-0 at half time.
City made three changes at half time as Marie Houlihan, Daphne Corboz and Nikita Parris replaced Karen Bardsley, Jane Ross & Jill Scott.
City started the second half brightly and created the first chance two minutes into the second half as Houghton headed over a terrific Duggan free kick. On 50 minutes it was 2-0 as the Melbourne defence failed to clear another Asllani cross which fell to Christiansen and her chip over the keeper crept inside the far post. On 56 minutes a great cross to the far post from Parris and Asllani volleyed just wide. Asllani went close again on 64 minutes as sub Melbourne keeper pushed away her low shot.
Megan Campbell replaced Lucy Bronze to make her first appearance since officially signing for City and almost caught out the Melbourne City keeper a long throw into the penalty area. City continued to press for goals and made it 3-0 on 74 minutes when a corner from Duggan reached Houghton at the far post, her brilliant header back across goal was cleared off the line but she made no mistake drilling the rebound home even if it did take a huge deflection past the goalkeeper and onto the post on the way in.
City had further chances to extend their lead as on 83 minutes Corboz played in Parris with a superb pass but was denied by an excellent save. From the resulting corner Parris header clipped the top of the crossbar. Keira Walsh went close range with a long range effort which skimmed the top of the crossbar. Melbourne finally registered their first attempt on goal in the final minutes but fired well over.
City secured an impressive albeit one-sided win as they collected the FBMA Challenge Trophy as they rounded off their Abu Dhabi pre-season camp.