Manchester United Women 4 Everton 2
Manchester United Women beat Everton 4-2 at Leigh Sports Village this evening (Wednesday), in what will be the team's penultimate game in the Continental Cup this season due to results elsewhere.
Aston Villa's 2-1 win away to Sheffield United means they will go through as Group A winners, even if the Reds also beat the Blades in the stage's final fixture on 18 December.
As for tonight's game against Everton, it began in dream fashion for United as Vilde Boe Risa opened the scoring inside the first minute, heading home from Ona Batlle's lofted ball into the box.
Ten minutes later, Rachel Williams was on target to poke home Lucia Garcia's pass, before Boe Risa added a third inside 20 minutes.
Everton pulled one back through Jess Park in the 25th minute, but Jade Moore swiftly restored our three-goal lead, bundling the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble.
Karen Holmgaard halved the deficit deep into second-half stoppage time, but the Reds came out with the win despite late pressure from the Toffees.
Needing three points to have any hope of progression in the Conti Cup, the Reds made a flying start and took the lead inside the first minute.
Attacking from the get go, we emerged forward with the ball before Batlle - who wore the armband for the first 45 - lifted a lovely ball into the box where Boe Risa headed home.
Skinner's side soon doubled the lead 10 minutes later, this time courtesy of Williams, fresh off the back of scoring her first goal for us at Old Trafford last Saturday. Martha Thomas played a dangerous ball into the Toffees' 18-year box, but it was intercepted before falling to Garcia. The Spaniard passed it into Williams' feet, whose instinctive finish flew past Courtney Brosnan in goal.
In a half full of action, the visitors got on the scoresheet in the 25th minute. A ball over the top found Park and caused a bit of confusion for the United backline who thought it may have been offside. But with no flag raised, the Manchester City loanee was free to go one-on-one against Sophie Baggaley and slot home.
If that goal sparked hope for Everton, it was short lived. Just two minutes later, Moore put us 3-1 up after a scramble in the box saw her bundle the ball over the line, despite the best efforts of our opponents to clear it.
The second 45 was relatively quiet by the first-half standards. A flurry of changes at the break made for a far more evenly contested game of football, with both sides enjoying spells of possession.
Park came close to adding another one to her tally, but her effort smashed against the United crossbar and bounced out. Nicoline Sorensen, a second-half substutute for Everton, had her long-range strike saved well by Baggaley, who got down quickly to push it behind for a corner. The resulting set piece came to nothing.
The visitors did eventually convert one of their chances, with Holmgaard scoring in injury time, but it was just too late for them to get anything from the game.
United: Baggaley; Batlle (Blundell 45), Tounkara, Turner (Le Tissier 45), Thorisdottir; Moore (Zelem 45), Staniforth, Boe Risa; Garcia, Williams (Galton 84), Thomas (Toone 78).
Unused subs: Earps, Ladd, Russo.
Goals: Boe Risa 1, 20; Williams 12; Moore 27.
Everton: Brosnan; George; Galli, Sevecke, Maier (Graham 45); Bjorn, Bennison (Christiansen 63), Holmgaard; Beever-Jones (Sorensen 45), Giovana (Snoeijs 29), Park.
Unused subs: Henderson, Weir, Clarke, Wilding.
Goals: Park 25; Holmgaard 90.
Booked: Bennison 58.