Manchester United Women celebrate a goal during the 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Leigh Sports Village

United Women 3 Tottenham Women 0

Manchester United leapfrogged last season's Championship rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Women's Super League on Sunday afternoon, thanks to a fine 3-0 victory in misty conditions at Leigh Sports Village.

Katie Zelem continued her great run of form as the catalyst in midfield, providing two goals and an assist, while Jess Sigsworth was also on target to help her side secure all three points.

A dominant, possession-controlling performance from Casey Stoney’s side limited the Lilywhites' attacks at the other end and the only blemish on the afternoon's proceedings was the red card awarded to Ella Toone in the final moments of the game.

Millie Turner, Jackie Groenen and Leah Galton all returned to the United starting eleven as Ella Toone, Martha Harris and Kirsty Hanson moved to the bench after Wednesday night’s Continental League Cup win over Brighton.

It was clear from the start that the midfield trio of Galton, Groenen and Zelem were dangerous and they soon began to cause problems for the away side. Groenen found Zelem with a crossfield pass, and in turn, the United captain delivered a ball to Galton at the back post but her header was straight at the keeper.
Leah Galton shapes to cross from the left wing
Leah Galton shapes to cross the ball from the left wing.
After half an hour, Tottenham registered their first shot on target courtesy of their captain Josie Green who struck the ball from outside the area, forcing Mary Earps into a difficult save. The United goalkeeper retrieved the ball safely despite a collision with a Spurs forward.

Another chance fell to United to open the scoring when the ball arrived at Zelem's feet on the edge of the penalty area but although the skipper calmly set herself before striking the ball, the shot was too tame to trouble Morgan in the Spurs goal. 

On the stroke of half-time, Jane Ross found space in the 18-yard box and her powerful strike directed towards the bottom left corner forced Morgan into pushing the ball wide of the post, for the first corner of the match. The final incident of the half was a yellow card given to Kirsty Smith for a challenge that denied Spurs a counter-attacking opportunity.

As the second half kicked off, the United players continued to put pressure on the Tottenham defence with dangerous crosses being delivered from Sigsworth and Groenen in wide positions, but nobody in a red shirt was able to put the ball in the net.
Just after half-time the best chance of the game fell to Tottenham forward Rianna Dean. A perfectly threaded through-ball from Gemma Davis found Dean in space but the striker couldn’t get the ball past Earps.

Two minutes later, United were provided with the opportunity of opening the scoring after a scuffle in the penalty area resulted in the referee pointing to the spot. Katie Zelem stepped up and slotted away her fourth goal this season.

Both teams looked to the bench early in the second half with Jane Ross being replaced by Kirsty Hanson for United, and Spurs' Angela Addison and Lucy Quinn making way for Kit Graham and Rosella Ayane.

On the hour mark, United grabbed the second goal of the game as a corner was whipped in by Zelem, causing problems for the Spurs defence who struggled to clear and Sigsworth was on hand to prod the ball home. Tottenham almost responded instantly with a quick kick-off and struck the crossbar with an audacious effort from long range.
Katie Zelem scores a penalty against Tottenham
Katie Zelem fired United in front from the penalty spot.
Spurs continued to seek a way back into the game and hit the woodwork for the second time in five minutes when Dean coolly took the ball around the advancing Earps but her left-footed shot towards the open goal struck the post.

Casey Stoney introduced Ella Toone and Martha Harris for defensive insurance in the 70th minute as the pair replaced Millie Turner and Groenen. 

Zelem fired home her second goal of the game in the closing stages. A foul on the edge of the area from Hannah Godfrey saw her name enter the referee’s book and it turned from bad to worse for Tottenham as Zelem lifted the free-kick over the wall and into the back of the net to put the icing on the cake for United.

As the game entered injury time, a red card was shown to Toone by referee Edward Duckworth following a brief flare-up with the Spurs players but this was really only a footnote to a fine afternoon's work for Stoney's Reds.
Jess Sigsworth scores from close range to double Manchester United Women's lead over Tottenham Hotspur
Jess Sigsworth doubled the Reds' lead with a close-range finish.
MATCH DETAILS

United: Earps, Smith, Turner, McManus, Turner (Harris 70), Ladd, Zelem (captain), Groenen (Toone 70), Galton, Ross (Hanson 55), Sigsworth.

Tottenham: Morgan, Green (captain), Godfrey, Percival, Addison (Graham 50), Quinn (Ayane 55), Davison, Neville, Filbey, Dean, Mitchel.

Goals: Zelem 2, Sigsworth

Attendance: 1,846.

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