United Women 5 Birmingham City 0

Saturday 15 January 2022 14:15

Manchester United cruised to a dominant 5-0 win over Birmingham City at Leigh Sports Village in the Women’s Super League.

Marc Skinner's side blew away the visitors in the first half, with an opening strike from Katie Zelem and an own goal by goalkeeper Emily Ramsey coming either side of a Leah Galton brace, to put the Reds 4-0 up at the break.

The second half was more muted, but the Reds added to the goal tally when Alessia Russo powered home a Hannah Blundell cross to cap an impressive United win.

This emphatic victory extends Reds’ winning run in the FA WSL to four matches and lifts them to third place, level on points with second-placed Chelsea.
Reds captain Zelem celebrates after breaking the deadlock.

United began the first half with great urgency, and within the first five minutes, both Vilde Boe Risa and Ella Toone went close. Boe Risa’s shot was saved well by Ramsey - on loan from the Reds to Birmingham - before the visitors cleared Toone’s effort off the line.

After 12 minutes, the hosts were rewarded for the early dominance. Smith and Galton combined well down the left before the latter pulled back for Zelem, who lofted a cool finish over Ramsey and into the far corner. Moments later, a two-minute flurry of action saw Galton grab a brace, with the left winger sliding home Russo’s low cross from the right before converting Toone’s delivery from a similar position.

Skinner’s side showed few signs of slowing as the first half progressed, with Boe Risa seeing another chance denied by Ramsey and Russo’s follow-up being well-blocked by the visitors. But just a minute before the break, the Reds deservedly extended the lead to 4-0. In-form Toone, fresh from her December FA WSL Player of the Month award, unleashed a long-range effort which cannoned off the upright and rather fortuitously rebounded off the back of Ramsey, who could only watch as the ball trickled into the Birmingham net.

The beginning of the second half was quieter than the first, as both sides struggled to create many goalscoring opportunities. United’s first clear-cut chance fell to Galton after 57 minutes, but the winger’s right-footed strike failed to trouble Ramsey.

Just after the hour mark, the visitors almost reduced the deficit when Louise Quinn connected with a volley from the edge of the box following a corner, only to see it crash against the crossbar.

The Reds controlled possession for much of the second half and, on 72 minutes, extended the advantage to 5-0. Substitute Blundell broke down the left before delivering a dangerous cross which Russo headed home powerfully for her fourth WSL goal of the season.

Staunch defending and clinical finishing ensured that Marc Skinner’s side saw out an important victory, extending the winning run to four consecutive games in the league.
Galton slides in to beat club colleague Ramsey to the ball and notch United's second goal.

Earps; Batlle (Thorisdottir 81), Mannion, Turner, Smith (63 Blundell); Ladd (Thomas 63), Zelem (c); Toone, Boe Risa, Galton (Ferreira Fuso 81); Russo (Groenen 77).

Subs not used: Baggaley, Hanson, Jones.

Goals: Zelem 12, Galton 16, 18, Ramsey own goal 44, Russo 72.

Booked: Ladd 25.

Birmingham: Ramsey; Lawley, Quinn (c), Scott, Finn; Sarri (Ryan-Doyle 86’), Murray, Holloway, Pennock (Ewens 76); Smith (Whipp 46), L. Quinn (Whelan 76).

Subs not used: Jones, Cowie, Jenner, Robertson, Worsey, Ryan-Doyle.

It was the perfect start to what promises to be an exciting year for United Women.

Fancy being a part of history? The first-ever United Women's match to be played in front of fans at Old Trafford, against Everton in the WSL, is scheduled for Sunday 27 March 2022 at 12:00 BST. Tickets are on sale now from manutd.com/womenstickets. Date subject to change.