Manchester United Women 1, Chelsea Women 1
Manchester United held WSL Champions Chelsea Women to a 1-1 draw after Leah Galton’s late equaliser cancelled out Sam Kerr’s opener.Embed from Getty Images
The Reds were unfazed by Chelsea’s challenge and relied on saves by Mary Earps to keep them in the game after pushing up closer to the visitors in a riskier second half to get the result they deserved.
Galton had already hit the crossbar with a first half header before Chelsea, who brought on world record transfer Pernille Harder, wasted a some good chances and were punished by United’s deserved equaliser.
United manager Casey Stoney was proud of her team’s efforts, despite an injury list that restricted the size of the bench available to her.
She said: “We haven’t played for six months. It took a big effort today.
“Chelsea have world class players but I thought Mary Earps was outstanding with the saves she made.”
Despite the lack of depth on the bench – Lucy Staniforth was just one of the unavailable players – Stoney was happy with the outcome today.
She said: “We were a bit light on the bench today. We’ll prepare for the Birmingham game and then have a break, hopefully get some players back.”
On the possibility of transfers she remained coy, saying: “The window is open till the 10th, wait and see.”
Guro Reiten drew the first save of the game from Earps after 20 minutes after both sides probed for openings with Sam Kerr unable to get a shot on target in the early stages.
Kerr finally opened her account for the season in the 25th minute by getting in front of Kirsty Smith and scoringwith a simple finish from three yards after Fran Kerr timed a run to perfection down the right flank and swept a cross in.
Kerr was offside after finishing from 12 yards just three minutes later after getting on the end of a left wing cross by Reiten.
And she caused even more problems by easing Katie Zelem off the ball before screwing her own chance just wide.
Earps saved from Kerr’s vicious shot from 12 yards out after Ji So-yun found her with a raking pass.
United’s only attacking threat, Jane Ross, was isolated as the Reds struggled to get quality ball to her.
Leah Galton hits the crossbar before scoring the equaliser
But they ended the half with a chance by Leah Galton whose looping header hit the bar after she gon on the end of a cross by Kirsty Hanson.
Kerr lashed over after the break as Chelsea continued where they left off in the first half following a ring wing cross by Maren Mjelde.
Hanson was replaced by Jackie Groenen and Carly Telford tipped over a rising strike by Ella Toone as United pressed Chelsea higher.
Chelsea freshened up their line-up – taking off Kerr and Ji and bringing Erin Cuthbert and Bethany England on – and Cuthbert twice forced saves from Earps as the Blues tried to put the game beyond United.
But it was United who struck next and Galton levelled the scores 11 minutes from time driving into the back post to tap in Groenen’s right wing cross from 4 yards out.
Pernille Harder was brought on for her debut for Chelsea – but the world record signing could not make the difference as Chelsea failed to break down the solid but tired United defence.
GOALS – Manchester United Women 1, Chelsea 1
Man Utd 0, Chelsea 1: 25. Sam Kerr had a simple finish from 3 yards out to convert a splendid low cross from the right by Fran Kirby.
Man Utd 1, Chelsea 1: 79. Leah Galton’s tap in equaliser levelled the scores after a great run and right wing cross by Jackie Groenen.
MATCH STATS – Manchester United Women 1, Chelsea 1
Man Utd Women: Earps, Smith, McManus, Turner, Batlle (Okvist 74), Ladd, Zelem, Hanson (Groenen 53), Toone, Galton, Ross (James 60)
Man Utd Women Subs not used: Ramsey, Turner
Booked: Okvist, Zelem (obstructing Carly Telford)
Goal: Galton 79
Chelsea: Telford, Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson (Carter 80), Leupolz, Ingle, Ji (Cuthbert 58), Kirby, Kerr (England 66), Reiten (Harder 80)
Chelsea Women Subs not used: Blundell, Fleming, Charles, Spence, Orman
Goal: Kerr 25
Referee: Rebecca Welch