Manchester United Women 2 Liverpool 0
Manchester United Women are celebrating a first-ever win in the Women’s Super League, 2-0 over Liverpool at Leigh Sports Village, thanks to Lauren James’s clinical finish on the eve of her 18th birthday and an injury-time penalty by captain Katie Zelem.
Galton’s direct running down the left flank caused problems for Fahey and her fellow Liverpool defenders throughout the game. Our no.11 forced Preuss to make her first notable save after a tight first half-hour, stinging her palms with a powerful left-footed shot after being played in by Millie Turner’s measured through-ball.
After weathering that particular storm, Liverpool tried to snatch an opener themselves on the brink of half-time when Rinsola Babajide had a rare moment of joy in her battle with United right-back Kirsty Smith and found Niamh Charles in the box. However, the visitors’ no.17 had her back to goal and could only hook the ball wide of Mary Earps’ left-hand post.
Ever determined to break their duck, Casey Stoney’s side - who were without summer signings Jackie Groenen and Jane Ross, due to injury and illness - stepped up another gear around the hour mark to put the visitors’ goal under intense pressure.
Preuss had to dive to her left to push Zelem’s curling free-kick wide and then, when an opportunity opened up from the resulting corner, the Liverpool goalkeeper blocked a fierce low strike by Ella Toone at the same near post. Moments earlier, she had made a similar save at the other side of her goal to again thwart Galton.
The vocal home fans could sense the goal was coming and it duly arrived in the 71st minute when last season’s top scorer Sigsworth showed her awareness inside the box to feed James, and the teenager calmly evaded a sliding tackle as she cut inside on to her left foot and fired past Preuss.
It was no more than United deserved and Liverpool had little to offer in the way of a response as they stared a fourth straight defeat in the face. Instead, it was the hosts who nearly went further in front when hitting the bar twice in a matter of seconds - firstly with Galton's far-post header, from Hayley Ladd's right-wing cross, and then with Toone's volley on the rebound.
United Women: Earps, Smith, McManus, M.Turner, Okvist (A.Turner 46); Ladd, Zelem, Toone; James, Sigsworth (Hanson 76), Galton.
Substitutes not used: Mikalsen, Edwards, Harris, Green, Arnot.
Scorers: James 71, Zelem pen. 90+4.