Manchester United Women celebrate scoring against Manchester City Women.

United Women 2 Manchester City Women 0

Manchester United Women earned a first-ever victory over Manchester City Women on Sunday, when the Reds won 2-0 at home in the Continental Tyres League Cup.

Katie Zelem and Jess Sigsworth scored the vital goals for the Reds, in what was our maiden home clash against the local rivals.

In an electric atmosphere at Leigh Sports Village, it didn’t take long for Casey Stoney's side to go ahead. After Leah Galton’s mazy dribble and shot in the sixth minute, the ball fell to Hayley Ladd, who was fouled on the edge of the box.

From the subsequent free-kick, Zelem stepped up and - under the watchful eye of the England Women’s manager Phil Neville - curled a superb effort past the City goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.

The 20-year-old was at full stretch but still couldn’t get anywhere near the inch-perfect shot, which was greeted by a jubilant cheer from our excellent home support.
Katie Zelem celebrates scoring a free-kick for Manchester United Women against Manchester City.
Pick that one out! Our captain Zelem, a lifelong United fan, celebrates her screamer against City.
It proved to be one of the few real chances in the first half-an-hour of what was a relatively scrappy affair. Despite that, our midfield three of Ladd, Zelem and Jackie Groenen were pulling the strings from the centre of the park and ensuring the majority of the play was in the opposition’s half.

However, the current League Cup holders did grow in stature near the end of the first period with Caroline Weir and Lauren Hemp looking the biggest threats.

When the next chance did come it was courtesy of a United player. Kirsty Hanson picked the ball up on the right flank and, after cutting inside on her left foot, she unleashed a great curling effort which was palmed over by Roebuck.

It took until injury time in the first half for City to create their first significant chance of the game, but Megan Campbell’s stooping header, from a corner, flew high over the United crossbar.
At the start of the second period, City again had long spells of possession without mustering much in the way of scoring opportunities.

United looked more potent in front of goal and after 55 minutes, the lead was doubled.

Hanson flew down the right wing and delivered a well-timed cross into Sigsworth. The Reds' no.9 reacted like the typical goalscorer she is and from just a few yards out, poked the ball into the back of the City net.

The visitors' day went from bad to worse when Keira Walsh was dismissed after 65 minutes, for a poor tackle on Hanson. The England international lunged in at the United winger and received a straight red card from the referee.
Jackie Groenen and Keira Walsh battle for the ball during the Manchester derby.
Groenen v Walsh was an interesting battle in midfield.
With the extra player, United enjoyed the majority of the ball in the latter stages of the game and further reduced City’s capacity to create chances.

Jill Scott could have expected to do better with a header 10 minutes from time, but she failed to get a clean connection on the ball just a few yards from goal.

Leah Galton tested Roebuck almost immediately after and then Amy Turner headed over from the subsequent corner.

Gemma Bonner offered a late threat on the Reds' goal, but her header looped wide of Mary Earps' far post.

In the final moments, Stoney's players used all their professionalism to see out the game and earn a famous victory against a City side who lost just one domestic game in the entirety of last season. The victory was also the perfect start for United in the five-team League Cup group.

MATCH DETAILS
 
United: Earps; A.Turner, McManus, M.Turner, Harris; Ladd, Zelem (C), Groenen (Toone 78); Hanson (Arnot 71), Sigsworth (Ross 62), Galton.

Subs not used: Mikalsen, Okvist, Green, Williams.

Scorers: Zelem (7), Sigsworth (55).

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