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Rampant Manchester City send Bristol City back to the Champi

Bristol City head coach Lauren Smith pledged to try and “take the Championship by storm” next season as she insisted she is proud of her players despite their relegation from the Women’s Super League.

‌Sunday evening’s 4-0 loss to top-of-the-table Manchester City at Ashton Gate mathematically ensured that that west county club will go straight back to the Championship after one season in the WSL for Smith’s young and injury-hit squad.

‌After winning promotion with last season’s Championship title, they have not disgraced themselves against the WSL’s heavyweights but they have rarely looked like staying up, winning just one of their 20 league games so far.

‌“We knew we were in a fight. It was a relegation fight before we’d even kicked a ball. The players knew it was going to be difficult,” Smith said. “We’ll always look at what we could do better. We’ve had many injuries this year and that has had an impact.

‌“We want to keep as much of a core of this team as we possibly can, but we also have to respect that some of these players will want to, and have the ability, to stay and play in WSL teams. I would love to take this squad into the next season because we’ve got a good bond and we would take the Championship by storm.”

‌Being the only WSL club without the relative luxury of having an affiliate men’s side either in the Premier League or, in the case of Leicester City, in receipt of parachute payments, Bristol City were always going to have their work cut out to stay in the women’s top tier this season, while understood to be operating on the lowest budget in the division. But whilst it was a sad day for the home side, victory had been vital for Manchester City in their own bid to lift a first WSL title since 2016.

‌Gareth Taylor’s side moved six points clear of Chelsea, but the defending champions have two games in hand, starting with their trip to Liverpool on Wednesday. Despite the absence of injured Jamaica striker Bunny Shaw, the division’s top goalscorer this term, Manchester City were still able to find four goals in the second half, including two from Mary Fowler.

‌The breakthrough finally came when Australia’s Fowler was afforded space to run at the Bristol City defence and swerve a stylish strike into the corner from just outside the penalty area. The 21-year-old from Cairns could scarcely have struck the ball sweeter.

Thirteen minutes later, Fowler could scarcely have asked for a better ball in to the near post from Hemp and the Matildas star dutifully turned in her second goal of the evening to make it 2-0.

Fowler buries it home from close range (责任编辑:joseph)