United Women 2 City Women 3
Manchester United were eliminated from the Women’s FA Cup after a 3-2 home defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.
United did stage a late comeback with Lauren James scoring and Lauren Hemp inadvertently turned into her own net, but Jill Scott’s strike between the Reds’ goals ensured it was City who just edged this Manchester derby.
It could, however, have been very different had the Reds been awarded a goal around the 70-minute mark, but the officials controversially decided the ball had not crossed the line.
The only real chance of note in the first 20 minutes came via White, who fastened on to a pass from Tessa Wullaert and forced a smart save from Mary Earps.
The Reds’ first meaningful chance came soon after. Jess Sigsworth reacted quickest to a sloppy pass out from Ellie Roebuck and as the goalkeeper scrabbled back to her goal, the United no.9 fired on target, only for Gemma Bonner to head it wide. The resulting clearance then fell to Jane Ross, and the striker’s effort floated inches over the visitors’ crossbar.
Soon after, England captain Steph Houghton connected with a corner, but the effort failed to seriously test Earps and the goalkeeper comfortably held onto the ball.
City were beginning to gain more of a foothold in the game and made it count in the 29th minute, with the prolific White opening the scoring.
Georgia Stanway then forced Earps into a save minutes later, as our stopper pushed her shot around the post for a corner kick.
However, the Reds still looked a threat at the other end and should have gone in at the break on level terms.
Ross’s tireless work rate forced a mistake from Houghton and Kirsty Hanson subsequently latched onto the loose ball, yet her pass across the box was played just behind Sigsworth and City managed to scramble it clear.
City also contributed to the frenetic first 10 minutes of the half, with Wullaert blazing a shot over the crossbar from inside the box.
A goal certainly seemed on the cards and when it came, it was again down to White’s excellent movement. The City no.18 dropped a shoulder and anticipated the cross which was drilled into the box, she then arched her foot and sent the ball looping over Earps and into the back of the net.
Despite the setback of the goal, United responded positively. Firstly, Hanson - who was a constant threat down the left wing - cut inside and fired a shot on goal, which forced Roebuck into a full-length save.
Lauren James was introduced on the hour to inject more attacking impetus and within minutes saw her shot deflected wide for a corner.
The Reds were now dominating proceedings and found the back of the net in the 69th minute. James inevitably provided the moment of magic after she collected the ball from McManus’s excellent pass into the channel. The youngster cut inside onto her left foot and blasted an effort into the bottom right corner to halve United’s arrears.
City simply could not deal with Casey Stoney’s side at this point and soon produced what proved to be the game-defining moment.
Zelem floated in a cross from a free-kick on the right wing and it missed everyone in the box and fell to a clearly surprised McManus at the back post. The former City player didn’t make the cleanest of connections and the ball, it appeared, trickled over the line.
However the lineswoman on the near side didn’t raise her flag to the disbelief of United’s management and players, and denied the Reds what would have been a crucial goal.
United were still licking our wounds from that disappointment when City grabbed their third and final goal of the afternoon.
After some scrappy build-up play from the visitors, the ball rolled out to Scott. The midfielder hit a fierce drive which took a significant deflection to wrong foot Earps, and was a real setback to our hopes of a comeback.
Zelem again provided the superb cross that was met by a combination of Millie Turner and City’s Lauren Hemps, with the latter being credited with the final touch.
The own goal stirred the ever-vocal home support even more, but City held firm and came away with a huge win in just the third-ever women’s Manchester derby.
United: Earps; A.Turner, McManus, M.Turner, Smith; Groenen, Zelem (c), Ladd; Sigsworth (Arnot 69), Ross (James 60), Hanson.
Substitutes not used: Mikalsen, Harris, Okvist, Palmer.
Scorers: James 69, Hemp, o.g. 88.
City: Roebuck; Stanway, Houghton (c), Bonner, Stokes; Walsh, Weir; Scott, Wullaert (Coombs 78), Hemp; White.
Substitutes not used: Benameur, Bremer, Toland, Park, Bissell, Fidalgo.
Scorers: White 29, 56, Scott 76.
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