United Women are heading to Wembley!

Saturday 15 April 2023 19:18

Manchester United Women are through to the Vitality Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley after beating Brighton & Hove Albion Women 3-2 at Leigh Sports Village.

It was Brighton who took the lead in the first half after a shot from Veatriki Sarri led to an uncharacteristic error and own goal from England goalkeeper Mary Earps.

Straight after half-time, United came out fighting with Leah Galton finding the back of the net just minutes later.

The Reds went ahead through Alessia Russo with 20 minutes left but Brighton levelled things up once again when Danielle Carter capitalised on a Millie Turner error.

It took Marc Skinner’s side until 89 minutes to score the desicive goal with substitute Rachel Williams being the one to book the team a deserved place at Wembley.

Fans show their support for their favourite United - and England - players.


Marc Skinner made one change to his starting XI, bringing in Lucia Garcia after the Spaniard scored in our 4-0 win over the Seagulls in the Women’s Super League two weeks ago. Vilde Boe Risa dropped to the bench.

United dominated possession in the first half but Brighton’s defence stood strong with Emma Kullberg putting in some key tackles to keep United out.

Despite keeping possession, the hosts struggled to link up with the forwards. Garcia had United’s first chance of the game but miscommunication between her and Alessia Russo led to an easy pick-up for Brighton goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

Garcia was the brightest player on the pitch for a lot of the first half. A one-two with Hayley Ladd was blocked before Garcia went through a number of Brighton players to once again test Williams.

The Brighton shot stopper pulled off an impressive save just before the half-hour mark. Russo spun in the middle of the area after the ball was chested down by Garcia. Quick reactions from Williams enabled her to tip Russo’s shot over the crossbar.

Hayley Ladd had a header saved by the Brighton goalkeeper before Ona Battle’s long-range attempt went wide.

Despite the chances for United, it was the Seagulls who went 1-0 up on 36 minutes.

Veatriki Sarri raced down the right, sending a shot towards Earps with the ball going in after a deflection off the keeper’s hands.

Just minutes later, Russo came close to levelling the scores. The forward spun round to produce a low shot but it went just wide of the post.

Earps was unfortunate to concede the opener.


United came out after half-time with something to prove. Two minutes after the restart, Leah Galton found the back of the net from the middle of the box.

Battle’s impressive run down the wing was followed by a perfect ball which left Galton with an easy strike to equalise.

The Reds came close to getting a second goal just minutes later with Galton once again involved.

This time the midfielder ran down the left and crossed to Ella Toone on the edge of the box. Toone’s stunning strike dipped just over the crossbar.

Earps once again proved why she is England’s number one goalkeeper with a powerful save to deny a long-range effort from Julia Zigiotti which looked like it was going into the top corner before she got her fingers to it.

Leah Galton is gleeful after levelling the score at 1-1.

A triple substitution from Brighton saw Elizabeth Terland, Libby Bance and Sarri replaced by Danielle Carter, Megan Connolly and Kayleigh Green before United made a change. Garcia, who had created a number of chances in the first half, was taken off by Skinner for Martha Thomas.

United continued to push forward and substitute Thomas got on the end of a cross into the box but she couldn’t get any power behind the shot and it was cleared by the Brighton defence.

On 71 minutes, Katie Zelem slipped the ball to Russo who took her time on the edge of the area before striking a powerful shot into the top corner to give the Reds the lead for the first time in the game.

Whilst United fans had started to sing about Wembley, Brighton had other ideas. Just four minutes later, Carter wrestled Millie Turner off the ball to find the back of the net and level the scores once again.

With just minutes left on the clock, Zelem won the ball back in midfield and, after running the length of the pitch, found substitute Rachel Williams. The experienced forward, who had come on for Russo shortly after her goal, remained calm to slot the ball past the Brighton goalkeeper and send Leigh Sports Village into an explosion of noise.

United Women will therefore head to Wembley for the FA Cup final on 14 May and will face either Aston Villa or Chelsea who play in the second semi-final on Sunday.

The Reds celebrate Russo's goal to make it 2-1, in the early evening sunshine at Leigh.


United XI: Earps; Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Ladd, Zelem, Toone; Garcia (Thomas 61), Russo (Williams 78), Galton (Mannion 90). 

Unused substitutes: Baggaley, Tounkara, Riviere, Cascarino, Boe Risa, Parris. 

Goals: Galton 46, Russo 71, Williams 89. 

Bookings: Ladd 56, Le Tissier 65.

Brighton XI: Williams; Fox, Morse, Kullberg, Pattinson; Sarri (Green 59), Bance (Carter 59); Terland (Connolly 58), Zigiotti, Robinson (Visalia 90), Lee. 

Unused substitutes: Walsh, Stefanovic, Park, Williams.

Goals: Earps own goal 36, Carter 75.

Bookings: Robinson 45, Sarri 48, Zigiotti 88.


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