Manchester City have scored six goals in the last 15 minutes of the first half this WSL season, only Tottenham (seven) have scored more goals
Manchester City bounced back from back-to-back defeats to beat rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford and get their quest for the Women’s Super League title back on track.
In front of a record crowd of 43,615 for a Manchester United WSL game, Gareth Taylor’s side reminded the city of their superiority in women’s football by coming from behind to secure victory despite having just 10 players available in the final 15 minutes stood.
United captain Katie Zelem gave the hosts the lead with a penalty point after England defender Alex Greenwood blocked Melvine Malard’s shot with his arm.
But City’s Jill Roord and her teammate Lauren Hemp scored within two minutes to turn the game in the visitors’ favour. They added a third goal after the break when Khadjia Shaw canceled out goalkeeper Mary Earps’ free kick.
With City seemingly in control, United were given a lifeline when Laia Aleixandri was sent off for a second yellow card, but Marc Skinner’s side could find no answer.
The win moves City into third place in the WSL table, six points behind leaders Chelsea, while United are one point behind in fourth place.
Kelly delights in victory as City boost their title hopes
Chloe Kelly (left) got an assist at Old Trafford before being eliminated in the second half
After back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Brighton, City boss Taylor said this week that his side must remain unbeaten for the rest of the season if they are to win the title.
They arrived at Old Trafford under pressure to win and started with intensity, pushing high up the pitch and forcing goalkeeper Earps to make a number of missed shots.
Greenwood, Shaw and Alanna Kennedy all had chances from set-pieces, while Hemp tested Earps before United broke through.
Finally, the home fans had reason to celebrate as summer signing Malard showed some creativity. He first turned away from Leila Ouahabi and then flicked the ball over the same opponent to pass to Ella Toone, but the England midfielder deflected her shot into the box.
Malard was United’s brightest spark and was rewarded when Greenwood, returning to City after a concussion break, could only block her shot with her arm to give the penalty a penalty.
That seemed to breathe life into the hosts, who were cheered on by thousands in the Old Trafford stands, and they thought they had doubled their lead when Geyse took advantage of a rebound from her shot and fired the ball over the line.
However, a close call from the referees went in City’s favor as the ball was no longer in play before Geyse squeezed it in.
Three minutes later, Roord equalized after Chloe Kelly beat Lisa Naalsund on the left, and Hemp punished United again moments later.
Boos rang out at Old Trafford as Kelly cheered in front of the United fans, covering her ear after Roord’s equalizer before slapping the City crest on her chest as Hemp made the final score 2-1.
She was one of many players rejoicing in victory after the final whistle, as City’s players ran towards their fans in the corner, dancing and pumping their fists, while United’s team huddled around Skinner, looking extremely disappointed.
“It’s becoming a real rivalry and it’s no longer saying, ‘Oh, it’s a great day we’re coming to,’ and that’s a credit to the fans,” United coach Skinner said.
“They want to see the performances. The players have to get involved. If Chloe.” [Kelly] celebrated like that, then that’s part of a derby.
“I like the rivalry. We were on the losing side tonight so it hurts, but we have to be motivated by the fact that we want to be on the other side after the next game.”
Both teams’ priority will be a top-three finish to qualify for next season’s Champions League and City know this represents a big boost to their WSL title hopes – they couldn’t afford to take it any further losing to league leaders Chelsea.
United miss the chance to progress
Manchester United have beaten rivals Manchester City just once in eight meetings
After watching City compete for trophies over the last decade, United are finally in regular conversation with the WSL giants and this was an opportunity to show their progress on the big stage.
It was always going to be a challenge – City have only lost one of their seven WSL games against United, albeit in the last derby in May.
United strengthened in the summer transfer window to build a squad capable of playing in Europe, but defeat to Paris St-Germain in the Champions League qualifying rounds ended their hopes prematurely.
That means everyone is focused on the WSL title, but this is a damaging defeat that comes on top of disappointing draws against Leicester City, Brighton and Arsenal which have opened a gap between United and Chelsea.
City looked comfortable throughout, even with just 10 players remaining, and despite United’s entire summer expenditure, they failed to find a response with the support of an expectant Old Trafford crowd.
There were too many individual errors, including Earps’ hesitation when he was blocked by Shaw after a poor back pass from Maya le Tissier to make it 3-1 City.
Man Utd Women
16Naalsund10I want it
23da Silva Ferreira
- 4The Tissier
- 16NaalsundReplaced byWilliamsat 77′protocol
- 10I want it
- 9MalardBooked for 68 minutesReplaced byGarciaat 68′protocol
- 7volumeReplaced byMiyazawaat 77′protocol
- 22ParrisReplaced byRiviereat 45′protocol
- 23da Silva Ferreira
- 39Middleton Patel
- 91Tullis Joyce
Man City Women
- 4AlexandriaBooked for 72 minutes
- 5GreenwoodBooked at 21 minutes
- 25HasegawaReplaced byHoughtonat 83′protocol
- 9KellyReplaced byCoombsat 83′protocol
- 11hempReplaced byFowlerat 89′protocol
- 21ShawReplaced byCasparijat 75′protocol
Referee: Cheryl Foster
Number of visitors: 43,615
The match ends: Manchester United Women 1, Manchester City Women 3.
Second half ends, Manchester United Women 1, Manchester City Women 3.
Leah Galton (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mary Fowler (Manchester City Women).
Foul by Rachel Williams (Manchester United Women).
Filippa Angeldahl (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Manchester United Women. Lucía García tries a through ball, but Leah Galton is offside.
Attempt saved. Jayde Riviere (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved by the goalkeeper in the center of the goal.
Corner, Manchester United Women. Goal conceded by Alex Greenwood.
Attempt saved. Katie Zelem (Manchester United Women) tries with her right foot from the left side of the box, but the shot is saved in the bottom right corner. Supported by Maya Le Tissier.
Attempt blocked. Geyse Ferreira (Manchester United Women)’s right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked.
Corner, Manchester United Women. Indebted to Kerstin Casparij.
Attempt saved. Jayde Riviere (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the right side of the penalty area is saved in the bottom right corner. Prepared by Maya Le Tissier with a through ball.
Attempt blocked. Lucía García (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Supported by Rachel Williams.
Attempt failed. Rachel Williams (Manchester United Women)’s header from the center of the penalty area goes past the right. Assisted by Leah Galton with a cross.
Alanna Kennedy (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Geyse Ferreira (Manchester United Women).
Substitution, Manchester City Women. Mary Fowler replaces Lauren Hemp.
Jill Roord (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rachel Williams (Manchester United Women).