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Birmingham City 1 (Wellings 72)
att: 35,271; at Wembley Stadium>
Manchester City 4 (Bronze 17, Christiansen 24, Lloyd 31, Scott 79)
Birmingham City 1 (Wellings 72)
att: 35,271; at Wembley Stadium
Manchester City lifted their third major domestic trophy in six months as they proved too strong for Birmingham City and three goals in fifteen first half minutes saw them on their way to victory at Wembley Stadium.
In front of a record breaking crowd, three of Man City's England internationals and USA star Carli Lloyd all found the net but it was an all round team effort from Nick Cushing's side and young midfielder Keira Walsh had a fine game, earning her the Player of the Match award.
Freda Ayisi proved the game's first shot on goal as Birmingham began brightly, an effort from distance which flew straight at Karen Bardsley, whilst at the other end Kerys Harrop made an important touch to divert away a Melissa Lawley cross which looked destined for Jill Scott.
Megan Campbell hit the side netting at the near post from a corner but just over a minute later, the defender turned provider as her side took the lead. From a free kick on the right near the touchline, Campbell drove the ball into the near post where Lucy Bronze, the defender with a predatory striker's instinct, threw herself headlong to glance a header past Ann-Katrin Berger.
Bronze was to turn provider just seven minutes later, with a strong run down the right before clipping the ball into the area. Three Man City players were in the box but all left it to the oncoming Izzy Christiansen who swept the ball into the roof of the net on the half volley to put her side two ahead.
Bardsley did well to claim an Ayisi cross under pressure from Ellie Brazil at the other end but the reigning Champions were looking dangerous every time they went forward. Carli Lloyd made an interception and carried the ball forward before slipping it through to Lawleywhose shot was saved at the near post by Berger. The corner was played back to Campbell whose pumped a cross into the area, Berger came out and missed the ball and Lloyd rose highest at the far post to plant a downward header into the empty net.
Lloyd made another strong run to the goal line, cutting the ball back for Christiansen who could not get her shot away, instead teeing up Bronze whose effort was wide.
Birmingham went into the second half desperately needing to find a way back into the game and produced a couple of promising moves which broke down just inside the area. The first effort on goal came at the other end, a powerful Steph Houghton header from a corner which was off target.
Demi Stokes made a good run forward before sliding the ball into the path of Parris whose shot was well saved at full stretch by Berger.
Ellen White was continuing to work hard for Birmingham and she produced their best effort so far with a 25-yard drive which Bardsley gathered at the second attempt as Ayisi closed in.
Berger needed to be quick off her line at the other end to deny the oncoming Parris after Lloyd and Jill Scott had combined to put her through. Toni Duggan was then put away by a fine pass from Christiansen but Berger again came to the rescue with a good block from her angled shot.
Birmingham were to give themselves a lifeline though with eighteen minutes remaining. After good work down the right by Charlie Wellings, she found Ellie Brazil who returned the ball to her and Wellings planted a delightful left foot shot just inside the far post to reduce the arrears.
The goal gave Birmingham fresh impetus and their pacey forward line tried to seek another but the game was put beyond doubt as Duggan clipped a crossfield pass to find Scott in the area, where she evaded a tired looking challenge from Kerys Harrop before drilling her shot into the far top corner.
Birmingham ought to have struck back straight away as White shot over from twelve yards after being picked out by Sarah Mayling's cross. The Blues did not give up but there was no way back into the game for them and as the game went into injury time, Houghton had a chance for a fifth but her free kick from the edge of the area went straight at Berger. Georgia Stanway made a driving run into the area where she turned past Harrop but shot over, but Manchester City celebrations were just seconds away and soon started in earnest.
Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh, Megan Campbell (sub Abbie McManus 77mins), Steph Houghton, Nikita Parris (sub Georgia Stanway 70mins), Jill Scott, Melissa Lawley (sub Toni Duggan 55mins), Carli Lloyd, Isobel Christiansen. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Jennifer Beattie.
Ann-Katrin Berger, Meaghan Sargeant, Paige Williams (sub Abbey Leigh Stringer 87mins), Jess Carter, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Freda Ayisi (sub Charlie Wellings 63mins), Sarah Mayling, Ellen White, Ellie Brazil, Andrine Hegerberg (sub Chloe Peplow 82mins). Subs not used: Sophie Baggaley, Emily Westwood.
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