Charlton Athletic Women 1 United Women 2
Manchester United Women moved to the top of the FA Women's Championship after a closely fought 2-1 victory against Charlton Athletic Women at The Oakwood.
With the Reds and the Addicks sitting second and third in the Championship table going into the game, it had all the makings of being a closely fought affair and that was the case in the opening quarter of an hour. The first chance of the match fell the way of the hosts with forward Liz Ejupi making a darting run forward and firing inches over Siobhan Chamberlain’s goal.
United, eager to bounce back after last week’s disappointment, soon started to grow into the game and dominated possession up until the interval. Sigsworth went close as she chipped keeper Katie Startup, however the ball was cleared by Charlton's Amelia Ritchie before the forward could get a final touch to it. Moments later, Alex Greenwood's shot from an acute angle was saved by the Addicks' stopper after a great one-two with midfielder, Mollie Green.
It was certainly entertaining for the sizeable crowd in a game rescheduled after the original fixture was abandoned in January.
After the break, the Reds maintained our high intensity and earned a penalty shortly before the hour mark. Ella Toone's shot from range was blocked by the arm of Charlton's Charlotte Gurr and the referee, Ryan Atkin, immediately pointed to the spot. Up stepped Zelem, who made no mistake to fire the ball to the left of Startup and give Stoney’s side a deserved lead.
We didn't have to wait long for a second. Zelem's corner from the right was met by Sigsworth who rose to thunder in a header for her 12th goal of the season and put the visitors in control.
United's two-goal cushion didn't deter the Addicks and, with eight minutes to play, they pulled a goal back as Graham picked the ball up and rifled an unstoppable curler past Chamberlain.
It meant a tense finale but the Reds held out and due to Tottenham losing to Sheffield United earlier in the day, Stoney's side have moved into first place. United and Spurs meet next week with the top-of-the-table encounter taking place in the capital on Sunday 31 March.
United: Chamberlain; Harris (Arnot 67), Palmer, M. Turner, Greenwood(c); Zelem, Green (Devlin 58), Toone (Smith 89), Sigsworth, James, Galton.
Substitutes not used: Ramsey, A.Turner, Hanson.
Goals: Graham 82 | Zelem 57, Sigsworth 63
WATCH UNITED AT HOME
United's next home game is on Wednesday 17 April as Aston Villa pay a visit to Leigh Sports Village (kick-off 19:00 GMT). Match tickets are on sale at www.manutd.com/womenstickets.