The game was only the second time the Manchester Derby had been played in the Women’s Super League with the fixture ending 1-0 in Manchester City’s favour in the opening weekend of the 2019/20 season. With Manchester United currently sitting top of the table, 5 points above City, a win was vital for Gareth Taylor’s team.
The game started off brightly for City, who dominated possession and chances. Just 8 minutes in, and City took the lead against their bitter rivals. A corner was swung in by Alex Greenwood and it was failed to be properly cleared by United. The ball bounced out to captain Stephanie Houghton who played the ball back into the box to Chloe Kelly who nipped in front of her defender to hit the back of the net. 1-0 City!
City were all over United early on. Ten minutes after City’s goal, a shot was cleared off the line after Kelly played the ball in resulting in a Sam Mewis shot. The ball fell to Lucy Bronze, in her first ever Manchester Derby, who had a shot which was blocked.
Although not in the statistics, Ellen White had started very well, closing in on United defenders and applying pressure, leaving space for her teammates to press forward into the box.
Another good chance for City came at the halfway stage of the first half. A Greenwood corner again aimed at Mewis who got good connection on a header, but it just went over and onto the roof of the goal.
30 minutes in and Georgia Stanway would be disappointed not to be on the score sheet. She tore up the left-hand side but once she got into the box, she took one touch too many which made a save easier for United keeper Mary Earps.
United managed to get past the City defence and almost landed themselves a good opportunity. Ellie Roebuck sensed the danger and came out to clear the ball and leave United frustrated.
Another stunning corner from Greenwood from the right to Houghton who was on the back post, but she just can’t connect with the header and the ball sails over.
Injury time in the first half and City had what they deserve! Kelly looked offside as a ball was played through to her, but nothing given, Kelly to Mewis who had a shot which was blocked and fell to Laura Coombs. She hit it from just inside the area and it flew past Earps who did not move. 2-0 Blues!
United started the second half much keener than City and it was proven. Less than ten minutes into the second half United had their goal. They were pressing high and this resulted in a mistake from Bronze who played the ball straight to United’s Tobin Heath who crunched the ball and gave Roebuck no chance. 1-2.
City could have put themselves two up again with a chance for White. She was just a couple of yards out but lifted the ball over the bar. City not clinical enough again. Another opportunity went amiss for Gareth Taylor’s side. Greenwood played the ball into the path of Stanway who on the stretch put the ball inches wide just after the hour mark.
Mewis with some last ditch defending blocked a shot from Millie Turner. The resulting corner and United had an equaliser. Roebuck made an impressive side from the corner, but it was straight back into the danger area and to Kirsty Hanson who finished it cleanly. 2-2 with just over 15 minutes to play.
City’s first substitution saw White leaving the field to be replaced by Janine Beckie. A second substitution minutes later and Coombs was off for Caroline Weir.
A last-minute substitution for the Blues and Stanway was replaced by the impressive youngster Jess Park.
Final chance of the game came for the home side. Another good delivery from the corner and Demi Stokes was there to clear the ball off the line. A point would have to do for Taylor’s side despite being 2-0 up at half time.
Final Score: 2-2