Lydia Bedford made seven changes to the side that narrowly lost to Reading in the Barclays FA Women's Super League on Sunday, handing out five debuts, with four Academy graduates also in the starting XI. A nine-goal swing was required to progress into the quarter-finals.
Goalkeeper Sophie Harris and summer signing Luana Zajmi both made their first appearances for the Foxes, while youngsters Ava Baker, Alanta Brown and Monique Robinson all stepped up from the Academy. Abbi Grant, meanwhile, was making her home bow after also featuring from the start at the weekend.
A near full strength Manchester City side packed with England internationals were ruthless in their attacking play during the first half, needing a win to send them through to the knockout stages.
Once Georgia Stanway’s sighter flew past the post, the deadlock was broken inside the opening 10 minutes. Jess Park crossed for Ellen White – the Lionesses’ all-time record goalscorer – and she did the rest to hand Gareth Taylor’s side the lead.
Further good build-up play from the away side led to Lauren Hemp firing narrowly wide and she would soon find the net, getting on the end of another pinpoint Park cross into the penalty box on the quarter-hour mark.
A minute later, the Citizens had their third. Stanway made no mistake this time, arrowing the ball past Harris from distance, with Hemp adding her name to the assist column in the process.
Debutant Harris had more work to do, tipping Park’s shot over the crossbar as the winger looked for a goal of her own after setting up the first two, before the shot-stopper got down to White’s header from Alex Greenwood’s centre.
Hemp’s second of the night arrived on 33 minutes, meeting a cross from former FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Lucy Bronze to move the away side into a four-goal lead.
Further first-half chances fell to Filippa Angeldahl, who was slipped in by Bronze and forced Harris into a smart save, before the Swedish midfielder’s second effort was blocked.
Harris was in the action again to tip captain Steph Houghton’s free-kick onto the post and save Bronze’s attempt, either side of Hemp’s header coming back off the crossbar.
Manchester City began the second period in the same vain, netting a fifth goal inside the first minute of the half courtesy of a fine effort from range by Vicky Losada, which could have set the tone for another onslaught.
However, the youthful Foxes side put up a strong fight, with Harris parrying substitute Demi Stokes’ strike away.
And Leicester’s first foray into the penalty box almost brought about an opportunity to score, with Grant finding Robinson, who appeared to be shoved in the back by Stanway, but referee Amy Fearn was unmoved.
Meanwhile, back at the other end, Park’s cross to White was headed wide and the same combination soon brought yet another save from the ex-Watford ‘keeper, who also denied Angeldahl.
The Foxes pushed for a consolation in the closing stages, when Charlie Devlin, introduced at half-time, saw debutant Khiara Keating off her line and took aim, only for the ball to land wide of the target.
Winger Ava Baker was one of the Academy graduates handed a first senior appearance.
Rather than any of the match action, seeing five debutants and four Academy players on the pitch was a sign of the progress being made within the Academy set-up at Belvoir Drive and shows promising signs for the future.
A bright display in the middle of the park from the Foxes youngster.
Academy graduate Monique Robinson was an energetic and lively figure in the midfield and was unfortunate not to win her side a penalty.
Where do we stand?
The Scotland international started for the second successive game after her full debut on Sunday.
Leicester bow out of the Continental Tyres League Cup at the group stage, finishing fourth in the five-team group, collecting five points from four matches.
Charlie Devlin was introduced as a second half substitute in Burton.
The Foxes are straight back into Women’s Super League action on Sunday, facing Brighton & Hove Albion at King Power Stadium (2pm kick-off).
City: Harris; De Graaf (Tierney 73’), Brougham, Brown (Pike 84’), Purfield (Howard 73’); Barker (c), Zajmi, Robinson; Baker, Grant, Camwell (Devlin 46’).
Subs not used: Lambourne, McManus, Plumptre, Wood.
All times GMT.
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