Manchester City returned to the top of FAWSL 1 table on goal difference after comfortably dispatching Bristol City on Thursday night.
Goals from Jill Scott, Claire Emslie, Jane Ross, Nikita Parris, substitute Nadia Nadim and a Sophie Baggaley own goal secured a 6-1 win at the Vixens that put City’s Champions League semi-final heartbreak firmly to bed.
Bristol skipper Millie Turner pulled a goal back for the Vixens with 20 minutes remaining, but the outcome was never really in doubt once the visitors had opened up a four-goal lead and they are now back above Chelsea at the summit thanks to a superior goal difference.
The visitors enjoyed the majority of possession in front of watching England boss Phil Neville in the first half, but found it tough to break down the home side, Turner clearing off the line in the 19th minute to deny Emslie.
Their breakthrough came four minutes before the break when defender Jen Beattie nodded Emslie’s corner delivery back across goal, and Three Lionesses’ midfielder Scott rose near the far post to steer her header home.
The visitors extended their lead early in the second period from a free kick 25 yards out.
Houghton ran over the ball and Emslie fired in a left-foot shot which flew through a crowd of players and past keeper Baggaley.
The home side then paid the price for defensive hesitancy in the 59th minute as they waited for an offside flag which never came. Ross took advantage to go through one-on-one before slipping the ball home.
And two minutes later, the visitors netted their fourth thanks to a fine individual effort from Parris, who skipped past a clutch of defenders before firing home with a fine strike.
Though the Vixens pulled a goal back 20 minutes from time through Turner, there was to be no way back for the home side.
The visitors still had time to add a fifth goal nine minutes from time, substitute Nadim lobbing home over Baggale and in the final move of the game, Baggaley could only turn a Georgia Stanway cross into her own net.
Bristol City boss Willie Kirk said: “I thought we did well in the first half but a ten or 15-minute period in the second half decided the outcome of the game.
“It’s not the first time that has happened to us this season – it’s probably the third or fourth time – and we actually talked about it in the build-up to the game, so that was disappointing for us.
“Conceding just before the interval was a blow for us, but we actually felt confident we could come out in the second half and stay in the game, but it’s the same thing that keeps tripping us up.
“We have got some players who are leaders and can pull people together, but some of the young ones don’t know how to react after conceding. When you collapse for 15 minutes against a team like Manchester City, then it absolutely kills you because they are so clinical.”
Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott: “We knew we had to come here and win and, although it’s a cliche, all we can do now is take it one game at a time. But it’s good to boost our goals difference and overtake Chelsea.
“Bristol are a team with a lot of heart, a lot of fight and are hardworking so we knew it might take 20 to 30 minutes to grind them down.
“But I think our fitness told in the end and we overran them a little bit. It was good that we stayed patient and got our reward at the end.”
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