Alex Greenwood in action against Arsenal Women

Arsenal Women 2 United Women 1

Thursday 07 February 2019 21:48

Manchester United Women were knocked out of the Continental Tyres League Cup by holders Arsenal at Borehamwood, as a double from Vivianne Miedema sealed this semi-final win for the Gunners.

The five-time winners went ahead after 18 minutes, though it was United who dominated the opening exchanges. Jess Sigsworth was a constant menace on the right and worked an opening for herself with a touch around her marker and a driving run into the box but her low, drilled shot went just wide. 
Ella Toone leads an attack against Arsenal.
Arsenal’s first real opportunity resulted in the opening goal. Miedema latched onto an inch-perfect pass to poke past the onrushing Siobhan Chamberlain - a clinical finish by the Women's Super League's top scorer.

The home side dominated possession after breaking the deadlock and could have had a second goal if not for Katie Zelem’s excellent clearance just before half-time. Lucy Quinn had a free header at the back post, but Zelem anticipated the danger well and got across in front of Chamberlain to clear for a corner.
Casey Stoney’s side started the second half well, as Lauren James produced two efforts from long range, with one going just over the bar and the other being saved by Arsenal goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal. 

The hosts scored what turned out to be a decisive second strike, again through Miedema, when the Netherlands international brought the ball down inside the box, shifted it onto her left foot and fired past Chamberlain.
Lauren James tried her luck with two attempts to score early in the second half.
United were limited to half-chances for the majority of the second half, including Kirsty Hanson firing over the bar shortly after coming on as a substitute for James.

In the 83rd minute, Mollie Green curled in a shot from just outside the area to give her team hope of a late comeback, but although the Reds enjoyed plenty of late possession it wasn’t to be.

Though it may not feel like it in the immediate aftermath of a defeat, reaching a cup semi-final and running the holders close, less than a year after forming the team, is a notable achievement for Stoney and her squad.


United Women:
 Chamberlain, Harris (Toone 75), A. Turner, M. Turner, Smith; Greenwood (c), Zelem, Green; James (Hanson 64), Galton (Arnot 80), Sigsworth.

Subs not used: Ramsey, Roberts, Palmer, Devlin.

Scorer: Green 83.
Green's late goal gave United hope in the closing minutes of the game.

"We're disappointed with our first-half display in terms of our shape and our discipline. We corrected that in the second half and the players who came on made a difference and we had a go.

"I don't think we disgraced ourselves. I told my players tonight I'm proud of them. We're seven months into the start of a journey. To come to Arsenal away - and we had a tough game on Sunday, they didn't - and lose 2-1 I don't think is any discredit to them.

"I thought one of our penalty claims definitely was [a penalty] but I'm going to say that, I'm the manager. I would like to have seen a bit more given in our favour but that's the game.
Stoney encourages her team from the technical area.
"Arsenal are a fantastic side, they had a lot of chances tonight, and I wish them all the best for the final. It's going to be a good final between them and Manchester City. We're disappointed not to be there but in the future hopefully we can get there.

"I think the step up is in the intensity and the speed of play, the way Arsenal moved tonight and rotated. We've got a young side and they're still learning. They'll learn a lot from tonight. We'll analyse it and show some things back [on video] that we need to look at. I'm not sure we got our press right in the first half which is something I set up so I'll take responsibility for that. They're a young group but they work so hard and I think you saw that when we got stronger at the end. 

"We are where we are at the moment, in terms of being in the Championship. We want to get promoted, we don't hide away from that. We want to go and compete next season in the WSL [Women's Super League]. What 'compete' looks like, we'll have to wait and see."

Casey Stoney was speaking to BT Sport.