Alessia Russo celebrates a goal for Manchester United Women with team-mate Kirsty Hanson

Women: Birmingham 2 Manchester United 5

Manchester United Women's first win of the new 2020/21 season was an emphatic one, although the Reds had to come from behind before eventually beating Birmingham City 5-2

Kirsty Hanson's late double ensured the margin of victory was comfortable in the end, but it was far from plain sailing in the first half when Jane Ross's opener for the Reds was overturned with a strike from Claudia Walker and then an own goal by Abbie McManus.

United captain Katie Zelem levelled the score at 2-2 for half-time with a free-kick, after former team-mate Mollie Green fouled Ella Toone. And when Toone later made it 3-2, Casey Stoney's side were able to stretch ahead and add those two further goals from Hanson.
Video
Ella Toone on the ball against Birmingham City
Watch all seven goals, including the one scored for United by the pictured Ella Toone.
It only took five minutes for United to break the deadlock at Damson Park, with good possession play paying an early dividend when Toone delivered a cross and Ross headed past Birmingham goalkeeper.

A decent chance to double the lead was presented to Leah Galton by Zelem's measured pass but our no.11, who scored the equaliser last weekend, couldn't apply the finish in a one-on-one situation. Moments later, Zelem was dispossessed by Green and the ball eventually broke for Walker to overpower Millie Turner and fire the Blues' equaliser beyond Mary Earps.
Buoyed by their goal, Birmingham took more control of the game at this point with Green fully involved against her old club from central midfield. The Blues edged in front at 2-1 when a free-kick caused problems in the Reds' backline and the unfortunate McManus was deemed to have had the final touch at her side's expense.

There was a sense that United needed something special to get back in the contest and Zelem supplied it with a superb free-kick into the top right-hand corner, nine minutes before the break. However, the skipper was still one of the players replaced as Stoney rang the changes at half-time with a triple substitution.

Ross and McManus also made way as Hayley Ladd, Amy Turner and new signing Alissia Russo, making her debut just four days after completing her move, entered the fray.

The changes seemed to spark United into life almost immediately, although it was two of the starters, rather than the substitutes, who combined. Hanson teased a cross into the area and notched her second assist of the game as Toone beat Hampton with a half-volley.

Hanson traded creating goals for scoring them just before the half-hour mark, when she connected with Jackie Groenen's ball from the byline to make it 4-2, and again in the 80th minute after Russo won the ball inside the box and teed her up for the final flourish. In fact, Hanson might have had a hat-trick had Hampton not earlier saved her driving effort.

Picking up all three points was the perfect way to build on last weekend's promising opener when the Reds held reigning WSL champions Chelsea to a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Leigh Sports Village.

MATCH DETAILS

United
: Earps, Smith (Okvist 85), McManus (A.Turner 46), M.Turner, Batlle, Groenen, Zelem (Ladd 46), Hanson, Toone, Galton, Ross (Russo 46).

Substitutes not used: Ramsey, Hornby.

Goals:
Ross 5, Zelem 26, Toone 47, Hanson 59, 80 | Walker 14, McManus own goal 26

Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home, away and third kits are available now from United Direct.

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