By Chris Routledge
This week there was a change from the normal league matches and a chance to
play in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. City entered the Cup at the second qualifying
round and were drawn at home to Sunderland West End Ladies, a team which were
always going to be strong having not lost a league game last season or in the early
stages of this one.
The early stages of the game were strongly contested with several rash tackles
resulting in a number of stoppages for injuries and a booking for a Sunderland
player. The physical nature of the game could quite easily have escalated if the
referee had taken a different stance, both teams could have been down to ten or
even nine players.
Although there were not many chances for either team, when called upon City
keeper Hannah Richards made some great stops. Sunderland broke the deadlock
just before half time from a free kick that was and bundled into the net from a tight
angle by the Sunderland striker.
In the second half City came out much stronger with chances for Charlotte Gill and
Charlotte Stuart producing great saves from the Sunderland keeper and captain Zoe
Roberts hitting the bar from a free kick. City were much the dominant team in the
and despite the physical nature did well controlling most of the play except where it
really mattered in their opponents final third.
Despite all the possession and pressure from City it was Sunderland who always
looked dangerous on the break who got their second goal from a corner deep into
the second half.
This was a big disappointment for City who had played so well the previous week but
goals win games and this was another week where the final ball was not good
Manager Chris Hames was rightly disappointed by the result. He said: “We played
to our plan, moved the ball well and caused a number of problems. We opened them
up a lot, must have hit the target a good 10 times - we then fell well short of our
expectations in taking these chances.
“Credit then has to go to them for the way they defended the second ball and
protected their keeper. They only had a couple of chances, but they took them when
it came which ultimately is what wins matches. And best of luck to them in the next
“My main concern was that we have come through that without any serious injury,
and how, I don’t know. Sunderland clearly arrived with a plan, and I’m happy to call
them out on it, because it has no place in today’s game“.
Photos by Alex Daniel - https://www.alexdanielphotos.co.uk/p99301786