Manchester United Women 2 Liverpool 2
Marc Skinner began his tenure as Manchester United Women's head coach with a friendly 2-2 draw against Liverpool.
The former Birmingham City and Orlando Pride manager joined our club at the end of July and after working with the players for a few days, got a chance to see them in action at our training ground this weekend.
As well as Skinner, there were debuts for new signings Hannah Blundell, Aoife Mannion, Vilde Boe Risa, Sophie Baggaley and Martha Thomas as well as a number of younger players.
United dominated the early proceedings at Carrington, with Boe Risa winning a free-kick after a mere 50 seconds, from which a deep cross flashed past the far post. Both sides played at a good intensity but space was hard to come by initially, chances coming only from loose touches and good pressure rather than intricate passing play.
Gallery: Skinner starts with a draw Gallery
United Women were held by Liverpool in our first pre-season game...
Skinner's side won a number of set pieces and Maria Thorisdottir headed over the crossbar with United's best early chance, after getting above two Liverpool defenders.
Soon after, Liverpool took the lead against the run of play. Ceri Holland won the ball just outside the final third and fed Leanne Kiernan for the visitors' new striker to convert. Recently signed from West Ham, Kiernan set herself with a good first touch and finished underneath Mary Earps, evading the diving challenge of Blundell.
United's response was good, with the team drawing confidence from some positive play prior to conceding the goal. Boe Risa fed Hanson out on the left with a lovely outside-of-the-boot pass but the Scottish international's effort was saved.
Three minutes later and Hanson chose to pass rather than shoot, driving down the left wing, pushing the defender wide and cutting the ball back for the waiting Leah Galton who slotted United's equaliser past Foster with a right-footed poke.
Boe Risa had won the ball back in midfield, played an inch-perfect through ball to Lucy Staniforth who fed it from the right wing into the box where Hanson finished with composure under pressure from Liverpool captain Rhiannon Roberts.
Half-time brought with it the compulsory pre-season flurry of substitutions. Carrie Jones, the 17-year-old, was replaced up front by Martha Thomas, coming on for her first United game. Aoife Mannion also made her bow, replacing another experienced defender signed this summer, Blundell.
The game didn't lose its pace with Liverpool choosing not to make any changes until the hour-mark, at which point United brought on our remaining substitutes, including a number of Under-21 players as Rebecca May, Annie Hutchins and Niamh Murphy joined the 16-year-old Jess Simpson who had come on at the break.
Sophie Baggaley was forced into a decent save with 15 minutes remaining as Liverpool's Yana Daniels tried a first-time shot from the left edge of the area, but in truth the intensity declined as a result of the many changes, the latter stages turning into a fitness test more than anything else.
At least that was the case until Carla Humphrey found an 81st-minute equaliser for the Merseysiders, tapping home from close range after her side seized possession inside United's half.
United: Earps (Baggaley 45); Blundell (Mannion 45), Thorisdottir (Jones 71), Turner (Hutchings 60), Harris (Murphy 60); Zelem (Bourne 60), Boe Risa (May 60); Galton (Simpson 45), Staniforth (Ladd 45), Hanson (Batlle 60); Jones (Thomas 45).
Goals: Galton 25, Hanson 26 | Kiernan 18, Humphrey 81