Match report: Sheffield United 0 United Women 4
Manchester United Women made it three consecutive victories and clean sheets in all competitions as the Reds comfortably beat Sheffield United Women 4-0 at the Olympic Legacy Park.
Katie Zelem got the Reds up-and-running after 30 seconds when she curled a spectacular effort into the top corner before Lauren James doubled United’s lead just before the half-hour mark with another brilliant solo effort.
James then won a penalty shortly before half-time, which Ella Toone converted to score her sixth goal in three games. Mollie Green added a fourth after the break with a fine header from close range as Casey Stoney’s side consolidated second spot in the FA Women’s Championship.
Reds put Blades to the swordGallery
It was another dominant away victory for United Women, against Sheffield United on Wednesday night.
After United progressed to the quarter-finals of the SSE Women’s FA Cup by beating London Bees 3-0 at the weekend, Stoney made four changes to her starting XI with Amy Turner, Katie Zelem, Leah Galton and Lauren James coming into the fold. As for the Blades, manager Carla Ward named a squad that was missing 10 first-team players, with the hosts having to call on several youth players to fill the void.
United broke the deadlock within seconds of the kick-off. Alex Greenwood won a corner on the left-hand side and the Reds’ skipper played it short to Zelem, who curled the ball into the top right corner to net her sixth league goal of the campaign and get the visitors off to a flying start.
This early setback did not dampen the hosts’ spirit and, soon after, they had a chance to equalise. Sophie Barker played through Chloe Dixon, who was one-on-one with Siobhan Chamberlain, however her shot was dragged wide of the far post when you would have expected her to have at least hit the target.
Following on from the energetic start to proceedings, the Blades weathered a flurry of United chances. Leah Galton whipped in a fierce cross from the left which was cleared behind while Greenwood almost scored direct from the resulting corner. Galton nearly scored herself, however was denied by a great save from the Blades’ stopper Nikki Davies.
James, though, doubled the Reds’ lead just before the half-hour mark. The youngster scored her eighth league goal of the season after dancing her way past several Sheffield United players into the box and confidently slotting the ball into the net.
Ten minutes later, James was played through by Zelem and looked set to make it three, however she was brought down inside the area by Danielle Cox and the referee awarded a penalty. Toone made no mistake from the spot, such is the confidence flowing through the 19-year-old’s veins at the moment, and ensured United went into half-time with the game in an iron grip.
Green got the Reds’ fourth six minutes into a second half that was low on chances. The midfielder, who scored in Sunday’s FA Cup victory over London Bees, added to the visitors’ goal tally with a header from close range following Toone’s floated cross from the left.
United's thumping win, combined with Tottenham Hotspur Ladies' 1-0 home win over Leicester City Women elsewhere on Wednesday night, leaves the Reds five points behind leaders Spurs but with two games in hand.
United: Chamberlain; Harris, A Turner, M Turner, Greenwood (c); Zelem (Hanson 56), Green, Toone; Sigsworth (Palmer 69), James, Galton (Arnot 75).
Substitutes not used: Ramsey, Smith.
Goals: Zelem 1, James 27, Toone 41 pen, Green 51.
Referee: Sarah Garratt
United Women are next in action on Sunday 10 March when Leicester City Women visit Leigh Sports Village in the FA Women's Championship.
Kick-off will be at 12:00 GMT and match tickets are on sale at www.manutd.com/womenstickets.
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