BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea Women 0 v Man City Women 2
Chelsea missed a raft of first half chances and were left to pay the consequence as they crashed out of the Continental Tyres Cup once again at the semi-final stage, losing 2-0 to Manchester City at Kingsmeadow.
Nikita Parris scored a brace, one a penalty as the visitors rode their luck early on and when presented with a clear-cut penalty after a quick breakaway took it.
That knocked the stuffing out of Emma Hayes side and while pushing for an equaliser, left themselves vulnerable again at the back and live-wire Parris out sprinted the chasing pack to slot home the killer goal.
This is the third time that the Northerners had dispatched the Blues in the semi-final stage of this competition.
Ironically Chelsea have won the past three semi-finals against them in the FA Cup.
They face each other again, one Sunday in a crucial WSL1 match at the Manchester Academy.
Chelsea started the more nervous, and City looked dangerous on the break, but twice they were caught offside.
But it was the home side with the first effort on goal, a long-range right-footer by Fran Kirby which Karen Bardsley had no trouble in stopping in its tracks.
Bardsley made a superb save to thwart Kirby, two minutes later when a quick break saw the visitors defence torn apart. The ball slipped to in-running Erin Cuthbert’s but she could only get a connection on the ball that saw it lift over the crossbar.
A sensational save by Bardsley from a venomous right-footer volley by Cuthbert should have seen the Blues take the lead on 33 minutes. The Scotland midfielder latched onto a beauty of a Jess carter right-wing cross.
Millie Bright saw a goal-bound left-footer cut out by Gemma Bonner a minute later as the home side piled on the pressure.
Following a cleared free-kick, City’s Tessa Wullaert saw a daisy-cutter of a left foot saved by Lindahl on 36 minutes.
Beth England missed a sitter five minutes from the break when she misjudged then flight of an excellent Ali Riley byline cross, instead she glanced her close range header wide.
There were no changes by either side at half time.
But the first effort of the second half fell to the visitors’ Nikita Parris but Lindal saved well.
Seconds later and the forward was hacked down in the penalty area by Deanna Cooper. Referee David Rock, pointed to the spot. Up stepped Parris who smashed the ball home.
Cooper was booked for the could and she was followed in to the book by Magdalena Eriksson who felled Demi Stokes.
Kirby lost her finishing instinct when clean through on 58 minutes. Instead of shooting, she delayed and was forced to try and take on the city rearguard who had quickly got behind the ball.
City then took control of the match, possession-wise.
Sensing this, Emma Hayes had enough and made her first change – Ali Riley making way for Drew Spence on 64 minutes.
England tried a rasper of a right-footer a minute later but the ball sailed over the City crossbar.
Hayes opted to take a chance and brought on her final two subs on 74 minutes – off came Cooper for Jonna Andersson, and Carter was replaced by Hannah Blundell.
A Blundell drive resulted three minutes after coming on, but Bardsley got her body behind the ball and snaffled it easily.
Pushing for the equaliser, the visitors sat back, and waited for the chance to pounce. That they did with nine minutes left. Parris raced clear of the chancing pack and cooly slotted home past Lindahl.
From then it was game over for the Londoners.
Lindahl, Bright, Asante, Carter, Ji, Riley, Kirby, England, Eriksson, Cooper, Cuthbert
Telford, Blundell, Ingle, Carney, Engman, Andersson, Spence
City Bardsley, Stokes, Bonner, Beattie, Houghton, Scott, Stanway, Parris, Weir, Walsh, Wullaert
Subs, Roebuck, Lawley, Bremen, Morgan, Hemp, Park, Emilie