Aston Villa 0 United Women 0
Manchester United Women were held to a goalless draw against Aston Villa on Sunday evening, but still reclaimed third spot in the WSL from Manchester City who beat Leicester City 4-0 earlier in the day.
In what was a cagey affair throughout at Walsall's Banks's Stadium, Ella Toone was presented with an early chance to break the deadlock, with Villa keeper Sian Rogers forced to deny her.
Martha Thomas was then gifted with a golden opportunity of her own at the beginning of the second 45 minutes, with her right-footed effort going agonisingly close, after Leah Galton had done brilliantly to square for the Scotland international.
While City have three games left to play, the Reds only have two - the first of these is next weekend's home clash with West Ham United.
Ella Toone was the first United player to test Sian Rogers early on, as the England international managed to sneak her shot away following some clever build-up from the Reds.
After nine minutes, Rogers again thwarted United, as the 23-year-old denied Thomas when the forward appeared to be clean through on goal. Toone produced a follow-up effort but her attempt was cleared.
The Villans began to grow into the encounter, and forward Emily Gielnik gave Mary Earps her first action in the United goal.
With the hosts bidding to frustrate Marc Skinner’s side as the first half wore on, mistakes began to creep in as Villa threatened to dent United’s hopes of regaining that all-important third spot.
Alessia Russo and Toone linked up cleverly with 35 minutes gone, but the Reds’ top scorer blasted her shot at Anita Asante, who cleared once more.
Hannah Blundell’s lofted effort rounded off the first-half action, with work still to be done in the West Midlands during the second 45 minutes.
United should have opened the scoring just two minutes into the second half, as Galton burst forward down the right before squaring for Thomas, with her goal-bound effort unfortunately flashing wide of the target.
With tension beginning to rise as the hour mark passed by, Toone’s tame headed effort failed again to cause Rogers any real danger.
Alisha Lehmann's free-kick from 25 yards out again was easily collected by Earps, with Skinner’s side having to work hard in their own bid to find the game’s opening goal.
Thomas turned provider with 15 minutes remaining, as she lay the ball into the path of Toone during a swift counter attack. Rogers pushed her effort out for a corner, which again unfortunately come to no avail.
United substitute Lucy Staniforth threatened to open the deadlock with just minutes remaining, as she battled well to win the ball and win the Reds a corner.
As the game edged ever closer to its conclusion, Katie Zelem tested her luck from range, but the score remained level and the spoils were shared.
The Reds remain third in the WSL table, with just two games remaining until the completion of the 21/22 campaign.
Reds held by VillansGallery
United were forced to share the points following our goalless draw with Aston Villa.
Villa: Rogers; Mayling, Corsie, Asante, Pacheco; Blindkilde, Allen (McLoughlin, 84), Littlejohn; Petzelberger, Gielnik (Hayles, 66), Lehmann (Boye-Hlorkah, 66).
Subs not used: Sargeant, Arthur, Hutton, Draper, O. Rabjohn, E. Rabjohn.
United: Earps; Batlle, Ladd, Thorisdottir, Blundell; Zelem (c), Groenen (Boe Risa, 69); Thomas, Toone, Galton; Russo (Staniforth, 69).
Subs not used: Baggaley, Harris, Moore, F-Fuso, Caldwell, Hanson, Smith.