Manchester City Women 3, Manchester United Women 0
Manchester City won their seventh WSL game in a row – a Manchester derby -to leapfrog rivals Manchester United into second place.Embed from Getty Images
City are now just two points behind league leaders Chelsea, a point ahead of United who have played a game more, with a potential title decider with Chelsea to come in April.
Lucy Bronze sent the hosts on their way with an early set piece goal before United lost Leah Galton to injury at the end of the first half.
The Reds did trouble City with chances by Christen Press but couldn’t breach Ellie Roebuck’s goal.
City made the game safe with second half goals by Lauren Hemp and Caroline Weir – the latter a world class finish – as City punished poor clearances by United.
City were again unchanged with Demi Stokes and Sam Mewis still sidelined through injury.
The Reds were affected heavily by injury but made only one change with Jackie Groenen coming in for Kirsty Hansen after their defeat in the last game at home to Reading.
Honours were even in the first quarter of the game with both sides probing and United keen to try and exploit gaps left by Lucy Bronze in particular.
Leah Galton game up a shooting chance to cross for Christen Press in one early chance which was intercepted by Alex Greenwood.
But City, deadly from set pieces this season, won a corner after 23 minutes and the home side struck.
Kelly’s corner was only half cleared and the England full back thrashed home from 8 yards after Ellen White nodded the looping ball into her path.
It was Bronze’s second WSL goal of the season and her first goal since November and United, who conceded both Reading goals to set pieces last time out, were on the back foot after that with Georgia Stanway curling a shot onto the roof of the United net.
Hayley Ladd went into the book for a foul on Georgia Stanway but Steph Houghton’s free kick was blocked by the United wall as City continued to press the visitors.
Ladd put the loose ball wide after Chloe Kelly failed to make clearance and allowed the Reds to take a shot on goal after 34 minutes.
City were sloppy again, giving away a free kick in midfield which Amy Turner pumped into area but United hadn’t committed enough attackers forward.
Press’ header was deflected into the arms of Ellie Roebuck as the Reds tried to again exploit what few chances came their way.
Mary Earps had to be alert to save low down when White had a great chance to double City’s lead in the 40th minute with an overhead kick after her initial shot had been blocked.
Lauren Hemp also rolled the ball wide after United failed to clear a cross by Kelly.
Leah Galton injury blow for Manchester United as Manchester City exploit poor clearances to win derby
But United were hit with an injury blow just before half time that forced an early change with Galton sustaining an ankle injury and going off to be replaced by Kirsty Hanson.
And Hanson almost caused a stir for the home side when she raced clear down the United left flank and crossed but the ball was cleared before it could reach Groenen.
White saw her shot saved by Earps in the second half following a left wing square pass by Hemp while Press saw a straight drive saved by Roebuck after sidestepping Steph Houghton as both sides went on the offensive.
Press also tried to chip Roebuck who had come out of her box to force her into an early shot and the American sent her rushed effort high and wide.
City’s work rate dropped in the second half as they switched to a riskier containment strategy.
United made their second change for the last 20 minutes, with Jess Sigsworth replacing Ladd meaning the Reds were going for the equaliser.
But Hemp doubled their lead second later after lifting the ball past a defender on the line from eight yards out after Kelly’s shot was palmed out to her by Earps.
Bronze was quick to react when Press looked to have beaten the City offside trap.
Kelly hit the side netting while Caroline Weir’s low drive was well saved by Earps from a City corner routine by Kelly after Amy Turner had blocked Stanway’s drive with her face.
Roebuck bravely saved from Press as she looked to shoot on goal and went down needing treatment late on.
But the game was over after 84 minutes when United again failed to clear from relentless City pressure and Weir delicately chipped Earps from the edge of the area after calmly sidestepping Groenen – a Cantona-esque finish to grace any derby.
Rose Lavelle and Laura Coombs replaced White and Weir while Ivana Fuso replaced Toone in the latter stages as City saw out the win without drama.
GOALS – Manchester City Women 3, Manchester United Women 0
Man City Women 1, Man Utd Women 0: 23. Ellen White nodded the loose ball into the path of Lucy Bronze who thrashed it home from 8 yards out after United failed to clear Chloe Kelly’s corner.
Man City Women 2, Man Utd Women 0: 71. Lauren Hemp drilled home on the half volley after Chloe Kelly’s strike was parried to her by Mary Earps – a defender on the line couldn’t head it clear.
Man City Women 3, Man Utd Women 0: 84. Caroline Weir punished United again for failure to properly clear their lines after hey buckled under relentless pressure – Weir sidestepped Jackie Groenen and calmly chipped Mary Earps from the edge of the box.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City Women 3, Manchester United Women 0
Man City Women: Roebuck, Bronze, Houghton (C), Dahlkemper, Greenwood, Stanway, Walsh, Weir (Coombs 90), Kelly, Hemp, White (Lavelle 85)
Man City Women subs not used: Bardsley, Benameur, Mannion, Beckie, Morgan, Park, Davies
Booking: Greenwood 59 (foul on Ella Toone)
Goals: Bronze 23; Hemp 71; Weir 84
Man Utd Women: Earps, Thorisdottir, Amy Turner, Millie Turner, Batlle, Zelem (C), Ladd (Sigsworth 70), Toone (Fuso 88), Groenen, Galton (Hanson 45), Press
Man Utd Women subs not used: Bentley, Harris, Ross, Jones, Bourne
Bookings: Ladd 28 (foul on Georgia Stanway); Sigsworth
Referee: Abigail Byrne