United Women 4 Reading 0
Manchester United Women are off to a flying start in the 2022/23 Women's Super League after a dominant display over Reading at Leigh Sports Village, in front of 7,000 supporters.
Maya Le Tissier celebrated her debut with two goals, both from corners, and also helped the backline keep a valuable clean sheet.
Skipper Katie Zelem marked her 100th United appearance with a goal from the spot and registered two assists from set-pieces, while Alessia Russo applied the finishing touches to a perfect first half with a thunderous header beyond Grace Moloney between the sticks.
A FRUITFUL FIRST HALF
It was goals galore in the opening 45 for United.
The Reds started the match with high intensity, and were rewarded for the early pressure when Le Tissier - making her debut for United - looped the ball over the top of Moloney following a Zelem corner.
Just ten minutes later, United were awarded a penalty when Moloney brought down Alessia Russo in the area, leaving Zelem to step up to the spot. Our captain made no mistake to mark her milestone century of appearances for the Reds with a goal.
Just before the half-hour mark, Le Tissier grabbed her second - and United's third - of the game, powering a header back across goal and into the far corner from another Zelem corner.
As the half-time break approached, Russo rounded off a perfect half for Skinner's side, applying the finishing touch to a delightful cross after our Spaniards, Ona Batlle and Lucia Garcia, linked up well down the right-hand side.
Garcia also had a chance to make it five moments before the half-time whistle, but Moloney saved well to deny her a debut goal.
SOLID SECOND HALF
The Reds started The second 45 just as they finished the first: dominant.
Not only did we see plenty of the ball, but we made more goal-scoring opportunities. Russo had the chance to head into an empty net shortly after the restart, but with defenders surrounding her, she saw her effort bounce just wide.
The second-half introductions of Martha Thomas and Adriana Leon - also making her debut for the Reds - added further impetus to the United attack, but Reading held firm to keep the deficit to four.
Despite not being able to extend our lead, Skinner's side managed possession well and did not allow the visitors any opportunities to get back into the game.
The 7,000 fans who were in attendance at Leigh Sports Village for this afternoon's encounter set a record number of spectators for our women's team at our home stadium.
The buzz surrounding the women's game which was generated through the Lionesses' success in EURO 2022 was felt, and the supporters inside LSV were full of energy and voice throughout.
In the first game of the 2022/23 season, Skinner's side certainly gave them something to shout about going into our next fixture.
Next up for the Reds is an away trip to West Ham on Sunday 25 September for a 15:00 BST kick-off.
United XI: Earps; Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Zelem, Ladd (Moore 71); Garcia (Leon 64), Toone (Boe Risa 71), Galton (Parris 77); Russo (Thomas 71).
Subs not used: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Tounkara, Staniforth.
Goals: Le Tissier 5, 25; Zelem 14; Russo 35.
Reading XI: Moloney; Cooper, Mukandi, Evans; Eikeland, Troelsgaard (Primmer 59), Rowe, Woodham; Wade (Perry 90), Wellings; Rose (Dowie 25).
Subs not used: Burns, Poulter, Caldwell, Meadows Tuson, Perry.
Bookings: Woodham 65.