MAN UTD WOMEN 1, MAN CITY WOMEN 3
Manchester City Women put their faltering WSL campaign back on track with an emphatic derby win at Old Trafford.
City, who had lost their last two WSL games, climbed from sixth to third and overhauled the Reds after inflicting their first WSL loss of the campaign as they slipped to fourth.
Manager Gareth Taylor’s side fell behind to a Katie Zelem penalty but hit back into the opening half with two goals in 80 seconds from Jill Roord and Lauren Hemp to take control.
Bunny Shaw added a third goal for City early in the second half and not even Laia Aleixandri’s sending off could derail them in the latter stages.
The only cheer for United, who had an off-day and were decidedly second best, was a women’s record crowd of 43,615 in the first derby to be staged at Old Trafford.
It was a day for remember for City and Taylor said: “There’s a huge feeling of pride playing like we did in such a big spectacle.
“When you turn up at Old Trafford and there is a huge crowd there, it is a completely different game to any normal WSL game.
“I have to give huge credit to the players and staff. It has been difficult, but they have put in so much work this week.Embed from Getty Images
“We knew we weren’t a million miles off. There were games earlier in he season when we could have scored more goals against Leicester and West Ham, for example.
“So we will always create. I thought the two goals we scored in the first half were actually the hardest chances.”
Taylor added it was a case of keeping the faith.
“We are resilient and stick to what we believe in doing,” he said.
Taylor had no complaints about the sending off and was delighted with the way they managed the game with 10 players.
There was just one change to the United side which beat West Ham in their last game as Lisa Naalsund came in for Hinata Miyazawa in midfield.
Taylor made three alterations to the side which lost to Brighton in their last match.
The big news was that England centre-back Alex Greenwood started after recovering from concussion.
England winger Lauren Hemp also returned up front and Leila Ouahabi started at left-back. Esme Morgan, Julie Blakstad and Mary Fowler all dropped out.
City carved out the clearer of the early chances.
Two fell to striker Bunny Shaw who each time forced saves from Mary Earps while Greenwood’s header looped narrowly over.
But it was United who made the breakthrough after 20 minutes winning a penalty when Melvine Malard’s shot was handled by Greenwood who was booked.
Zelem stepped up to score from the spot, her kick just eluding keeper Khiara Keating who almost got to the ball.
United scored for a second time but the goal from Brazilian international Geyse was ruled out as the ball had run out at the by-line.
What might have been 2-0 suddenly became 1-1 as City equalised in the 34th minute when Chloe Kelly cut the ball back to Roord and the Dutch international found the bottom corner with a drive from 16 yards.
And 80 seconds later, City were ahead when Shaw seized on a defensive lapse to set up Hemp who found the net in off the crossbar with a shot from 12 yards.
It might have got worse when Kelly was put clean through on goal, but Earps made a brilliant stop to turn away her goalbound shot for a corner.
United’s task became even more mountainous when City went 3-1 ahead in the 55th minute.
A weak back pass from Maya Le Tissier saw Earps’ clearance charged down by Shaw with the ball rebounding into an empty net.
United were given a chink of hope when City were reduced to 10 players with 18 minutes left when Aleixandri was sent off for collecting a second caution.
Reds’ substitute Lucia Garcia forced a fine save from Khiara Keating who turned her 35-yard drive behind for a corner.
United failed to make their extra player count as they huffed and puffed and not even 11 minutes of stoppage time enabled them to gain them a foothold back in the game.
United manager Marc Skinner, whose side suffered a first home WSL defeat in one year, said: “We got what we deserved. I don’t think we were good enough as a collective, all of us weren’t good enough. We win together, we lose together.
“There were times when we allowed the occasion to get us a little bit, didn’t control the moments, allowed them to put us under pressure which then forced us to make mistakes. Credit to City, the goals we conceded are not good enough for our standard.”
Of the occasion, Skinner added: “There were an unbelievable number of fans and shows the interest in Manchester United and I am sorry we have not given them a result.
“It was wonderful to play here and shows the interest from the fan base.”