United Women 2 Manchester City 1

Sunday 21 May 2023 20:58

Manchester United have painted the city Red with a dramatic 2-1 victory over local rivals Man City in the highly anticipated derby at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday evening.

The Reds got off to a perfect start with Hayley Ladd scoring an absolute rocket just two minutes into the game. Minutes before half-time, City found themselves down to 10 after goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck was sent off for a flying challenge on Nikita Parris.

After a relatively quiet start to the second half, the visitors got back into the game through Filippa Angeldahl. It looked as though the spoils were going to be shared between these two sides once again, but Lucia Garcia found the back of the net in stoppage time to snatch all three points at the death. 

The result, which was in front of a record-breaking crowd in Leigh, means United remain in the title race, sitting two points behind Chelsea with one game to go.

Lucia Garcia scores her last-gasp winner.


Skinner named an unchanged side from last weekend’s FA Cup final and United came out attacking from the off, determined to put the disappointment of Wembley behind us.

It was the perfect start for the hosts when added pressure from Ladd saw her win the ball outside the box and she picked her spot with a sublime left-footed strike into the top corner.

Just minutes later, Parris nearly made it two but her close range shot was blocked by Roebuck. With an excited crowd behind them, United pushed forward and broke quickly but Parris’ shot went whizzing past Galton. The midfielder had another chance from a short corner from Katie Zelem and the resulting Parris cross found Galton but her header went over the crossbar.

City’s first effort of the half came just after 20 minutes when Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw found Lauren Hemp in space who had time to cross the ball into the box. Despite our attempts to clear, the ball fell to Shaw and after her attempt was blocked by Hannah Blundell, Chloe Kelly’s powerful hit from close-range cannoned off the post.

This was the first of a number of chances for City in a five-minute spell, but Skinner’s side remained calm at the back and cleared their lines each time with Blundell and Ona Batlle making key blocks.

After a slight lull in the game, Parris tried once again to double our lead but her shot was gathered comfortably by Roebuck. City immediately broke down the left and Hemp but Maya Le Tissier was on hand to stop Shaw getting on the ball in the box.

With just minutes to go until the interval, Parris found herself in plenty of space charging towards goal but her attempts to go through on goal were abruptly interrupted after City's keeper rushed off the line and made a rash challenge. Referee Rebecca Welch was quick to issue a red card, with Khiara Keating being brought on at the expense of Leila Ouahabi.

The resulting free-kick led went wide of the mark, with the whistle sounding soon after. It was the first time in the WSL this season that City failed to register a shot on target in the first half. 

Hannah Blundell in action for the Reds.


It was Gareth Taylor’s side who came out for the second half strong and with just minutes on the clock, it looked like they had got an equaliser but Kelly's header hit the crossbar. The Reds had calls for a penalty waved away by the referee, after Leah Galton was bundled over in the box. It wasn’t long until the penalty cries were down the other end of the pitch, but Ladd was deemed to have cleared the ball fairly before catching Shaw.

Approaching the hour mark, United’s front three combined to push City back into their half. Russo’s run was finished with a superb cross but despite diving for the ball, Galton couldn’t provide the finishing touch. Despite our continual pushing, City got themselves back into the game in the 68th minute. The goal, which seemed to come from nothing, had a hint of good fortune in it as Angeldahl’s cross found the back of the net, wrong-footing Mary Earps and looping it and the back post. 

Reds captain Katie Zelem drives forward in midfield.

The Reds went looking for their second goal of the game, but second-half substitute Garcia couldn’t get enough on the ball to guide it into the net after Boe Risa's shot was saved.

The final ten minutes were end to end with both teams searching for the winner, with chances falling to Rachel Williams and Hayley Raso. A City break, with just minutes left on the clock, looked set to secure a winner for the visitors when Shaw once again surged into our box, but was denied by an outstanding block from Maya Le Tissier before she shielded the ball for Mary Earps to collect.

Just as it looked like the game was going to finish 1-1, Blundell whipped the ball in from the left and substitutes Boe Risa and Garcia combining, and the later shooting through a crowd of City players to find the back of the net.

The Reds will travel to Liverpool next weekend in the final game of the season sitting just two points behind Chelsea.

Maya Le Tissier put in an important tackle to stop Manchester City scoring late in the game.


Man Utd XI: Earps, Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Ladd, Zelem; Parris (Garcia 75), Toone (Boe Risa 75), Galton (Thomas 90); Russo (Williams 66). 

Unused substitutes: Baggaley, Thomas, Riviere, Naalsund, Tounkara, Cascarino.

Goals: Ladd 2, Garcia 90+1.

Bookings: Zelem 90, Garcia 90+1, Boe Risa 90+4.

Man City XI: Roebuck, Greenwood, Houghton, Morgan, Coombs (Castellanos 84), Hasegawa, Angeldahl, Kelly, Hemp (Raso 76), Ouahabi (Keating 43), Shaw.

Unused substitutes: Casparij, Dahou

Goals: Angeldahl 68

Bookings: Angeldahl 78

Red card: Roebuck 42


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