Report: United Women 4 Leicester City 0

Saturday 05 March 2022 14:00

Manchester United Women moved into the top three of the WSL table with a 4-0 victory over Leicester City at Leigh Sports Village.

Martha Thomas and Alessia Russo both struck from close range in the first half to send the Reds into the break with a two-goal advantage. 

That was before captain Katie Zelem superbly wrapped up the points in the second half with two goals scored directly from corners. 

The win takes Marc Skinner’s side into the Champions League places for the night, prior to the rest of this weekend’s action in the division tomorrow. 


Off the back of successive defeats to Manchester City in our last two outings, the Reds were keen to seize the momentum early in pursuit of a return to winning ways. 

Skinner’s side were on the front foot right from the first whistle and could have had a lead as early as the fourth minute, when Leah Galton just volleyed over Thomas’ perfectly placed cross from the right. 

The opener wasn’t for coming then, or when Russo fired at Foxes goalkeeper Demi Lambourne shortly after, but it did arrive on 16 minutes when Thomas swept home Ona Batlle’s low ball in from the right to complete a swift counter-attacking move. 

Russo then got her goal to put United 2-0 up just inside the half-hour mark. Our no.23 leaped highest from six yards out to head home, after Ella Toone had recycled a corner from the left and picked out her fellow forward. 

The chances continued to come in the closing stages of the half for the Reds, after Freya Gregory and Jemma Purfield had gone close to pulling one back for the visitors, but the scoreline read just 2-0 at the break once Lambourne had produced an impressive fingertip stop to deny Hannah Blundell’s goal-bound effort in the final minute before the break. 



After the interval, Skinner’s side showed an intent to close out the contest, with Galton right at the heart of those efforts. 

The United winger had two half-chances before glancing just over the crossbar, after she was picked out by the ever-lively Russo from the left. 

The Reds then made it 3-0 just before the hour mark after captain Zelem scored directly from a corner for the second successive week. Having opened the scoring in last weekend’s FA Cup game in that fashion, our no.10 repeated the feat from the exact same spot to extend our advantage. 

If doing it twice in as many weeks wasn’t remarkable enough, our skipper did it again from the same side less than five minutes later to make it 4-0. Just like with the first, Zelem’s inswinging ball beat everyone in the box and crept in off the inside of the post. 

With the points all-but secure for United, Skinner began to freshen things up with Ivana Fuso and Martha Harris two of four players introduced from the bench as the clock ticked down. In the closing stages, both had notable moments where they nearly helped to add to the scoreline. 

First, Fuso was denied her first league goal for the club at the near post by Lambourne before a good block denied Russo a second of the game, after Harris had teed her up well, following some good play on the inside of the penalty area. 

Fuso then flashed a shot just over the crossbar as the game entered four minutes of stoppage time, with referee Amy Fearn’s final whistle bringing a close to a good afternoon’s work for the Reds shortly after. 
United passed a century of WSL goals with the result, while keeping the 50th clean sheet in team history at the other end, in what was our 100th competitive fixture since formation in 2018.


United: Earps; Batlle (M.Harris 82), Caldwell, Thorisdottir, Blundell; Groenen (Boe Risa 75), Zelem (c); Russo, Toone, Galton (Hanson 75); Thomas (Fuso 70). 

Substitutes not used: Baggaley, Jones.

Scorers: Thomas 16, Russo 30, Zelem 59, 63.

Leicester City: Lambourne; Howard, McManus (Bott 64), Barker (c); de Graaf, Tierney, Pike, Purfield; O'Brien, Flint (Goodwin 75), Gregory.

Substitutes not used: S.Harris, Bailey-Gayle, Boddy, Baker, Robinson.