Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Gareth Taylor was potentially 15 minutes from the sack. His City team was 2-1 down in the Manchester derby and on the verge of a fourth defeat in a row before Ellen White saved a draw.

How valuable that point could be at the end of the season. City’s injuries are well documented and they were still without nine first-team players on Saturday.

Taylor has come under increasing pressure since City crashed out of the Champions League at the qualifying stage last month and the results in the league have not been better.

Gareth Taylor was on the verge of being sacked when Manchester City fell behind rivals United

Gareth Taylor was on the verge of being sacked when Manchester City fell behind rivals United

Would the club have been tempted to fire their manager if White had not been in the right place at the right time to press the equalizer?

City are not known for making surprising decisions and have put a lot of faith in the coaches who have come through their academy.

Taylor has undoubtedly gained some leeway, and given the difficulties he has faced at the start of the season, he deserves to be cut down a bit.

The match his team showed suggests they are playing for him and can turn their season around.

City had to play with 10 players for 55 minutes after Georgia Stanway was sent off for a ruthless challenge against Leah Galton.

Ellen White saved her manager with a late equalizer as the players continued to fight for their boss

Ellen White saved her manager with a late equalizer as the players continued to fight for their boss

The English international has been forced to fill in at right-back since injuries to Lucy Bronze and Esme Morgan and her wiped tackle were signs a midfielder was playing in defense.

Stanway is not the only one who has been forced to play out of position, with Jill Scott a provisional center-back along with left-back Alex Greenwood.

Demi Stokes is the only member of the defense who plays in his natural position.

Summer signing Alanna Kennedy has not played since she was revealed in the 5-0 shirt by Arsenal. She was not eligible for the FA Cup match with Leicester and has not been able to win her place back from midfielder Scott, who Taylor says is on the side of her experience and leadership.

‘She’s an amazing character, she’s one that the girls attract,’ Taylor said.

‘Alanna and Ruby (Mace) are not doing much wrong and it was an opportunity to play one of them but I could not consider taking Jill out of the team. She showed good leadership. It’s a foreign position for Jill, but having her there for her leadership in the team has helped massively. ‘

Midfielder Jill Scott has moved back to central defense to fill in and add some experience

Midfielder Jill Scott has moved back to central defense to fill in and add some experience

Given all of City’s problems and their form that went into the derby, this seemed like a perfect opportunity for United to get their first Super League win for women over their rivals – but it was one they were unable to to take.

Two goals in four minutes from Lucy Staniforth and Alessia Russo saw them go 2-1 ahead after Khadija Shaw opened the scoring for City in the first half. But the visitors were just four minutes later when White knocked in after Mary Earps had tipped Jess Park’s thunderous shot at the bar.

So where does this leave Marc Skinner’s page? The goal is still third place and secures the important Champions League place. They are six points ahead of City, but a win would have given them the psychological advantage.

‘It’s a missed opportunity in terms of three points, but it’s a step forward in terms of mentality and experience together,’ Skinner said.

Manchester City are fighting close to the bottom of the WSL, but they can start a revival

Manchester City are fighting close to the bottom of the WSL, but they can start a revival

‘There is a little disappointment, but to return and put ourselves in the (winning) position shows very positive.’

United will hope they are not going to let the victory slip. This was undoubtedly a better point for City than for them.

‘We showed great spirit,’ Taylor said. ‘To return as we did shows all about this group of players at the moment.’

There may still be lights at the end of the tunnel for the City boss and his team.

WSL rounding

Arsenal made it five wins from five games as goals from Katie McCabe, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Frida Maanum drove them to a 3-0 win over Everton. The Gunners took the lead in the 32nd minute when McCabe fired in a fantastic volley.

Wubben-Moy snatched a second before half-time as she headed home from a corner before Maanum added a third late in the second half. That leaves Arsenal three points ahead of Tottenham, who suffered their first defeat of the season at Brighton.

Lee Geum-min unleashed a swerving effort from the right that the visitors’ keeper did well to tip wide. Spurs then got Rachel Williams sent off before Victoria Williams added another four minutes from time. Kit Graham pulled back a goal, but the hosts held on for three points.

Arsenal have maintained their control over the WSL by beating Everton 3-0 against five wins in a row

Arsenal have maintained their control over the WSL by beating Everton 3-0 against five wins in a row

Chelsea moved up to second on goal difference with a 2-0 win over Leicester. Blues had to wait until the 83rd minute for their first goal, where Pernille Harder converted from inside the box. Fran Kirby finished off a counterattack to make it 2-0.

Reading got their first point of the season when they struck Aston Villa 3-0. All three goals came in the first half with Amalie Eikeland, Rachel Rowe and Natasha Dowie on goal.

Birmingham is also out of the mark after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with West ham. Claudia Walker opened the scoring in the 54th minute against her former club after a solo run resulted in a finish in the top corner before Louise Quinn bundled home on a corner.

Five pages – KATHRYN BATTE

1: Everton boss Willie Kirk says he ‘massively encourages’ his players to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and revealed that the majority of his team have been double-edged. ‘We are not 100 percent, but we are very close to it, some of them are for temporal reasons,’ he said. ‘It’s bad enough to take a few punches, even though you’re missing players through Covid.’

2: Former English international Fern Whelan has been named the first leader in gender equality, diversity and inclusion in women’s football. Whelan, who played for Everton, Liverpool, Notts County and Brighton, told BBC Sport: ‘I want to make sure WSL is at the top of its game compared to the men. Everything they get, we should get. That similarity is massive. ‘

3: Seven players from WSL have been nominated for the women’s Ballon d’Or. Chelsea have five nominees: Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder, Magdalena Eriksson and Jessie Fleming. Manchester City’s Ellen White and Arsenal’s Vivianne Midema make up the shortlist.

4: A crowd of 4,000 people watched Liverpool beat Sheffield United 2-0 at Bramall Lane on Saturday, setting a record for attendance at a women’s championship match. While they were unable to give their home fans anything to cheer about, the Blades deserve great credit for their promotion of the game, and others would do well to follow their example.

5: England legends Fara Williams, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey and Chelsea boss Emma Hayes are the first to be inducted into the WSL’s Hall of Fame, which was created to mark the league’s 10th anniversary. Hayes has collected more victories than any manager in WSL history and has won three titles.

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