Match Report: Leicester 0 United 1

Sunday 23 October 2022 17:27

Manchester United's unbeaten start to the Women's Super League continued this afternoon, with Marc Skinner's side recording 1-0 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

The victory makes it an impressive four wins from four, and as many clean sheets, in the WSL for the Reds so far this campaign.

Nikita Parris's first-half headed goal, from Katie Zelem's free-kick, proved to be the difference maker for United, who remain level at the top of the league table with Arsenal. 

A relatively quiet second half saw both sides have a handful of chances, but Parris's header - and a resilient defensive display - were enough to seal the three points for Skinner's side. 

On the scoresheet: Parris gets her first league goal for the club.

The opening half was relatively even from the off, prompting Leicester to have the first effort on goal through Jemma Purfield. 

But despite the early pressure from the hosts, it didn't take the Reds long to hit their stride and, Skinner's side soon began to create a handful of chances.

Ella Toone played a superb pass down the left, finding Hannah Blundell inside the Leicester box, but the defender couldn't quite lift her effort over goalkeeper Kirstie Levell. 

Toone was responsible for another wonderful defence-cutting ball soon after, finding Leah Galton in behind. Our no. 11 dinked the ball into the path of Parris, but the striker's header bounced wide of the goal. 

But Parris made no mistake second time round, finding the breakthrough just after the half hour mark.

Katie Zelem drove a brilliant free-kick into the box, and our no.22 was quick to react, heading the ball beyond Levell to get her first Women's Super League goal for the Reds. 

The Foxes continued to search for a way back into the game in the first half, but Lydia Bedford's side failed to create any clear-cut chances to test Mary Earps before the break.
A thorn in the side: Katie Zelem caused Leicester problems all afternoon.

Despite a level of dominance from United in the first 45, the second half was a different tale. 

Bedford's team-talk at the break appeared to spur the home side on, with the Blues coming out in the second period with real intent.

Earps was forced into a fantastic save to deny Josie Green's long-distance volley, after Leicester caused real problems for United's backline shortly after the restart.

The Reds managed to see out the mounting pressure from the hosts to regain some control on the game. A triple substitution from Skinner would see two more attackers enter the fray in the form of Rachel Williams and Martha Thomas - midfielder Hayley Ladd also joined the action at this point - but Leicester's defence were able to nullify our attacking threat as the match wore on. 

Ella Toone looked lively against the Blues.

Toone had a golden opportunity with 10 to go, but a great recovery block from Ashleigh Plumptre saw her effort deflected behind. 

Both sides continued to apply pressure on one another, but two stern defences ensured the deficit remained at just one goal, sealing a vital three points for the Reds on the road.

A midweek clash against Durham in the Conti Cup on Wednesday evening next awaits Skinner and his side, before United travel to Everton next Sunday for another important WSL fixture.


Leicester XI: Levell; Simon, Howard, Tierney, Plumptre, Purfield; Pike, Whelan, Green (Scofield 84); Goodwin (Baker 71), Flint (Bott 84). 

Unused subs: Lambourne, Vance, McManus, Jones, Smith.

Bookings: Howard 7; Plumptre 20. 

United XI: Earps; Thorisdottir (Moore 90), Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell (Thomas 61); Zelem, Staniforth (Ladd 61); Garcia (Williams 61), Toone, Galton; Parris. 

Unused subs: Baggaley, Tounkara, Boe Risa, Leon. 

Goals: Parris 30.  

Bookings: Zelem 58, Toone 90. 


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