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MU Women celebrate a goal against Everton Ladies

Everton Ladies 0 United Women 3

Manchester United Women booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Continental Tyres Cup with a convincing victory over Everton at Southport's Merseyrail Community Stadium.

Lauren James’ looping header gave the Reds an early lead, with the first goalscorer then turning provider for Leah Galton who doubled United’s advantage five minutes later with another headed effort. Katie Zelem sealed progress to the last eight for Casey Stoney’s side with a delightful free-kick before the interval.

After suffering a first defeat in the Women’s Championship at the hands of Durham on Sunday, Stoney made four changes to her starting line-up. Into the fold came Martha Harris, Leah Galton, Jess Sigsworth and Lauren James as the Reds sought to end the year on a high against an Everton side sat three places above them in the women’s football pyramid.
 
Lauren James takes on an Everton defender
Lauren James was brought into the starting line-up.
And it was United who took the lead shortly after the 10-minute mark. Martha Harris delivered a sumptuous cross from the right and youngster, Lauren James, served up a header that looped over Toffees goalkeeper Kirstie Levell to give the Reds an early lead against the top-tier club.

Five minutes later, Stoney’s side doubled the advantage. This time James was the creator as her ball in from the right found Leah Galton. Her brilliant downward header beat Levell and gave the Reds a tighter grip on the game. Katie Zelem could have added a third for United when she spotted the Toffees’ shot-stopper off her line and had a crack at goal from distance. The midfielder’s strike beat the keeper but was cruelly denied by the frame of the goal.
Towards the end of the first half, the visitors continued to assert their dominance over the hosts. James looked to have scored her second goal of the night from an Alex Greenwood corner; however, it was chalked off due to an infringement in the penalty area.

Moments later though, Galton went on a mazy run and won a free-kick just outside the penalty area. Up stepped Katie Zelem who fired the ball into the roof of the net and sent the travelling fans behind the goal into ecstasy on a cold winter’s night in Southport.
Katie Zelem and Lauren James celebrate
United scorers Katie Zelem and Lauren James celebrate.
After the break, the chances were few and far between for both sides as Everton desperately tried to find a route back into the game. Inessa Kaagman produced a good opportunity inside the box to pull one back for the Toffees on the hour mark, but Chamberlain produced a great save with her feet to keep United’s clean sheet intact.

At the other end, Stoney’s side continued to search for a fourth goal. James produced a brilliantly weighted ball through to Mollie Green whose shot was saved after being one-on-one with Levell. 

Into stoppage time, Ella Toone, who had just come on from the bench, charged into the box, but the Toffees’ keeper was quick off her line to produce a fine block from the youngster’s strike.

Despite not scoring in the second half, it was ultimately a convincing victory for the Reds, resulting in progress to the quarter-finals of the Continental Tyres Cup which will take place in early January.

With the team riding high at the top of the FA Women’s Championship and receiving a bye through to the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup, Stoney's squad will have plenty to look forward to in the new year.
MU Women celebrate a goal
United Women celebrate a winning end to 2018.
MATCH DETAILS
 
United:
Chamberlain; Smith, A. Turner, M. Turner, Harris; Greenwood (c), Zelem, Green; Galton (Toone 90), James (Hanson 74), Sigsworth.
 
Substitutes not used: Palmer, Ramsey, Devlin, Arnot, Salmon.
 
Goals: James 12, Galton 17, Zelem 37.
 
Attendance: 240.
 
NEXT MATCH
 
United's next home game follows a three-week break for Christmas. London Bees will be the visitors to Leigh Sports Village on Sunday 6 January 2019 (kick-off 12:00 GMT). Match tickets are on sale at www.manutd.com/womenstickets and priced at £5 (£2.50 for U16s/65+).

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