Mary Fowler strikes as Man City revive WSL title hopes

Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

Mary Fowler is grasping her late-season opportunity to shine for Manchester City, scoring her first goal of the Women's Super League season to help their title push in a convincing 4-1 win at Brighton.

The 21-year-old Matilda has found herself on the subs' bench for much of the season, brought on by City for cameo roles.

Yet given another starting role on Sunday (Monday AEDT), Fowler was an influential figure as she also enjoyed an assist for the fourth goal in the win that takes City back alongside Chelsea at the top of the table, second only on goal difference.

It was the Matildas' coach Tony Gustavsson who had hoped Fowler's flourishing national team form would earn her more playing minutes for City, and Gareth Taylor has begun to oblige by giving her another 90-minute role.

After player-of-the-match Lauren Hemp had put City ahead in the 27th minute following a move which had been initiated in midfield by Fowler, the Australian then struck her third goal of the season - after two previous goals in FA Cup action - five minutes before the break.

Following a neat one-two with Laura Coombs, Hemp delivered a pinpoint cross from the left with Fowler sliding in, criminally unmarked from the right flank, to finish with precision.

Fowler also had a chance of adding her second just before the break but her shot was well blocked by Emma Kullberg.

City got their third in the 69th minute with an almost inevitable Khadija Shaw header - the league's top scorer notching her 16th of the campaign - before Fowler's pinpoint cut-back from the right flank enabled Coombs to make it four.

Taylor was left irritated that Brighton were able to grab a stoppage-time consolation through Lee Geum-min, which could prove significant as they now trail Chelsea by two in the goal-difference stakes.

But he was impressed with the display of Fowler.

"I thought we played some really good stuff. We've spoken about Mary for a long time and about what's she capable of doing, and at the top of the pitch, we've got good options now," said Taylor.

Elsewhere, struggling West Ham, with Matildas Katrina Gorry and Mackenzie Arnold in their ranks, went down 3-1 at Liverpool.

Arnold was left unhappy about Liverpool's opening goal when Leanne Kiernan prodded the ball into an empty net after the keeper felt she had been fouled in a collision with Liverpool's Ceri Holland.

Liverpool are now fifth in the table, behind Manchester United, who beat Bristol City 2-0, only on goal difference.