Manchester United Women 1 Manchester City 3

Sunday 19 November 2023 18:39

Manchester United Women were been beaten at Old Trafford by Manchester City on Sunday, in front of a crowd of 43,615 - a record home attendance for our women's team.

Reds skipper Katie Zelem opened the scoring in the first half of the Barclays Women's Super League fixture, slotting home a spot-kick after Alex Greenwood was penalised for a handball in the box. A quick one-two from City saw them complete the comeback before the interval, thanks to goals from Jill Roord and Lauren Hemp. 

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw sealed the victory for the visitors in the second half, quickly closing down Mary Earps’s clearance to force the ball into the back of an empty net. 

Despite the disappointing result, which sees us slip to fourth in the league, the Reds once again made pushed the boundaries and made further history in the process.

With both teams emerging into the cauldron that is Old Trafford, Manchester City started the half the strongest of the two sides. 

Gareth Taylor’s side had a flurry of early chances to take the lead, with Earps denying both Shaw and Lauren Hemp early on, the former with a headed effort before the latter fired the ball straight into the gloves of our no.27. 

Skinner’s players eventually grew into the game, with Melvine Malard proving a particular threat down the right side, and it would be the French international who proved the catalyst for our opener. Some lovely skill saw her get an effort away, only for it to strike the arm of Greenwood, leading to a spot kick for the home side.

Zelem emphatically finished from the spot to open the scoring.

We thought we had doubled our lead 10 minutes later, after Geyse bundled the ball into the back of the net following a driving run towards goal, but the goal was ultimately chalked off. With the deficit still at one, City found their route back into the game as Roord fire home the equaliser, leaving Earps rooted to the spot. 

The visiting side wasted no time doubling their lead, immediately surging forward from the restart to pile the pressure on the Reds backline. Zelem initially put in a big block to deny Shaw, but the latter laid it off to team-mate Hemp who cushioned the ball into the top corner beyond Earps. 

United continued to soak up the pressure of City, who aimed to add a third to their tally before half-time. Leila Ouahabi’s pass straight through the middle dissected our defence, right into the path of the on-rushing Kelly, but Earps was again on hand to push her effort round the post.
Geyse had her goal ruled out to prevent us from doubling our advantage, before City made it 1-2 with a quick double.
After a somewhat subdued start to the second 45, Taylor’s side added their third of the game after an error at the back from the Reds. A handful of passes between Maya Le Tissier and Earps would see the final fall short. Earps rushed out to clear it but the ball cannoned back off Shaw and rolled into the back of an empty net.

The next major talking point would come some time later, when Laia Aleixandri was given her marching orders by the referee after receiving her second yellow card of the game. The City defender cynically dragged down Lucia Garcia, resulting in her dismissal. 
Bunny Shaw forced a deflection from this position, to give City their third.
With the numerical advantage, the Reds pushed on in search of a way back into the game, speared on by Garcia, who forced a big save from Khiara Keating. As we entered stoppage-time, Geyse showed a slick piece of skill down the left to evade the defender before rolling it into the box - but no team-mate was there to get on the end of it. 

Skinner’s side continued the push, with Kheating making a handful of saves, including one from an unlikely source in Jayde Riviere. Zelem forced another, looking to plant the ball into the top corner but to no avail. 

It wasn't the result United wanted in front of a new record crowd, but the Reds can take some pride in continuing to blaze the trail for women's football in the region and the country. 
Leah Galton in action for the Reds.

: Earps; Blundell, Le Tissier, Turner, Galton; Naalsund (Williams 77), Toone (Miyazawa 77), Zelem; Malard (Garcia 68), Geyse, Parris (Riviere 45). 

Unused substitutes: Tullis-Joyce, Middleton-Patel, Ladd, Evans. 

Goals: Zelem 21 (p). 

Bookings: Malard 68.

City: Keating; Alexandrei, Kennedy, Greenwood, Leila Ouhabi; Roord, Hasegawa (Houghton 82), Angeldahl; Kelly (Coombs 82), Shaw (Casparij 75), Hemp (Fowler 90). 

Unused substitutes: MacIver, Castellanos, Morgan, Park, Blakstad. 

Goals: Roord 34; Hemp 35; Shaw 55. 

Bookings: Alexandrei 48, 72.

Red card: Alexandrei 72.

Attendance: 43,615.