Manchester United Women 0, Manchester City Women 0 (Continental Cup)
Manchester City Women qualified for the knockout stages of the Continental Cup with a scoreless draw at Manchester United.Embed from Getty Images
City hit the woodwork twice while both keepers made two errors apiece in a contest that was once again shaded by the Blues who could call on several England internationals from the bench but could not beat the Reds.
Battling United created clear chances of their own to win it at the end but held on for a draw in normal time.
The draw saw City qualify for the knockout stages of the Continental Cup with 7 points from their 3 games at the expense of the Reds who will take a little consolation from winning the penalty shoot-out at the end to earn a bonus point.
It was the second Manchester derby in a week, the fifth since both teams turned professional, and City were looking to improve after failing to win from a commanding position on Sunday at Leigh Sports Village.
Lauren James and Lucy Staniforth were handed starts by Casey Stoney as United made five changes in all with Katie Zelem, Kirsty Hanson, and Emily Ramsey came into the side that drew with City in the WSL.
Mary Earps, Hayley Ladd, Jess Sigsworth, Ella Toone, and Christen Press stood down.
City boss Gareth Taylor made seven changes, with Karen Bardsley, Gemma Bonner, Esme Morgan, Jill Scott, Caroline Weir, Jess Park, and Janine Beckie starting.
Ellie Roebuck, Steph Houghton, Laura Coombs, Chloe Kelly, Ellen White, Sam Mewis, and Demi Stokes stood down while Rose Lavelle was not included in the squad as a precaution after picking up a knock in training.
It was a much more even start for both sides in the rematch although chances were at a premium.
Bardsley made a fine dive to parry James’s strike after Tobin Heath had cut the ball back from the right after 15 minutes of a close contest.
Georgia Stanway had already been wayward earlier in the game and fired wide after Ramsey mislaid a pass out from her area which fell to her.
Beckie’s long range shot was saved by Ramsey after Walsh laid the ball on for her.
City tried to catch out the Reds with a novel corner routine which didn’t come off as they shaded the first half again with guile.
Ultimately, for all the first half probing, two of the biggest chances of the half came from mistakes by the goalkeepers.
Goalkeeper errors in Manchester Derby
The game was slower than Sunday’s but Ramsey was almost caught out dawdling on the ball by an onrushing Beckie whose deflection of the loose ball could have gone anywhere.
United almost forced their own error out of Bardsley soon after when Zelem chased her down, forcing her to clear the ball only as far as Hanson who couldn’t repeat her goalscoring exploits – her shot was off target.
City thought they had opened the scoring just before half time after Stanway volleyed home Scott’s flick on but she was quickly adjudged to be offside.
Heath could only shoot into the side netting shortly after the restart after a miskicked clearance by Bardsley fell to the American with the City keeper out of her area.
Bardsley’s blushes were saved by some stand-out defending as Bonner got back to block out Heath and prevent her getting a clear shot on goal despite her attempts to twist and turn to create some space.
United made a change on the hour mark, with Christen Press replacing her American team mate Heath.
And Press almost got on the end of a long ball from deep in the United half, which Lucy Bronze cleared while Stanway avoided a booking for a foul on Staniforth.
City reacted to United pressure as they won a series of corners by making a double change, bringing on White and Mewis for Park and Weir while United withdrew Staniforth for Ella Toone.
And Mewis’ cross came off the top of the United crossbar as the Reds started to consider the possibility of not qualifying from Group C without getting something from this game.
United made a double change with Zelem and James replaced by Ladd and Sigsworth with 13 minutes to go.
But City were building up some pressure and Scott headed over from a City corner while Ramsey’s error saw her pass the ball to White close out but the England striker could only head the ball wide with little time to react and Beckie hit the post direct from a corner.
A late City substitution saw Coombs come on for Scott for the last ten minutes as they pushed for a winner.
Millie Turner cleared Mewis’ cross with White charging in to meet it as United were hanging on at the end despite half hearted shouts for a penalty by Toone who had slipped in the City area.
Keira Walsh had a chance to win it specularly in the last minute for City but her chip over Ramsey also sailed over the bar while Mewis shot wide.
United also had their chance to steal a win when Toone intercepted a loose pass and found Sigsworth whose shot was stopped by Bardsley right at the death as she stuck a boot out to stop it.
And the Reds can take some pleasure from winning the penalty shootout 4-3 as they managed to hold their illustrious rivals twice in a week.
PENALTIES – Manchester United Women 0, Manchester City Women 0 (Continental Cup)
Man Utd Women 0, Man City Women 1: Sam Mewis rolls the ball ito the bottom left corner beyond the grasp of Emily Ramsey.
Man Utd Women 1, Man City Women 1: Ella Toone rattled her penalty into the left corner.
Man Utd Women 1, Man City Women 1: Laura Coombs went straight down the middle and her shot was saved by Emily Ramsey
Man Utd Wonen 2, Man City Women 1: Jackie Groenen went to the left and beyond the grasp of Karen Bardsley.
Man Utd Women 2, Man City Women 2: Janine Beckie went to the bottom right corner and scored with Ramsey going the wrong way
Man Utd Women 3, Man City Women 2: Millie Turner stroked her penalty nto the bottom left corner with Karen Bardsley going the wrong way
Man Utd Women 3, Man City Women 3: Georgia Stanway fired her penalty to the right with Emily Ramsey guessing wrong.
Man Utd Women 4, Man City Women 3: Hayley Ladd lifted her penalty high into the left side of the goal, Karen Bardsley got fingers onto it but couldn’t deflect it away
Man Utd Women 4, Man City Women 3: Former Manchester United player Alex Greenwood’s penalty came back off the crossbar
Manchester United won 4-3 on penalties to earn a bonus point.
MATCH STATS – Manchester United Women 0, Manchester City Women 0 (Continental Cup)
Man Utd Women: Ramsey, Batlle, Amy Tuner, Millie Turner, Galton, Zelem (C) (Ladd 76), Groenen, Hanson, Staniforth (Toone 69), Heath (Press 60), James (Sigsworth 77)
Man Utd Women Subs not used: Earps, Okvist, Fuso, Ross
Man City Women: Bardsley Bronze, Bonner, Greenwood, Morgan, Walsh, Scott (C) (Coombs 80), Weir (Mewis 68), Park (White 68), Beckie, Stanway
Man City Women Subs not used: Roebuck, Campbell, Houghton, Kelly
Referee: Helen Conley