Mackenzie Smith

Leicester Hit Five Past Sunderland

LCFC Women recorded their first win of the New Year as they cruised past Sunderland in the Continental Tyres League Cup fixture at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground on Wednesday.

The goals were shared across a rampant Leicester side as Missy Goodwin, Sam Tierney, Ava Baker, and Molly Pike (2) all found the net in an impressive Group B match against the Black Cats in the North East. 

Six weeks on from City's home defeat to Chelsea, manager Willie Kirk made five changes to the side that lost at King Power Stadium. Among those changes was Hannah Cain, who made her first Foxes start since returning from an ACL injury. 

The first chance of the night fell to the Welsh forward following a good delivery from a Jemma Purfield free-kick. Unfortunately, the opportunity came too early on in the game and the ball flashed over the bar.

In the 10th minute, the Foxes were in again when Cain rolled the ball into the path of Baker on the edge of the box. The youngster hit the ball well first time, forcing a good save out of the Sunderland 'keeper, who kept the scores level. 

Within the first half-an-hour, Leicester were forced into a change when, following a challenge for a header, Abbie McManus was replaced by youngster Monique Robinson, who would see out the rest of the game in holding midfield. 

Despite the change, the Foxes remained on top and came close once again through their captain. Goodwin picked out Aileen Whelan on the edge of the box after earning the space on the right-flank with some good skill, but Whelan's half-volley curled the wrong side of the post.

Seconds before the break, City eventually took the lead through Goodwin. A ball to the edge of the box found the forward, who didn't look to expect the ball, but was fortunate that a touch off of her upper leg looped over the 'keeper and into the net to score her first Leicester goal.

With a goal advantage, Sunderland were forced to have a higher line in an attempt to get back into the game, and this allowed chances to flow for the travelling Foxes. 

Substitute Robinson was up for first when she connected with a Purfield cross, but the 'keeper made a smart stop to keep the hosts within reach. Cain was then next to see an opportunity when the 23-year-old sent an effort over the bar from close range. 

Leicester's constant pressure was rewarded 20 minutes from time when Tierney gave the Foxes a two-goal lead. Quick feet from Baker allowed her to weave into the box before sending a low cross to the back post where Tierney was to finish. 

Baker, who had just registered an assist moments before, was the next to score her maiden Foxes goal for the travelling side. Switching across to the left wing allowed the forward the opportunity to cut inside, which she did in the 75th minute, picking out the bottom right corner after an electric run into the box.

In the last 10 minutes, Leicester ran away with it, and one player in particular was responsible. Pike etched her name on the scoresheet five minutes from time with an effort from close range from Tierney's cross, before the midfielder was at it again moments before the whistle.

From the edge of the box, the No.8 drilled a low effort past the Sunderland 'keeper, gifting the Foxes all three points, and a perfect start to the New Year. 

Major moment - Goals galore

 

The second half display from the Foxes was impressive to say the least. Solid at the back, and ruthless up front, Leicester were deserving of the three points, and hopefully the confidence that comes with it. 

Who impressed? - Pike at the double 

 

Not only did Molly Pike control the midfield, but the hard-working individual added two goals for herself within the last five minutes. Her attitude to keep running until the final whistle will please her manager for the games to come. 

Where do we stand - Third in Group B

 

Leicester remain third in Group B of the Continental Tyres League Cup with six points from three games, remaining in with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Coming up - Brighton (H)

 

The Foxes return to Barclays Women's Super League action on Sunday 15 January (3pm GMT kick-off) as they face Brighton & Hove Albion at King Power Stadium.

The details…

City: Levell; Bott (Simon 67'), Howard, Plumptre (Smith 61'), Purfield; McManus (Robinson 29'), Pike, Whelan (c) (Tierney 67'); Baker, Goodwin, Cain (C. Jones 61').

Sub not used: Lambourne.

Goals: Goodwin 45+9', Tierney 70', Baker 77', Pike 82', 90+1'.

Leicester City Crest

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