A pulsating finish in the Manchester derby saw Manchester United and Manchester City split the points in a 2-2 draw, ending City’s defeat in the Super League for women.
Gareth Taylor’s side sought to end a race of three defeats in a row, but were again guilty of misses and some great early chances. Things got worse when Georgia Stanway got a straight red card for a ruthless challenge on Leah Galton (35).
But three minutes later, Man City took the lead when Khadija Shaw (38) nodded home from a fine Demi Stokes post where United only had one shot throughout the first half.
It started to look like luck would not fall United’s way, but they took a quick lead midway through the second half. Lucy Staniforth (72) slipped home after a quick corner before Alessia Russo fired past Karima Taieb (75) to see the hosts in front.
But it didn’t take long for Ellen White to return home in the 79th minute after another inspired Mary Earps save when he saw the Manchester pair play another 2-2 draw at Leigh Sports Village, just as they did in the same match last season.
It sees City record their first points since the opening weekend of the season, though they remain in ninth at four points. United were unable to secure their first derby victory in the WSL and go over Chelsea to third place before the remaining weekend matches.
Prohibition divided into entertaining derby day
It was a competitive start at Leigh Sports Village, and City went close twice in quick succession. Janine Beckie forced a sensational, leaping save from Earps as she deflected Lauren Hemp’s cross into goal. Shortly after, Hemp nodded his own effort on goal, but Maria Thorisdottir was there to head the ball away on the line.
United’s first and only shot of the opening period came only after an hour and a half. Kirsty Hanson picked up the ball along the top of the field and struck, but it was right on Taieb who made a strong save.
But shortly after, Man City were reduced to 10 players after a ruthless challenge from Stanway. Galton had the ball well under control over on the left wing, but City’s midfielder caught her high on the thigh with his studs up after making a very poorly timed tackle. It was an instant red card from the referee that Stanway could not argue with.
Man Utd: Earps (7), Batlle (6), Thorisdottir (7), Mannion (6), Blundell (7), Zelem (7), Greens (7), Russo (7), Galton (7), Hanson (6), Toone (6).
Used subs: Staniforth (7), Ladd (n / a).
Man City: Taieb (6), Stanway (4), Scott (7), Greenwood (7), Stokes (8), Walsh (6), Angeldahl (7), Weir (7), Beckie (7), Hamp (8), Shaw (6).
Used subs: White (7), Park (6), Coombs (n / a).
Player of the match: Lauren Hamp.
The broadcast seemed to galvanize City and they took the lead in the 38th minute. After some good play around the area, Stokes whipped a wonderful cross and Shaw was there – who had all too easily turned past former City defender Aoife Mannion – to nod the ball past Earps.
The visitors should have added another one at halftime. Stokes fired a wonderfully long ball into the box on the left wing for Hemp. She easily cut past Ona Batlle – as she did for much of the first half – but Filippa Angeldahl could not turn it home at the far post.
- United made a change from their 2-0 win over Birmingham last weekend. Lucy Staniforth was the replacement. Kirsty Hanson was the replacement.
- Man City made two changes after defeating West Ham. Ellen White and Jess Park fell to the bench, with Georgia Stanway and Khadija Shaw entering the side.
United did not see luck breaking their way early in the second half. Galton was mistakenly marked offside – reflecting a similar incident in the first minutes of the match – before being fouled inside the area by Jill Scott. It was an uncharacteristically bad challenge from the midfielder who has played in central defense for City over the last few weeks, but it went unnoticed by the officials and no penalty was awarded.
But soon the goals began to flow as United took a quick lead. It was a quick corner that caught City where Hannah Blundell found Ella Toone right in front of her. The striker flooded the ball in and found the newly introduced Staniforth on the nearest post. She then threw the ball home at close range to see United level.
Three minutes later the hosts were in front. Blundell was vital in building again and sent a post from the left. Russo waited in the middle and used her body to shield the ball well as she formed to shoot before shooting home with a wonderful half volley.
But for all their problems this season, City were not ready to be beaten and equalized themselves in the 79th minute. Jess Park had been on for just a few minutes, but her fluid effort from range forced Earps to yet another flying save and pushed the ball onto the crossbar. But in landing inside the six-yard field and with an open goal, White lured to tap home and secure a point.
Player of the Match – Lauren Hemp
There has been a lot of pressure on Hemp during the recent injury crisis at City, and she proved why she is one of England’s most exciting talents. She repeatedly beat Ona Batlle on the left wing, and was unlucky not to score herself. But everything City did well in the attack, she was involved in, and it was a superb performance from Hamp.
She told BBC Sport after the match: “I’m so proud of how we turned it around. We have not really been in shape the last few weeks. Today we showed the quality this team has. That’s what you want in Manchester derbies. We has done it justice.
“We have shown how well we can play with 10 players. It was important that we came back from the latest results. I hope this can be the turning point. This is just the beginning for us.”
What the leaders said
Man Utd manager Marc Skinner told BBC Sport: “We were disappointed with the way we admitted, but then we showed our personality. But we are in a process here and I can only ask them to continue building, we should have taken three points and we can learn of.
“We had to be patient and move the ball a little faster. There are details that need to be there in these matches. I was much more pleased with what we did in the second half.
“We have a wonderful foundation to build from, but we have to build it in a way I know we can move forward in this league. We get to the place we need to be, but we just need to be patient. .
“We have to get these psychological struggles, the struggles that will hopefully get you where you want to be.”
Man City manager Gareth Taylor told BBC Sport: “If it had been 11 against 11, I’m pretty sure we would have won it.
“It was a roller coaster in a game. When you potentially stare at a 2-1 loss, it’s reluctantly a reasonable point.
“The broadcast is going to affect us. I was really close. I thought it was a yellow card. I hear it was a little loud. I have to see it again.
“I thought we showed great character, determination and spirit. I thought the girls did great in that regard.”
Man Utd are in the Women’s League Cup promotion on Thursday when they take on Durham. They return to the Women’s Super League action on Sunday, November 7, when they travel to Tottenham; kick-off 14.00.
Man City have a number of cup matches on the way – they will face Everton in their Women’s League Cup match on Wednesday, before taking on Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday 31 October. They return to WSL action on Sunday, November 7, when they face Leicester; kick-off 14.00.