Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City: Stoney's side mount comeback

Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City: Casey Stoney’s side mount second half comeback as Tobin Heath and Kirsty Hanson goals as Red Devils maintain unbeaten record to stay top of the WSL

  • Manchester United mounted a second half comeback to claim a 2-2 draw 
  • Chloe Kelly and Laura Coombs had given Manchester City a 2-0 lead at half-time
  • But Tobin Heath and Kirsty Hanson equalised for Casey Stoney’s side 
  • The result means United maintain their unbeaten record and stay top of the WSL 

As the cliche goes, it was a game of two halves. In the first, Manchester City looked unstoppable. In the second, it was Manchester United who asserted their dominance.

This was the first Manchester derby in the WSL that United had gone into as favourites. It was City, however, who looked like the team that were top of the table for the first 45 minutes.

United’s summer signing Tobin Heath had stoked the fire on the eve of the match with the US World Cup winner proudly affirming ‘Manchester is Red’ and that City is ‘not a big club’ in an interview with the New York Times. She may have been regretting those comments when City headed into half-time with a 2-0 lead.

Manchester United Women mounted a second half comeback to stay top of the WSL 

Tobin Heath had stoked the fire on the eve of the derby after claiming ‘Manchester is Red’

Manchester City had taken the lead in the ninth minute through Chloe Kelly’s strike

The visitors looked like a team possessed from the first whistle, with Ellen White leading from the front as she and Georgia Stanway charged down the United defence – who were intent on playing out from the back.

It was that desire to play one pass too many that allowed City the corner which led to their opening goal. A loose ball from United ‘keeper Mary Earps was intercepted by White with the striker able to force the set piece.

The hosts failed to clear the ball in from Alex Greenwood as Steph Houghton picked out Chloe Kelly, who pulled out an improvised finish with the outside of her right foot to guide the ball into the top corner.

Kelly produced an improvised finish with the outside of her foot as United failed to clear a corner

Laura Coombs doubled City’s advantage with a stunning strike from the edge of the box

MATCH FACTS

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Earps; Batlle; A Turner; M Turner; Galton; Ladd; Groenen; Sigsworth (Hanson, 45); Toone; Heath (Staniforth, 71); Press (James, 55)

Subs not used: Ramsey; Okvist; Zelem; Ross 

Scorers: Heath 54; Hanson 74

Booked: Press 

Manchester City (4-3-3): Roebuck; Bronze; Houghton; Greenwood; Stokes; Mewis; Walsh; Coombs (Weir, 85); Kelly; White (Beckie, 76); Stanway (Park, 87)

Subs not used: Bardsley; Bonner; Scott; Morgan; Lavelle

Scorers: Kelly 8; Coombs 45+2

Booked: Kelly 

City should have been out of sight before half-time with Stanway, Lucy Bronze and Sam Mewis all letting good opportunities go to waste.

First, Millie Turner blocked a shot from Mewis in the box before her centre back partner Amy Turner threw herself in front of Bronze’s volley.

Stanway was put through on goal in the 30th minute but the forward’s heavy touch allowed Earps to come out and smother the ball at her near post.

United looked a shadow of the team that had knocked Arsenal off the top of the WSL last weekend and City were finally able to double their advantage in the second minute of added time.

Mewis saw another effort blocked in the box but the ball came out to Laura Coombs on the edge of the box. The midfielder unleashed an unstoppable shot which flew into the right-hand corner of the net.

To say United had struggled to live up to Heath’s pre-match comments in the first half would have been kind, but the American took matters into her own hands as she kick-started the hosts’ revival.

Much like their opponents in the first half, City’s desire to play out from the back led to their downfall. A loose ball from Bronze fell to Heath on the left-hand side of the box and the winger took advantage by firing a rocket into the top left-hand corner.

Heath got United back into the game with a rocket of a shot into the top corner after a loose ball at the back from Lucy Bronze

Kirsty Hanson got the equaliser in the 74th minute after City failed to clear from a corner

A little touch of the badge from the 32-year-old signalled it was game on. 

Casey Stoney had made a big call to replace Jess Sigsworth with Kirsty Hanson at half-time but it was one which proved crucial as the substitute repaid her by coming up with the equaliser in the 74th minute.

A United corner led to a goalmouth scramble with Hanson able to fire home at the second attempt after Ellie Roebuck had initially made a fine stop from the midfielder.

United could have claimed all three points had it not been for Demi Stokes’ goal-line clearance in the 89th minute following another dangerous corner.

Stoney admitted her side were ‘not at the races’ in the first half but said she was proud of their reaction in the second half. The United boss was happy Heath could also do her talking on the pitch after igniting the tension before the game.

‘I didn’t see them comments that she made, someone told me. There obviously clearly is two teams in Manchester. That’s obviously the players the players who have been telling her that and she’s very much integrated into the club and into the team.

Casey Stoney admitted her side were not at the races in the first half but said she was proud of her side’s reaction 

‘She’s a very passionate person so when she scores a goal like that, I think the fact that she touches the badge is great.’ 

City boss Gareth Taylor added it was a ‘classic game of two halves’ but admitted there was lessons to be learned after his side allowed the game to slip away from them.

‘We completely dominated the first half, played some great stuff and then didn’t do enough of that in the second period. 

‘I thought we were going to come in 1-0 at half-time then Laura scores a brilliant goal. That was a bonus. Our performance and our opportunities in the first half, we could have been out of sight.’ 




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