Manchester United Women maintained an unbeaten start in the Women’s Championship with a goalless draw against Durham Women at Leigh Sports Village.
Casey Stoney made three changes from last weekend’s away victory against London Bees, with Jess Sigsworth, Ella Toone and Martha Harris all returning to the starting XI.
James, who celebrated her seventeenth birthday on Saturday, was the player that caused Durham’s defence the most trouble during a fairly even first half. The youngster had a golden opportunity to put the Reds into the lead early on after Greenwood's delicious cross into the box was pulled back inside by Lizzie Arnot. James’ first-time effort, though, failed to find the target.
The Reds had further chances in the first half to score the opener. Katie Zelem’s floated cross into the box skimmed over the head of Sigsworth who had charged into the area, while Reid produced a fingertip save to keep United at bay after a goalmouth scramble.
Just before the half-hour mark, Sigsworth was put through on goal after a brilliant ball by James. However, Durham’s shot-stopper was quick off her line to deflect the attempt wide of goal.
Abi Cottam had a chance for the visitors midway through the first half, but while her shot had the accuracy, it lacked the power to trouble Siobhan Chamberlain between United's posts.
Stoney brought Leah Galton on shortly before the hour mark as the Reds continued to press for a winner and the forward immediately provided some fresh impetus as she charged her way into the area, only for her cross to fall into the arms of Reid.
United won a penalty 25 minutes from time after skipper Greenwood was brought down inside the box. Zelem, who scored from the spot against Villa and Sheffield United, was unfortunately denied by Reid who dived to her right to keep the scores level.
With the referee indicating ten minutes of stoppage time to be played, the Reds continued to push for a last-gasp winner. James had a shot from just inside the box which was initially dropped by Reid but was stopped from crossing the line. The youngster had another go from further out and again saw Reid tip the ball over the frame of the goal.
Ultimately, United were not able to break the deadlock and must now wait a fortnight, for a home game against Charlton Athletic, for a chance to return to winning ways.
United Women: Chamberlain; Harris, A. Turner, M. Turner, Greenwood (c); Zelem, Toone, James; Hanson, Arnot (Galton 56 (Smith 79)), Sigsworth (Devlin 68).
Subs not used: Bentley, Salmon, Hartley, Roberts.
NEXT HOME MATCH
Manchester United Women’s next game is at home against Charlton Athletic Women’s in the FA Women’s Championship on Sunday 14 October, kick-off 12:00 BST. Match tickets for Leigh Sports Village will again be on sale at www.manutd.com/womenstickets.
Deadlock with Durham Gallery
Goals were absent but Sunday's game at Leigh was still an eventful one for United Women.