And with that, goodbye. Thanks for reading, everyone.
If you haven’t yet seen the own-goal…
We’ll have Suzanne Wrack’s match report up shortly…
What to make of that in the context of Man City’s season, though? Do they take it as a positive that they’ve come from 2-0 behind twice now to claim points, or is it a negative they were 2-0 down in the first place? Nick Cushing said before the game that they needed to get on the front foot from the start, but they most certainly didn’t do that and required a solid effort to come back. Still, three points is three points.
Cracking game, that. Manchester City looked sluggish in the first-half but after their first goal were very solid and determined. That abysmal own-goal knocked them back for a while, but as the game progressed they got stronger and stronger. Birmingham, on the other hand, were too passive even before they went 2-0 up, so in some respects they had it coming. Still, after that second goal few would have predicted the final score.
90 mins + 2: The game just petering out a little now…
90 mins + 1: Ladd tries to weave her way through the Man City defence, moving from the middle out wide. She hits a sort of cross-shot thing that briefly has Roebuck worried, but in the end she watches it go out for a goal-kick.
90 mins: Three minutes of added time: can Birmingham salvage something?
88 mins: Out of basically nothing, Birmingham are nearly level. Staniforth has been their best attacking player, and she drives into the box from the right and batters a shot towards goal. Roebuck saves, and there might have been some post involved too.
87 mins: Berger almost makes a horrendous balls of a pass out, dragging a clearance straight to Weir. Mercifully for her, it was far enough away from the midfielder that she couldn’t do anything of note with it.
85 mins: Birmingham really haven’t been able to respond since the first Man City goal. The visitors are in entire control, and Weir feels emboldened to try an outrageous chip from well outside the box, but realistically it was never going to really work. Berger saves with ease.
82 mins: Change for Birmingham: Shania Hayles is on, Marissa Ewers is off.
80 mins: Man City have the ball in the net, but Emslie was about a light year offside. Still, it came from a Stanway cross who was played in by an absolutely delicious Walsh pass from deep. Almost deserved a goal on its own.
79 mins: Minor note: Birmingham manager Marc Skinner is wearing a Stone Island coat. Just because it works for Pep Guardiola Marc, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you…
77 mins: Inches away from a fourth for Man City! Weir lines up a free-kick just to the right of centre, she curls it over the wall, beats Berger but it bangs against the inside of the post and out again!
75 mins: Stanway opens out her body on the left side of the area and tries to curl a shot into the far corner, but hits it straight at Berger. Man City want more here.
73 mins: Another large dollop of fortune, but they certainly have deserved the goals on the balance of play. Wullaert drives towards the edge of the box on the right, she shoots and the ball loops up off the behind of Harrop, and leaves Berger with no chance.
71 mins: Man City on the front foot now: Emslie wriggles free of some trouble in the box and cuts back to Walsh, but her shot is weak and blocked. The camera cuts to a man wearing a sky blue bucket hat in the crowd. Textbook.
67 mins: Subs for both teams: that’s Parris’s last action, as she’s withdrawn in favour of Claire Emslie, while for Blues Lucy Quinn replaces Mayling.
65 mins: City are level! Weir gets the ball just outside the box and is presented with a crowded area in front of her. But she shows some sensational close control to skip around three defenders, before squaring to Parris who has a simple task of sliding the ball into the bottom corner.
It’s Nikita Parris’s goal but Weir did all the work.
63 mins: Wullaert tries a shot from way Downtown that we’ll file under ‘ambitious’. It scuttles along the floor and Berger saves easily.
60 mins: Scratch that controversy: Roebuck pretty skilfully managed to keep her arms out of the way, and in fact stopped the ball with her chest.
59 mins: A moment of controversy, perhaps: Wellings is brilliantly put through on goal, but Roebuck charges out of goal – outside of her area – to stop her. At first look she appeared to use her hands to do so, but the protests weren’t especially enthusiastic.
58 mins: This is an extremely generous interpretation of the goal…
57 mins: Man City certainly have a bit more purpose to them now: a corner from the left is skimmed over nicely, and Berger has to palm it away from a few players waiting eagerly to head in the equaliser.
54 mins: Man City came back from 2-0 down last weekend and might be doing it again. The ball breaks out to Caroline Weir around the penalty spot, she shoots, it’s charged down by Ewers but it loops up in the air and although Berger gets a hand to it, she can’t stop it going in. Game on!
Big deflection! But Man City are back in it!
53 mins: Good chance for Man City, but Stanway wastes it: she cuts in from the right, reaches the byline with a couple of options for a cut-back, but instead she tries either a shot from an absurd angle or low cross that is easily cleared.
52 mins: Man City getting frustrated now? Ladd smartly wheels around on the halfway line, but Walsh sweeps her ankles away with a needless foul. She’s booked for it.
49 mins: Staniforth puts a corner over from the left, and Meaghan Sargeant gets up for the header at the back stick, then loops a perfectly-judged effort into the far corner, via a pleasing kiss of the post. Big problems for Man City now, particularly given their lack of options on the bench.
And this time, entirely intentional!
46 mins: Peeeeeeeeeep – we’re away again.
Change for Birmingham at half-time: Charlie Wellings is coming on, replacing Follis – could be an injury-enforced one, as Follis was on the rough end of a kicking a few times.
The strains of ‘Feel It’ ring out again, which only means one thing: the second-half is about to get underway.
Slightly odd half, that. Neither side have been especially good, separated only by that moment of high farce early on, Abbie McManus hoofing a pass from the opposition half back to her own keeper, who was beaten by the bounce. Actually, that might be a bit generous: for reasons best known to herself, Roebuck – comfortably in her area – tried to stop with her head rather than using her hands.
Anyway, Man City have struggled to create anything of real note, but Birmingham have dropped back and seemed happy with their 1-0 lead. That could be dangerous if they continue the same approach after the break.
Peeeeeeeeep! With the last kick of the half, Parris is set free behind the Birmingham defence after a mistake by Berger, but the keeper redeems herself by saving the shot.
45 mins + 2: Birmingham – who have looked troublingly passive for the last 20 minutes or so – give the ball away in midfield and are fortunate that Weir’s cross is poor, allowing Berger to nab it again.
45 mins: Stanway pops up on the right and tries to put a low cross into the ol’ corridor of uncertainty, but Berger – seemingly recovered from that bash to the ribs – comes out to claim easily. Three minutes of stoppage time.
44 mins: Man City still struggling to create anything. Wullaert has looked the most likely to spark anything creatively, and again she tries a big ball from the right. It’s cleared quite easily, but at least she’s trying something.
41 mins: Man City go close, close, close! That corner comes over from the right, Beattie gets up and meets the header, from which point the ball disappears into the thicket of legs in the six-yard box. It pops out after a brief scramble, and while a few players claim it had gone over the line, their appeals are turned down. The replay suggests that Staniforth just – just – managed to clear it off the line.
40 mins: Lordy, another injury: Jill Scott goes down this time, her ankle having taken a battering from – I think – the studs of Ewers. She gets back up and makes a decent run down the right, winning a corner, but she doesn’t look comfortable.
39 mins: This does not look like a good laugh at all…
36 mins: Great chance for Parris: terrific ball into the box by Walsh, which Parris takes down on her chest but the touch is a little heavy. Ann-Katrin Berger comes out to take both ball and player (fairly), but while Parris falls on that shoulder again, it’s Berger that needs treatment for what looks like a whack in the ribs. Like City they’ll be reluctant to make the sub, mind: Birmingham don’t have a keeper on the bench.