Vivianne Miedema scored all four goals as we ran out 4-0 winners over London City Lionesses in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup on Wednesday night.
Fran Stenson made her debut for the club and produced an outstanding save to keep a clean sheet, while Jill Roord, Kim Little and Leonie Maier made their respective returns from injury.
Four academy products were named on our bench in Anouk Denton, Gracie Pearse and Grace Garrad, with Ruby Mace playing the entirety of the second half.
We wasted no time in asserting our dominance at Princes Park, pinning the hosts back and forcing them to defend from the edge of their penalty area - and after just 21 minutes, Miedema opened the scoring.
The Netherlands international picked up the ball on the halfway line, shrugged off two defenders and fired into the bottom corner.
Shortly after, she combined with Caitlin Foord 30 yards from goal, before shifting the ball away from her marker, dribbling to the left side of the area and finishing across the keeper.
Our No 11 was in inspired form and with just five minutes remaining of the first half, she sealed her hat-trick, latching on to Jill Roord’s squared pass to find the top corner.
Following the restart, we came close through Foord and Danielle van de Donk, but once again, it was Miedema who found the back of the net, storming into the penalty area and firing low to further our advantage. Van de Donk provided the assist, but it was Miedema who carved open the chance with some fine footwork.
With a comfortable lead, Joe Montemurro opted for a number of tactical and personnel changes on the hour mark.
With Maier and Little replacing Lotte Wubben-Moy and Miedema, we switched to a back three, with Lia Walti on the right, Viki Schnaderbeck in the middle and Leah Williamson on the left. Maier and McCabe then operated as wing backs, with Foord leading the line.
This saw us create a number of golden chances in the closing stages. First, Foord’s low drive from the edge of the area hit the woodwork, before Malin Gut had a chance to open her account, waltzing through the hosts’ defence, only to fire a tame effort straight at the goalkeeper.
With the potential for goal difference to play a key role in our progression from Group B, we continued to push forward in search of our fifth, but were unable to provide the all-important final touch.
WHAT IT MEANS
We're currently third in Group B with three points from two fixtures and a goal difference of +1.
Up next, we will face Manchester United in the Women’s Super League on Sunday, November 8.
The game will take place at Leigh Sports Village with kick-off at 2.30pm (UK time).
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