Women: Tottenham 0 Manchester United 1
Manchester United Women returned to Women’s Super League action in style as we extended our unbeaten league run with a win against Tottenham Hotspur Women.
An even first half at The Hive in Edgware ended goalless after Becky Spencer in the Tottenham net pulled off some impressive saves to deny both Tobin Heath and Katie Zelem. Rosella Ayana went closest for the hosts but it was United who created the most of the chances before the break.
Casey Stoney's team continued to dominate the game and finally got a well-deserved goal through Millie Turner who headed in the winner from a corner on 69 minutes. The win was United’s fifth straight win against Spurs in all competitions, our fourth game unbeaten in this season's WSL, and a result that sent the Reds top of the table ahead of Sunday's six fixtures including Chelsea v Manchester City.
It was an exciting opening to the game as United went close before even a minute was played. Katie Zelem, making her first start since recovering from COVID-19, made a deep run into the box and got on the end of a cross from the right but the captain couldn’t find the target with her header.
Minutes after, Spurs forward Ayana pounced on a loose ball and went one-on-one with Mary Earps but the big chance ended in nothing for the hosts as the attacker’s shot went wide.
On 23 minutes, Christen Press, on her first United league start, was found on the left but after making a good run into the box the ball went out for a goal kick. Shortly after, Press was the architect of a great attack as she found her American compatriot Tobin Heath with a precise through ball. One-on-one with Spencer, our no. 77’s attempt from an acute angle hit the keeper and the ball went out for a Reds corner.
The visitors took more and more control of the game and Heath once again cut in on her favoured right foot after 30 minutes but failed to hit the target this time. Leah Galton bombed down the left a minute later and whipped in an excellent cross to the back post to Alessia Russo, who couldn't get a shot away.
Stoney’s women kept pressure on as the first half came towards its end. Heath found Zelem on the edge of the area following a blocked corner and the captain’s shot from 18 yards, towards the top right-hand corner, was majestically saved by Spencer for another corner. That proved to be the last big chance of the half and the teams went into the break still level at 0-0.
Stoney opted for a change during the interval, bringing on Ella Toone for Hayley Ladd. Ten minutes into the half, Press was replaced by Kirsty Hanson. Shortly after, Zelem found Galton with a well-worked free-kick and the full-back put in a dangerous cross to the far post which was headed out for a corner, which came to nothing.
Midway through the second half, Abbie McManus won the ball back with a strong tackle and the ball ended up at the feet of Russo who burst forward towards the Spurs box. A well-driven shot from the corner of the area was again stopped by Spencer, who pulled off another good save to deny Stoney’s side.
From the following corner, United finally got a breakthrough goal through Millie Turner. The corner to the back post was met with a looping header into the bottom far corner, making it 1-0 to the away side.
Seeing off SpursGallery
Check out the best photos as United continued an unbeaten start in the WSL.
United kept the pressure on after the goal, in search of a second, and Toone fired a shot towards goal on 75 minutes but it went straight at Spencer. It then looked like Heath was brought down inside the area; however, the referee opted for a free-kick rather than a penalty with the challenge close to the line. That was also the last piece of action for Heath, who was replaced by Kirsty Smith while Zelem made way for Lucy Stanisforth.
Spurs looked for an equaliser but failed to produce a shot on target in the second half and after six minutes of extra time, Stoney and her team could celebrate three important WSL points, four games unbeaten and being top of the table before the rest of the weekend's games are played.
United: Earps; A.Turner (c), McManus, M.Turner, Galton; Ladd (Toone 46), Groenen, Zelem (Staniforth 77); Russo, Heath (Smith 77), Press (Hanson 55).
Subs not used: Ramsey, Okvist, Ross, Sigsworth.
Goal: M. Turner, 67.
Booked: Groenen, Ladd, A. Turner, M. Turner.
Spurs: Spencer; Zadorsky; Green (Filbey 90), Davison (Leon 90), Percival; Addison, Warm; Kennedy, Ayana (Dean 64), Godfrey; Neville (Quinn 90).
Subs not used: Whitehouse, Harrop, Graham, Sulola.
Booked: Green, Neville.
Referee: Amy Fearn.
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