‘Fearless’ Georgia Stanway fires City hat-trick in win over Sunderland
In just her second start of the season 17 year old Georgia Stanway’s fired a hat-trick to lift Manchester City four points clear at the top of WSL1 with a 3-0 win over Sunderland.
It was a dominant performance from start to finish for the home side as Sunderland had little answer for City’s front three of Stanway, Jane Ross and Nikita Parris. City were on the front font from kick off and it took just seven minutes for their first sight of goal as Jane Ross rattled the underside of the crossbar when she got on the end of a looping Megan Campbell cross. Campbell, despite having moved to centre back in the absence of the injured Abbie McManus, continued to be an attacking threat as the Irish international managed to reach a near post corner and force Sunderland goalkeeper Rachael Laws into a sharpe reaction save on 17 minutes.
The goal came a minute later as Georgia Stanway found herself in space inside the Sunderland penalty area and drilled a low hard shot past Laws into the bottom left hand corner. It was the England Under-19 international’s second goal in consecutive starts for City.
From then it was case of how many as, from the re-start, Demi Stokes drilled an effort just over the bar from 30 yards out before Steph Houghton went close on 24 minutes diverting another Megan Campbell free kick just wide. The woodwork was struck a second time on 26 minutes when Lucy Bronze cut in from the right and clipped a left footed effort onto the bar from 20 yards out.
City’s dominance was almost undone at the end of the first half Sunderland awoke from their slumber as a Rachel Furness volley forced a world class save from Karen Bardsley at her near post. It was Sunderland’s only real chance of the afternoon and the 1-0 half time scoreline did not truly reflect City’s dominance.
The second half began in similar vein to the first with City in control and they took the lead just nine minutes into it as some free flowing football on the right from Jill Scott and Bronze saw a low cross defected into the path of Stanway who doubled the lead drilling another hard low unstoppable effort into the bottom left hand corner past Laws.
Having notched 13 goals in the last two outings City went in search of another rout as Jane Ross went close from a corner on 61 minutes when her flicked on header was cleared off the line. Four minutes later a superb hanging cross from the right hand side from Scott found Parris in the six yard box but she could only divert her header into the hands of Laws in the Sunderland goal.
The chances continued to stack up as Lucy Bronze went close after a drive from deep saw her play a wonderfully flicked on one-two with Scott at the edge of other area but she chose to square it rather than shoot. From the resultant corner substitute Tessell Middag’s low shot was cleared off the line after an initial header back across goal.
A special day was rounded off on 80 minutes when Sunderland surrendered possession deep inside their own half and quick City passing found substitute Toni Duggan at the edge of the penalty who selflessly laid it off to Stanway who curled a powerful shot back across goal off the inside of the post. The young City winger almost added a fourth moments later as a free flowing move saw her shot deflected before she was substituted to a standing ovation from the home supporters.
Manager Nick Cushing was delighted with his team’s performance
“We had to be patient, stick to our style and keep playing. I thought it ebbed and flowed for us, I thought we got impatient and then went back to being patient.” “The analyst told me we created 34 chances, we’re doing alright and we’re winning so I’m pleased.” “As a coach the performance is the most important thing to me. Yeah, I want to win but I want to win well and I want to play well.”
He was equally delighted with the performance of Georgia Stanway; “If you are good enough it doesn’t matter how old you are. One of our strategies at Manchester City is to produce our own.” “[Stanway]’s come in as a 16 year old and really worked hard and she’ll continue to work hard.”
“What she brings is she’s fearless and if you know her and her character she’s a brave and competitive person. She get’s chances, she takes them, she worked really hard and she’ll keep her place in the team.
Sunderland Manager Carlton Fairweather was rather pragmatic in his post match assessment: “We’ll look at the goals we’ve given away but you have to be realistic. This is Manchester City, they’re a top side, top of the league and they don’t concede many goals. It was always going to be a difficult game for us but we go back to the drawing board because we’ve got some game coming up where we can get some positive results.”