Durham Women FC 0
Johnston (27 mins), Duggan (38 mins), Scott (83 mins)
- Match reports
- 13 July 2014 15:50
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
Manchester City Women booked their place in the semi-finals of the Continental Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Durham Women.
Manager Nick Cushing was delighted with the triumph but, with City having dominated from start to finish, admitted the scoreline could have been a little more flattering - as it was in the pre-season friendly between the two sides back in March.
"I'm really pleased we've managed to top the group - particularly as we'd lost the first game in this competition," he declared.
"On reflection, it was always going to take time for us to gel as a team but I'm very happy we've been able to put things right and win the last four games.
"I was a little bit frustrated in the first ten minutes today. I thought we were a little bit impatient and a bit scruffy but I just sat back and the players managed to sort things out themselves which was good.
"They settled the game down, got control of the ball and we went on to win the game comfortably from there.
"I think we can still improve in and around the final third. We are mindful we could have scored more goals today but we are trying to impose a brand new methodology and philosophy onto these players and that takes time.
"We built from the back very well though. Yes, we want more goals but that doesn't make today a major disaster - we can get back on the training pitch to make that right.
"It's great that we're in a semi-final of a cup competition but we want more games. Games give us a chance to put right the things we feel we could have done better. So in the next game, we will be looking for more quality in the final third.
"Tomorrow, we'll regroup and start preparing for the Notts County game on Thursday. We have two important games this week and we need to prepare properly."
In the knowledge of what was riding on this encounter, Cushing sought to avoid any chance of an upset against a side without a win in the competition, fielding a strong team against the FA Women's Super League 2 outfit.
From the kick-off, the difference between the two sides became evident as City carved through the Durham defence with ease - only to be prevented by Danielle Hill in the Wildcats' goal.
Natasha Flint created the first real effort of the afternoon but fired straight at the shot-stopper before Johnston's shot suffered the same fate just three minutes later.
Having failed to convert from close range, City tried their luck from further out but Johnston and Scott both fired straight at Hill, whilst Duggan's curler dragged wide.
After 27 minutes of total domination, the Blues finally broke the deadlock as Johnston swept home at the far post, from Flint's pin-point cross.
Reflecting on her strike, the 30-year-old smiled: "I thought it wasn't going to be my day when I missed the one-on-one earlier in the game but Tash delivered a great cross to find me. No-one was marking me and I'm delighted to get on the scoresheet."
It was no more than the visitors deserved and they almost doubled their advantage straight away - only for Duggan to beat the goalkeeper but hit the post.
Flint then hit the bar with a trademark thunderbolt but City did net a second on 38 minutes. Scott, who - like Betsy Hassett - was at the heart of most City attacks all afternoon, sent Duggan clear and the England striker coolly slotted past Hill to mark her full return from injury with a goal.
A minute later, the striker found the back of the net again but the linesman had flagged for offside.
After the break, the Blues took their foot off the gas slightly. Duggan, Flint and Isobel Christiansen all saw efforts fly off-target before Cushing opted to make changes - perhaps with half an eye on the upcoming fixture pile-up.
Substitute Danielle Young had the greatest impact, delivering an inch-perfect cross for Scott to head in the third of the afternoon on 83 minutes.
Youngster Alex Brooks then came on to replace Karen Bardsley but as it turned out neither goalkeeper had a save to make, as Durham's only effort arrived on 88 minutes but sailed high and wide.
That proved to be the last notable action of the game and the Blues eased to a comfortable win to join Arsenal Ladies, Chelsea Ladies and Thursday's visitors Notts County Ladies in the semi-finals.
Keep checking mcfc.co.uk over the next few days to discover who Cushing's side will face.