Jackie Groenen and Millie Turner

Women's match report: United 6 Bristol City 1

Sunday 20 December 2020 14:31

Manchester United Women will celebrate Christmas on top of the Women’s Super League after we fired six past Bristol City in Leigh Sports Village on Sunday.

Casey Stoney’s side, who started and finished the WSL weekend at the top of the table, continued our brilliant run in the league with a convincing 6-1 win. The Reds have now gone 10 games unbeaten in the league, winning eight and drawing two.

Leah Galton’s wonder-strike, on 26 minutes, put United in front before Millie Turner doubled the lead with a header in first-half stoppage time. Jess Sigsworth scored our third just after the interval, before Galton scored her second and United’s fourth.

Tobin Heath concluded a five-star performance number five and the sixth goal arrived close to the end, after former red Ebony Salmon had scored a consolation for the visitors.

Following our Continental Tyres Cup defeat to Everton earlier on in the week, Stoney made four changes to her starting XI. Amy Turner, Kirsty Smith, Ella Toone and Heath came in for Abbie McManus, Lotta Okvist, Hayley Ladd and Jane Ross.

Leah Galton scored a magnificent goal to put United in front.
It was the visitors who had the first big chance of the afternoon early on as Salmon was put clear with a precise through-ball but the Bristol striker lobbed it wide.

After the initial concern, United then took control of the game. Millie Turner had a header on target before Jackie Groenen tested the goalkeeper with a volleyed effort. 20 minutes into the game, Spanish full-back Ona Batlle rounded off a great attack for the Reds when she fired a powerful strike towards goal but Bristol City keeper Sophie Baggaley was equal to it.

On 24 minutes, our American star Heath almost scored a contender for Goal of the Season, when she hit a screamer from 30 yards but, unfortunately, it hit the bar and went out.

Only two minutes later, United’s pressure would count. Galton pulled off a thumping strike to send the Reds into the lead halfway through the first half. Our no. 11 received the ball from Katie Zelem, got away from two defenders and, from 25 yards, smashed the ball into the top-left corner.

The thunderbolt almost matched the weather at Leigh Sports Village as it continued to pour down and was also a result of United’s electrifying start to the game.
The table-toppers continued to put pressure on the Robins in what was a dominant performance from the league leaders. A Heath shot was saved by Baggalay on the half-hour mark before our no. 77 set up Ella Toone for a big chance inside the Bristol City box three minutes later. Unfortunately, Toone’s attempt was blocked on its way towards goal.

On the stroke of half time, United doubled the lead through Millie Turner. Zelem produced her second assist of the afternoon as her whipped cross was elegantly headed into the net by Turner. Stoney’s side went into the break with a deserved 2-0 lead.

The Reds came flying out of the blocks and had an early shout for a penalty but referee Lisa Benn waved play on. Goalscorer Galton then put in a brilliant cross for Sigsworth but our no. 9’s finish was deflected wide. However, only a few moments later, on 52 minutes, Sigsworth put the game to bed when she quickly got off the floor to smash in our third following a corner.

The 3-0 goal was also her last piece of action as she was replaced by Ivana Fuso, coming on for her WSL debut.

On 63 minutes, Galton scored another superb goal. Toone played in our lightning-quick winger with a excellent through-ball and Galton hit another superb strike as she added the Reds’ fourth.

Katie Zelem was lively in midfield, registering two assists against Bristol City.

After the fourth goal, Stoney continued to change things up as Hayley Ladd and Jane Ross came on for Groenen and Zelem a few minutes later.

72 minutes into the game, Bristol City got one back through former Red Salmon, who scored with a low shot drilled into the left corner behind Mary Earps.

With 15 minutes left, Martha Harris came on for her first WSL appearance of the season as she replaced Batlle. Kirsty Hanson also replaced Galton. With 10 minutes to go, substitute Hanson hit the crossbar before Heath showed exactly why she was voted into the FIFA FIFPro World11. Our no. 77 scored twice in the final moments of the game. First, on 83 minutes, she produced an outstanding chip for our fifth goal before she beat one defender and slotted in our sixth with four minutes to go to to conclude a magnificent 6-1 win.

The triumph means that Stoney’s side will celebrate Christmas as league leaders as the WSL now takes a break until 10 January, when we play away at Everton.

Tobin Heath scored twice towards the final stages of the game.

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UNITED: Earps; Batlle (Harris 74), M. Turner, A. Turner, Smith; Groenen (Ladd 64), Zelem (Ross 64), Toone; Heath, Sigsworth (Fuso 54), Galton (Hanson 74)

Substitutes not used: Okvist, McManus, Bentley, Press

Goals: Galton 26, 62, M. Turner 45, Sigsworth 52, Heath 83, 86

Bookings: Ladd

Bristol City: Baggaley; Allen, Palmer (Harrison 46), Evans, Purfield; Rafferty, Wellings, Logarzo (Bissell 65); Humphrey, Daniels, Salmon

Substitutes not used: Bryson, Haland,, Collis, Wilson, Mastrantonio, Jones

Bookings: Rafferty

Referee: Lisa Benn