There were two switches from the Leicester side beaten by Arsenal as Sam Tierney – suspended after receiving her fifth booking last time out - and Sophie Barker made way for Molly Pike and Abbie McManus, who both returned from injury to play in centre midfield.
Man City controlled possession in the early stages but it was a solid start from the Foxes during that opening quarter of an hour, restricting the hosts to a single effort on goal which saw Lauren Hemp find Ellen White and her low being shot saved at the near post by Demi Lambourne.
The next clear-cut opportunity brought the first goal as Lucy Bronze played a neat ball in behind Jemma Purfield to pick out Chloe Kelly, who pulled the ball back for Scotland international Caroline Weir to slide in and pick out the bottom corner on 16 minutes.
After a period of little goalmouth action, Bronze linked up with Kelly again before motoring down the right wing and teeing up White, who was unable to find the target, hitting the side netting.
Hemp then went close as the clock ticked towards the final few minutes of the first half, sprinting down the left and arrowing a low strike narrowly wide of the far post and Lambourne’s outstretched dive.
Moments later, Bronze’s deep cross picked out Hemp and City’s shot-stopper did well to claim the winger’s subsequent flick back across goal.
But she would soon be beaten for a second time. After neat build-up play, Julie Blakstad’s cross was cut out by Sophie Howard, but it feel kindly for Hemp, enabling her to exchange a quick one-two with White before chipping the ball over Lambourne to double the advantage two minutes before the break.
That lead became three in first-half stoppage time courtesy of a stunning goal from Blakstad, who picked out the top corner with a first-time strike from the left-hand side following Hemp’s strong run through midfield.
The Citizens were immediately on the front foot in the second half when Lambourne was forced to palm away Weir’s long-range strike. Leicester also had a sighting of goal of their own soon after, but Natasha Flint was unable to trouble Man City ‘keeper Ellie Roebuck with a shot from distance.
Full-back Purfield then had the away side’s first shot on target, curling a free-kick that Roebuck was able to claim.
Back at the other end, Laura Coombs shot was comfortable for Lambourne to hold on to, before the fourth and final goal of the afternoon arrived via the penalty spot.
Lambourne was adjudged to have brought Hemp down in the box on 63 minutes, leaving Alex Greenwood to slot the resulting penalty into the bottom corner, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
A double change for the Foxes added fresh legs to the midfield, with Connie Scofield and Barker introduced in place of Shannon O’Brien and McManus. Paige Bailey-Gayle was soon brought on too, with Flint making way.
But it was more of the same from the hosts, who searched for further goals in the final 20 minutes. Hemp teed up substitute Bunny Shaw, who fired well wide, ahead of Bronze’s clipped cross being well taken down by Weir, who couldn’t find the finish to match, but came closer with her next attempt, clipping the roof of the net.
Fellow Man City substitutes Demi Stokes, Filippa Angeldahl and Georgia Stanway all took aim too, the former dragging her attempt wide, before Angeldahl struck over the top and Stanway saw her attempt deflect wide.
Alanna Kennedy headed over from Kelly’s corner in the closing stages, but the Citizens were unable to add to their four-goal cushion.
The England youth international battles with Lucy Bronze during the first half at Academy Stadium.
Manchester City had not caused the visitors too many problems in the first 40 minutes of play, scoring just the once, but conceding twice immediately before the half-time interval was a big blow to Leicester’s chances of taking something from the game.
Where do we stand?
The defender puts a tackle in to prevent substitute Bunny Shaw getting away.
City remain 11th in the league standings, having collected 12 points from 20 games. Birmingham City, occupying the relegation spot, are now four points behind the Foxes with a game in hand.
Lauren Hemp was a constant threat for the Leicester backline.
Leicester face Reading at King Power Stadium next Sunday, in the final home fixture of the WSL campaign. (2pm BST kick-off). Tickets are available HERE.
City: Lambourne; De Graaf, Howard, Plumptre, Purfield; Goodwin, McManus (c) (Barker 65’), Pike, Gregory; O’Brien (Scofield 65’); Flint (Bailey-Gayle 71’).
Subs not used: Harris, Brougham, Boddy, Devlin.
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