United Women 3 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Manchester United cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in a crucial Women’s Super League clash at Leigh Sports Village.
A dominant display by the Reds was backed up by two goals within a five-minute spell in the first half from Vilde Boe Risa and Hayley Ladd, before Leah Galton struck in the second period.
The result means Marc Skinner’s side have reinforced the club's credentials in the race for a Champions League spot, moving three points clear of Spurs after starting the day on the same number of points as the North London outfit.
FIRST HALF – FOUNDATIONS FOR VICTORY
It was a lively start for the Reds as Boe Risa charged down the right flank in the first minute and played a low early ball across the edge of the box. Galton was hoping to latch onto it, but the cross was sadly out of her reach. Less than 60 seconds later United created a first chance of the afternoon after Galton had done well to recycle possession, but visiting keeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela saved a shot that was right down the middle.
Korpela was again called into action on 11 minutes when Galton unleashed a shot towards the near post, but the Spurs stopper again made the save. Six minutes later, Maria Thorisdottir perhaps showed a hint of the aerial problems United would cause the away side when she had a headed chance from an inswinging Katie Zelem free kick from the right. However, the Norwegian couldn’t find the target.
Ella Toone went into referee Lucy May’s notebook shortly before the half-hour mark when she challenged Jessica Naz on the touchline. Naz then had one of Tottenham’s best opportunities when Rachel Williams crossed a low ball to the near post, but Naz couldn’t divert the ball towards goal.
Back up the other end, a crafty free kick fed Toone who saw her effort go behind for a corner and the resulting set-play brought United’s opener. Zelem swung the ball to the back post where Boe Risa was free to dispatch a volley for 1-0.
It was then destined that Skinner’s team would go in at the break two goals to the good when Toone advanced down the right and crossed the ball in, with Ladd able to nod home to double the advantage.
SECOND HALF – COMPLETING THE JOB
In the second 45, it was again United who started the smarter of the two sides and like in the opening half, Galton was again involved – taking a swipe at Russo’s low cross but firing it over the bar.
Having had little to do, Reds goalkeeper Mary Earps was called into action to clear a back pass as she was being closed down. While Earps won the race to the ball outside her penalty area, the attacker managed to get a block in, but the rebound went harmlessly out of play for a throw-in.
On the hour mark, Kirsty Smith was to make her last impact on the match, firing in a dangerous looking cross that none of her team-mates were able to convert. Smith was then part of a double change with Alessia Russo also making way as Martha Thomas and Hannah Blundell entered the field of play.
With her first touch, Smith’s compatriot Thomas would set up the third goal of the afternoon. Running into the box, the Scottish striker played a ball across the area which Ashleigh Neville was unable to clear, providing Galton with a gift at the back post. She then duly provided the composed tap-in needed to get the reward for all her tenacious work in the match.
Trying to rally, Tottenham were unable to find a consolation goal, despite Rachel Williams having an excellent opportunity at the back post with ten minutes to go – but she somehow spurned the chance and allowed United to extend the current run of victories without conceding a goal to six in a row in all competitions.
United: Earps; Thorisdottir, Mannion, Batlle, Smith (Blundell 62); Boe Risa (Groenen 64), Zelem (c), Ladd; Toone, Russo (Thomas 61), Galton (F. Fuso 81).
Subs not used: Baggaley, Jones.
Goals: Boe Risa 38, Ladd 42, Galton 62.
Booked: Toone, Ladd.
Spurs: Korpela; Neville, Zadorsky (c), Bartrip, Harrop; Green (Addison 65), Percival, Clemaron; Ayane (Ale 77), Williams, Naz (Lane 91).
Subs not used: Spencer, Morgan.