Report: Blues 0-0 Manchester City (4-5 on penalties)
Blues Women battled out a 0-0 draw with Manchester City, but lost out on penalties in their season opener.
With nothing to separate the scores at full-time, it took a Jennifer Beattie penalty to decide the outcome despite Ann-Katrin Berger making two fantastic saves in the shootout.
Summer signings Chloe Arthur and Lucy Staniforth started as Marc Skinner named an attacking line-up for the first game of the season, while captain Kerys Harrop and Aoife Mannion marshalled the backline.
Blues got off to a great start as they pressed Manchester City’s defence high up the pitch. They were through on goal just three minutes in when Hayley Ladd found herself staring Karen Bardsley in the eye but it was well cleared.
Ladd was central to Blues’ forward passing and she played it behind City’s backline just two minutes after. Staniforth raced onto it but her cross to Ellen White was just over hit as Bardsley collected.
Manchester City did test Blues in the first 45 with their dangerous corners, but the defence dealt with every attack that came their way.
After an edgy first 10 minutes of the second-half, strikes from White and Ladd were inches wide of the target. But City were always poised to attack with Nadium’s shot being saved well by Berger.
There was one final chance for White when she intercepted Bardsley’s goal-kick but she ran out of room in her pursuit to find the winner.
The referee blew his whistle with the honours even, as the teams prepared for penalties.
In an exciting penalty shootout where 14 penalties were taken, City just edged it at the end. Mannion, Harrop, Lucy Quinn and White scored their respective penalties while Berger made two outstanding saves from Abbie McManus and Kiera Walsh.
The draw meant that Blues leave with a point, while City have two as they were awarded one for the result and gained one from winning the shootout.
Blues: Ann-Katrin Berger, Paige Williams, Kerys Harrop, Aoife Mannion, Meaghan Sargeant, Chloe Arthur, Hayley Ladd, Marisa Ewers (Mayling 77’), Lucy Quinn, Lucy Staniforth, Ellen White.
Subs (not used): Hannah Hampton, Sarah Mayling, Connie Scofield, Shania Hayles, Harriet Scott.
Bookings: Harrop (14’), Arthur (17’)
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Gemma Bonner, Steph Houghton, Jennifer Beattie, Abbie McManus, Kiera Walsh, Jill Scott, Caroline Weir, Nikita Parris, Nadia Nadium (Wullaert 77’), Melissa Lawley (Emslie 86’).
Subs (not used): Jess Park, Fran Stenson, Katie Bradley, Mie Lethjans
Bookings: Bonner (66’)
Referee: Jack Shepherd