Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City: Spoils shared in blood-and-thunder derby as the visitors end a three-game losing run in the WSL… but see Georgia Stanway sent off for a horror challenge
- Manchester City came into the game off the back of three straight league losses
- Georgia Stanway was sent off after a terrible studs-up challenge on Leah Galton
- However, Khadija Shaw’s close-range header gave Gareth Taylor’s side the lead
- Manchester United equalised courtesy of Lucy Staniforth’s clever backheel
- They then got their noses in front through Alessia Russo’s accurate drive
- But Ellen White ensured that City earned a share of the spoils on 79 minutes
Four goals, a red card and a comeback – what more could you want from a Manchester derby?
For arguably the first time in the Women’s Super League, United went into a game with City as the favourites but were held to a 2-2 draw after Ellen White salvaged a point for Gareth Taylor’s threadbare team.
City were looking to end a run of three straight league defeats – their worst record since turning professional in 2014 and were still without nine first-team players.
Ellen White came off the bench just before the hour to earn Manchester City a vital point
Gareth Taylor’s side came into the match off the back of three straight losses in the WSL
It didn’t help that they had to play 55 minutes with 10 players after Georgia Stanway was sent off.
And when they conceded two goals in three minutes to go 2-1 down after Khadija Shaw’s first-half header had put them ahead, it looked as if the pressure would be piling on Taylor.
But the City boss said earlier in the week that this is when you see what people are made of – and his team showed him they have more than enough fight to turn their season around.
‘We’re slightly disappointed that we haven’t won the game,’ said Taylor. ‘We showed great spirit, away from home, a noisy crowd.
‘It was disappointing to be facing no points, but to be able to come back the way we did shows everything about this group of players at the moment.
‘I was delighted with that because you don’t expect a team with 10 to potentially come back in that situation.
‘We’ve probably had more of the play and better chances at 11 v 11 and scored both goals with 10 so it just shows what this team is capable of doing. The effort from every player was fantastic.’
Georgia Stanway was given her marching orders after an awful challenge on Leah Galton
City may have lost more ground on title favourites Arsenal and Chelsea, but defeat here would have put a real dent in their Champions League hopes and given United the advantage in what could be a battle between the two rivals for third spot.
It was the visitors who looked more likely to break the deadlock and the first real chance of the game fell to Janine Beckie in the 13th minute.
Hemp’s fizzing cross from the left wing found the winger in the box, but her goalbound effort was brilliantly kept out by Mary Earps.
Hemp then came close to finding the opener three minutes later when her header looked to be making its way to the top right corner but Maria Thorisdottir was there to head it away.
City responded impressively however and went ahead minutes later through Khadija Shaw
It took United until the 32nd minute to register a shot on target as Kirsty Hanson’s long-range effort was easily held by City goalkeeper Karima Taieb.
City were reduced to 10 in the 35th minute when Stanway was shown red for a dangerous tackle on Leah Galton.
The ball bounced up in front of the United forward and Stanway came flying in with raised studs, making contact with the top of Galton’s thigh and leaving referee Rebecca Welch no option but to send the England international off.
Lucy Staniforth (left) then got the home fans off their seats with a clever close-range backheel
But if anything, that seemed to give City more urgency than United and three minutes later the visitors were ahead.
Demi Stokes’ perfect cross found an unmarked Shaw and she guided her header past Earps at the near post.
It was nearly 2-0 just before half-time when Hemp got away from Ona Batlle and fired in a cross which just evaded Filippa Angeldahl, who was sliding in at the back post.
Hemp was causing problems again at the start of the second half. The winger powered down the left and fired a shot down the throat of Earps, but the United ‘keeper was able to push her effort over the bar. At the other end, Ella Toone saw a long-range shot pushed away by Taieb.
MATCH FACTS FROM LEIGH SPORTS VILLAGE
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): Earps; Blundell, Mannion, Thorisdottir, Battle; Zelem, Groenen (Ladd 85); Hanson (Staniforth 67), Toone, Galton; Russo.
Subs not used: Baggaley, Harris, Boe Risa, Fuso, Jones.
Goals: Staniforth 72, Russo 75
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Taieb; Stanway, Scott, Greenwood, Stokes; Walsh, Angeldal (Park 76), Weir (Coombs 89); Beckie, Hemp, Shaw (White 59).
Subs not used: Keating, Mace, Kennedy
Goals: Shaw 38, White 79
Sent off: Stanway
Referee: Rebecca Welch
United equalised from a corner in their 2-2 draw with City here last season and the visitors were undone by a set piece again as United found a leveller.
Hannah Blundell played it short to Toone and her cross was cleverly flicked in by substitute Lucy Staniforth.
That shifted the momentum and a quick counter-attack saw United take the lead three minutes later.
The game was turned on its head when Alessia Russo (centre of the hug) drove in from 15 yards
Russo was picked out on the edge of the box by Blundell and she twisted away from Alex Greenwood and Jill Scott to squeeze a finish into the bottom right corner.
City could have let their heads drop but they were straight up the other end looking for an equaliser and they needed only four minutes to find one.
Jess Park’s rocket shot rattled the crossbar before bouncing off Earps and falling kindly for Ellen White to tap-in the rebound.
This was probably the best chance United have had to beat City in the league since their promotion to the WSL and they will hope they don’t come to rue letting three points slip from their grasp later down the line.
But White had the final say as United leapfrogged Chelsea into third spot in the WSL table
‘It’s a missed opportunity in terms of three points, but it’s a step forward in terms of mentality and experience together,’ said United boss Marc Skinner.
‘If you’re winning part of any game you want to win the game, so of course there’s a tinge of that in there, but I must continue to stress the way our team is growing together and what we’re trying to do. I’ve seen steps and strides every single game.
‘So yeah, slight disappointment but a lot of positives to come back and put ourselves in that position.’
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