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Action photo from Manchester United Women 0 Durham Women 0

United Women 0 Durham Women 0

Manchester United Women maintained an unbeaten start in the Women’s Championship with a goalless draw against Durham Women at Leigh Sports Village.

Lauren James and Jess Sigsworth had the best chances in a fiercely fought contest, with the visitors’ goalkeeper, Hannah Reid, producing a number of fine saves to keep United at bay in what is the Reds' first draw of the league campaign.

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.
Jess Sigsworth challenges for the ball against Durham Women
Jess Sigsworth was involved in some of United's best opportunities to break the deadlock.
Sigsworth then had an opportunity just after ten minutes from an acute angle, but Durham keeper Reid was able to clear the shot out of play. Kirsty Hanson also produced a brilliant cross from the left, but it couldn't find a United player to prod the ball home.

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.
After the break, James again had a big chance to break the deadlock. The talented midfielder tried her luck from distance ten minutes into the second half and forced an excellent save by Reid to tip the ball over the bar. From the resulting corner, Sigsworth, who last scored in the 12-0 opening league victory at Aston Villa, was unlucky to have her effort from close range cleared off the line.

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.
Alex Greenwood goes on the attack for United Women
Alex Greenwood goes on the attack for United Women.
With just over 20 minutes to go, Stoney made her second change of the afternoon as Sigsworth made way for Charlie Devlin. The head coach was then forced to make her third and final substitution shortly after as Galton was stretchered off following a collision in the middle of the park. She was replaced by Kirsty Smith.

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.
Leah Galton receives attention from the United physio after being injured
Leah Galton's injury was assessed on the pitch, shortly before she was stretchered off.
MATCH DETAILS

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.

Attendance: 2,244

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.
 

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