Manchester United Women's impressive, unbeaten start to the league campaign continued in style on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 5-0 away win over Crystal Palace Ladies at Hayes Lane, Bromley.
An early strike from Lizzie Arnot was all that separated the teams at half-time but further goals from Mollie Green (2), Alex Greenwood and Arnot again swept the Eagles aside in the second period.
With United threatening on both flanks from the off, it was the wingers who combined to give the visitors the lead after 17 minutes. Katie Zelem, so often the one to kick-start the Reds' attacks, did so with a threatening through-ball that tempted Crystal Palace goalkeeper, Shanell Salgado, to come off her line. Kirsty Hanson got there before the onrushing Salgado and did brilliantly to turn, get her head up and pick out Arnot in the box. The Scot picked her spot, slotting in a composed one-touch finish.
Hanson also threatened Palace's goal with a long-range shot, but Ella Toone had the best opportunity to double the lead just after the half-hour mark. A brilliant cross by Green fell kindly to Toone who fired just wide from six yards out. Though United went into the break leading 1-0, there will have been plenty for head coach Casey Stoney to ponder.
Top scorer Jess Sigsworth replaced Toone at half-time and it didn’t take long for the no. 9 to get involved in the action, putting in a teasing cross that just evaded Arnot.
Arnot did get her second goal before long though, applying the final touch on Greenwood’s brilliant low cross that caused chaos in the Palace box. A scramble ensued but it was Arnot who claimed it.
Play opened up at that point and just four minutes later Green scored the best goal of the game. A short corner routine was executed to perfection, with Greenwood feeding Green, who touched the ball past her marker and swept in a beautiful left-footed curler.
Green wrapped up the scoring at 5-0, when firing in her second strike of the afternoon from a Kirsty Smith through-ball.
It was an impressive display overall, with the flurry of goals and a welcome return to keeping a clean sheet, and the result means United keep up the pressure on league leaders Tottenham with a game in hand.
United Women: Chamberlain; Harris, A. Turner, M. Turner, Greenwood; Green, Zelem, Devlin (James 72); Arnot, Toone (Sigsworth 45), Hanson (Smith 65). Substitutes not used: Bentley, Roberts, Hartley, Palmer.
Scorers: Arnot 17, 55, Green 59, 83, Greenwood pen. 75.
NEXT HOME MATCH
United Women’s next match is at home against Millwall Lionesses, at 12:00 GMT on Sunday 25 November. Match tickets for Leigh Sports Village will again be on sale via www.manutd.com/womenstickets.