Match Report: United Women 2 Man City 2

Manchester United Women’s unbeaten WSL run was extended on Saturday, following a brilliant comeback against Manchester City.

Casey Stoney’s side pulled off a great comeback at Leigh Sports Village to deny City a derby win, after the visitors went into the break with a two-goal lead.

Our rivals went ahead in the eighth minute through Chloe Kelly, before Laura Coombs doubled the lead in first-half injury-time. In the second half, United fought back in typical fashion. A Tobin Heath rocket halved the deficit, before substitute Kirsty Hanson powered in the equaliser for the Reds after a corner.

The derby draw means that United’s unbeaten run continues and that we are still top of the WSL prior to the rest of this weekend's games.

Highlights: United Women 2 Man City 2Video

Despite City taking the early lead, it was United who initially came firing out of the blocks in the derby. Hayley Ladd had the game's first shot on target before two minutes was played and, a few moments later, Tobin Heath found Ella Toone – who scored the winner against Arsenal last weekend – just outside the area following a blistering counter-attack. Unfortunately, the attempt from our no. 7 failed to hit the target.

However, after the initial United pressure, it was City who took the lead early on, when Chloe Kelly broke the deadlock for the Blues eight minutes in, following a corner. United failed to clear the ball out of the box and Kelly flicked an improvised finish into the top corner to put our rivals ahead.

On her 50th performance, Amy Turner captained United and really showed her importance at the heart of our defence. Shortly after the goal, she put in a strong tackle to deny Ellen White inside the box. But City continued to make life difficult for the Reds and produced several dangerous attacks. On 18 minutes, Millie Turner blocked a goal-bound shot from inside the box, before Amy Turner again bravely threw herself in front of a shot to stop a powerful effort from hitting the target.

On 27 minutes, Leah Galton showed brilliant defensive awareness by blocking a shot from White from inside the six-yard-box. Then brave goalkeeping from Mary Earps denied Georgia Stanway after 30 minutes. Our goalkeeper stayed down after the City forward crashed into her, but luckily Earps was fine.

After that, United came more into the game. Christen Press burst down the left and put in a dangerous cross but no one was there to send home an equaliser on that occasion. Heath then tried to find her American companion Press with a through ball, but it just got away from our no. 24.

Despite great defensive efforts, the half had a nightmare end. In injury time, another terrific block from captain Turner landed at the feet of Laura Coombs just outside the box, who drilled in a powerful strike to extend City’s advantage. The score would read 0-2 in the visitors' favour at the break.
City went into the interval two goals up, but Tobin Heath sparked a United comeback.
Kirsty Hanson replaced Jess Sigsworth at half-time, as Stoney looked to change things up in order to inspire a comeback. United again dominated the first minutes and won a series of corners, where Heath’s deliveries caused problems for the visitors. But no goals came from the chances.

But then our no. 77 decided to show her world-class ability by smashing in United's first goal and cutting City’s lead. The American drifted towards goal and, from just inside the area, she rifled the ball into the top corner, putting United right back in it.

Straight after the goal, Stoney introduced Lauren James for Christen Press. The substitute showed great skill to make space for herself inside the City box after 63 minutes, but her effort from an acute angle went straight at the keeper. James was on the run again four minutes later, and looked to copy Heath with a rocket strike, but unfortunately it went over the bar.
City’s biggest chance of the second period came seconds later, when Kelly put in a cross towards Stanway, who met it on the volley but could not direct her attempt inside Earps’ goalposts.

Then, in classic United fashion, the Reds came back to equalise. A corner landed at the feet of substitute Kirsty Hanson. Her first shot from inside the six-yard area was blocked, but the substitute then showed her determination by putting the ball in the net while surrounded by City defenders.

Everything was set for a nerve-wrecking end to the game as both sides looked for a winner. And like the majority of the second half, it was United who dominated the final stages, with the Reds winning set piece after set piece. A header from Lucy Staniforth was agonisingly blocked on the line as the game entered the final minute.

But that was the closest any team came to a winner and the Manchester derby ended with honours even.

Kirsty Hanson came off the bench to equalise for United.

MATCH DETAILS

UNITED: Earps; Batlle, A. Turner, M. Turner, Galton; Ladd, Groenen; Sigsworth (Hanson 46), Toone, Heath (Staniforth 70); Press (James 55)

Substituted not used: Ramsey, Okvist, Zelem, Ross

Goals: Heath 54, Hanson 73

Booked: Press

City: Roebuck; Bronze, Houghton, Greenwood, Stokes; Mewis, Walsh, Coombs (Weir 85), Kelly; White (Beckie 76), Stanway (Park 88)

Booked: Kelly

Substitutes not used: Bardsley, Bonner, Scott, Morgan, Lavelle

Goals: Kelly 8, Coombs 45

Referee: Amy Fearns

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