5 mins: Fiskerstrand gets her first proper touch, gathering a low cross from Hemp. Then great feet by Kelly on City’s right, nutmegging Connolly with a stepover and flick, but the cross is bundled clear.
3 mins: Big decision early on for the referee, who waves away appeals for a City penalty after a short corner. Seen ‘em given. City respond by piling on more pressure – Brighton can’t get out of their half.
2 mins: An early sighter from Stanway is deflected over after some smart midfield play by Weir.
And we’re away! City kick off and look purposeful, knocking the ball crisply around the backline and working it well down the left.
Fair to say the omens aren’t great for Brighton. Their records against today’s opponents reads: played six, won zero, scored none.
Meanwhile, up in Leigh Sports Village, Ella Toone has doubled Manchester United’s lead late on. Casey Stoney’s team will usurp Chelsea at the top of the WSL and as it stands are eight points ahead of their local rivals having played two games more. Over to you, City.
Brighton: Fiskerstrand, Bowman, Kirkdijk, Le Tissier, Whelen, Connolly, Kaagman, Heroum, Green, Brazil, Jarrett. Subs: Walsh, Roe, Simpkins, Williams, Bance.
Man City: Roebuck, Bronze, Houghton (C), Greenwood, Morgan, Walsh, Weir, Stanway, Kelly, Hemp, White. Subs: Bardsley, Coombs, Park, Beckie, Ravening, Window, Davies, Phillips
Manchester City have unfinished business. Sat regally stop the WSL table when last season was suspended, they were left to watch in horror when it was decided that the campaign would be resolved on a points-per-game basis – and therefore that Chelsea would take the title. As this season hits its midway point, Gareth Taylor’s side, in fourth, are looking up not only at their nemesis from last year but their upwardly mobile local rivals – Manchester United are currently 1-0 against Birmingham and on course to take top spot.
But it’s tight up there, and a win here would put them in touching distance: four points off United with a game in hand. And with Arsenal and Chelsea’s games today postponed, City have the chance to build momentum unavailable their rivals.
Brighton, meanwhile, are looking down rather than up. One win in their last five has left them fourth from bottom, with only the paucity of Bristol City’s points haul to give them comfort. They could use a win today as much as Man City – and stranger things have certainly happened. Kickoff soon!