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Manchester City 1 (Duggan 37) Chelsea 1 (Aluko 23)
Manchester City head into the mid-season break in high spirits, having ended their losing streak with a 1-1 draw against table topping Chelsea.
A first half Toni Duggan strike cancelled out Eniola Aluko's opener as the two sides met for the second time in a week, after Bank Holiday Monday's FA Women's Cup semi final clash at Adams Park. On that day, a solitary Ji- So-Yun effort proved enough to separate the sides and send the Londoners to Wembley - and before this clash, Nick Cushing urged his side to secure some revenge on themselves for that defeat with a positive result on Sunday evening.
With a nine-week break following this encounter, both sides were eager to end the first half of the season with a victory. With just four points on the board in the FA Women's Super League table, City were desperate to add to that tally as soon as possible.
After a stop-start opening period which consisted of a single chance each for either side - Duggan's drilled off-target effort and Katie Chapman's low drive - Aluko opened the scoring when Ji So-Yun burst forward before playing a fine reverse pass into the striker, who made no mistake with the finish to get back at her friend and England counterpart.
City responded well and almost found an instant equaliser through Demi Stokes but the left back could only find the side netting. Drew Spence then spurned a glorious chance for the away side, blazing over the bar, before the hosts did net a leveller.
Not to be outdone by her opposite number, Duggan was the one to find it - curling home from just inside the area, after Natasha Harding picked up on Hedvig Lindahl's error before unselfishly squaring for her teammate, via Issy Christiansen's clever dummy, to tie the game before the break.
The encounter continued where it left off in the second half with both sides struggling to retain possession. Karen
Bardsley was called into action again on 68 minutes, diving well to gather Katie Chapman's header and preventing Aluko from snapping up any chance of a rebound.
In a bid to settle his side and bring on some fresh legs, Nick Cushing introduced Natasha Flint and Abbie McManus, and a late stoppage in play allowed the hosts to regroup and receive further advice from the boss. It was almost an inspired substitution. Duggan battled excellently to win back possession and embarked on a wonderful run into the box. Looking up, she spotted Flint in the centre and crossed for the youngster, who fired straight at Lindahl before the ball was cleared away.
It was the best chance of the half for either side to find a winner and left City once again ruing a lack of composure and ruthlessness in and around the box.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Kathleen Radtke, Demi Stokes, Jennifer Beattie, Natasha Harding (sub Natasha Flint 74mins), Chelsea Nightingale (sub Abbie McManus 74mins), Isobel Christiansen, Toni Duggan, Nikita Parris. Subs not used: Alex Brooks, Georgia Brougham, Emma Lipman, Sarah Wiltshire, Krystle Johnston.
Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl, Hannah Blundell, Gilly Flaherty, Niamh Fahey, Claire Rafferty, Millie Bright, Katie Chapman, Eniola Aluko, Drew Spence (sub Ana Borges 45mins), Gemma Davison (sub Jackie Groenen 75mins), Ji So-Yun (sub Laura Coombs 86mins). Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Jodie Brett, Anne Melwald, Marija Banusic.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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