United Women 2 Brighton Women 1
Manchester United Women progressed to the semi-final stage of the Continental League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion Women on Wednesday night.
United started the game well under the lights at Leigh Sports Village and fashioned the first chance after just four minutes when Jess Sigsworth headed into Cecile Fiskerstrand’s arms from Katie Zelem’s cross, before the no.9 curled another effort just wide.
Highlights: United Women 2 Brighton Women 1
The Reds progressed to the semi-finals of the Continental League Cup after dispatching Hope Powell's Seagulls...
Stoney's side continued to boss proceedings, with Sigsworth and Kirsty Hanson looking dangerous on the flanks and the wingers drove several ominous crosses into the Brighton box, to no avail.
The visitors then came close to equalising via a Kate Nilden whipped cross intended for the head of Amanda Nilden, but Mary Earps rose highest to punch clear.
Yet, United were still in the ascendancy and hit the crossbar around the half-hour mark. Zelem floated in the corner and Sigsworth was unfortunate to see her powerful header crash off the woodwork
While United were on top for the majority of the half, the Seagulls still provided a real threat at the other end, and perhaps should have headed in at the break on level terms.
Matilde Lundorf fashioned the opportunity after a barnstorming run through the Reds' defence which presented her with a one-on-one shot against Earps. However, the Dane fired high and wide when composure was needed, and ensured United went in ahead at the break.
The visitors picked up where they left off after half-time and were awarded a penalty within five minutes after a clumsy Amy Turner challenge.
Ini-Abasi Umotong stepped up and her powerful strike rattled off the crossbar, to the relief of most inside Leigh Sports Village.
Lauren James and Lizzie Arnot were introduced on 62 minutes and the former soon slipped Ross through near the edge of the box. The experienced Scot cut inside on her left foot and fired her shot at Fiskerstrand.
Soon after, James combined well with Sigsworth, but the youngster’s strike was also saved by the Brighton stopper.
The Reds were again on top and added that vital second goal with 15 minutes remaining. Zelem - who ran proceedings for most of the evening - provided the inch-perfect ball into Sigsworth’s path, and the attacker centred it to the on-waiting Ross, who casually knocked it into the back of the net.
Stoney would have hoped for a comfortable end to the match, but the Seagulls ensured it was nervy finish by netting a late penalty.
Ladd again was culpable for conceding the spot-kick after she took Umotong down in the area, and substitute Green dispatched confidently from 12 yards.
The referee added on six minutes of injury time, in which the visitors pumped plenty of long balls in the box. Despite that, Brighton’s best chance in that period came from a tame Danielle Boman free-kick, which was well held by Earps.
The full-time whistle was greeted by a jubilant cheer from the home crowd as United progressed to the last four of the competition for the second campaign in a row.
United: Earps; Harris, McManus, A.Turner (James 62), Smith; Ladd, Zelem (C) Toone; Sigsworth (Okvist 83) , Ross, Hanson (Arnot 62).
Substitutes not used: Ramsey, Galton, Groenen.
Booked: Ladd, James.
Scorers: McManus (14), Ross (75).
Brighton: Fiskerstrand; Lundorf, Williams, Kerkdijk (Bowman 89), Gibbons; Simpkins (Green), Connolly, Natkiel; Whelan, Nilden (Roe 80), Umotong.
Substitutes not used: Harris, Barton, Le Tissier, Le Garrec.
Scorers: Green (83).
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