Damson Park Dames

Last year’s finalists out of the FA WSL Cup

Embed from Getty Images

BIRMINGHAM City’s dream of a second consecutive FA WSL Cup Final is over after a 2-0 defeat away to Manchester City.

Marc Skinner’s side knew they had to win in Manchester to progress from the group stages but conceded twice in the first-half; to Nikita Parris and Claire Emslie.

Despite a spirited second-half performance, Birmingham exits the competition and will now turn their focus to the league and the FA Women’s Cup.

Man City started on the front foot and could have been ahead after just a minute on the clock.

Jane Ross played the ball through to her strike partner Nikita Parris but her shot from a tight angle was well saved by goalkeeper Hannah Hampton.

The 17-year-old was forced to produce another fine save minutes later, after Emslie’s cross was diverted towards goal off the head of skipper Emily Westwood.

Man City eventually broke the deadlock in the 18th minute thanks to Parris.

Ross once again found Parris with a through ball and the quick striker chipped the ball over Hampton and into the net.

Birmingham’s first real chance of the half followed with Jess Carter trying her luck from distance five minutes later.

But it was Man City who found the net once more.

Esme Morgan delivered a superb cross to the back post and Emslie was there to fire the ball home.

The visitors went into the break knowing they now needed at least three goals to keep their cup dreams alive.

Birmingham looked to find a way back into the game after the restart with Rachel Williams’ long-range strike narrowly wide of the mark.

Paige Williams also tried her luck from distance but it landed comfortably into the hands of Bardsley.

Birmingham continued to create chances as the second-half wore on.

Andrine Hegerberg and Rachel Williams both tested Bardsley but neither could beat the Man City shot-stopper.

By the 67th minute, the pressure was starting to show and Paige Williams’ dangerous in-swinging corner forced Bardsley to divert the ball onto the bar and over.

The hosts responded in the final 20 minutes of the game and had chances to further their lead.

Emslie forced a fine save from Hampton before the ball fell to Jill Scott who fired over the bar.

Birmingham looked to have got a goal back as the 90 minutes fast approached.

Hayley Ladd’s whipped corner found its way into the net but the referee adjudged to have seen a push on the goalkeeper from Kerys Harrop and chalked it off.

Despite the Blues’ best efforts, the match ended 2-0 to the home side.

Birmingham’s final game of 2017 sees them return to Damson Park, for the first time since October, to take on Bristol City on Sunday.

Man City: Bardsley, Beattie, Houghton (c), McManus, Morgan, Scott, Christiansen, Walsh, Emslie, Parris, Ross

SUBS: Stanway (62), Toone (70), Hourihan, Roebuck

Blues: Hampton, P Williams, Mannion, Westwood (c), Sargeant, Carter, Ladd, Hegerberg, Wellings, Quinn, R Williams,

SUBS: Harrop (53), Follis (63), Mayling (74), Stenson, Scofield, Cusack, Ayisi

Attendance: 1,077