- Katie Zelem had given United the lead from the penalty spot before City struck
- Jill Rood and Lauren Hemp scored 80 seconds apart to put City ahead in game
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Manchester United had waited five years to host their first derby at Old Trafford. But when the moment finally arrived, it was City who grasped it.
Fom Chloe Kelly riling the home fans, to Lauren Hemp knee-sliding in front of Sir Alex Ferguson stand, this was a day that the blue half of Manchester will remember – and one the Reds will want to forget.
The pressure had been on City after back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Brighton. No team has ever won the WSL with more than two losses in a season and boss Gareth Taylor had admitted they needed to go the rest of the campaign unbeaten to be in with a chance.
It had looked as if any chance of a title challenge was slipping away when Katie Zelem put United ahead with a 21st minute penalty. But City fought back, with goals from Jill Rood, Hemp and Shaw earning them a victory they more than deserved.
‘We knew tonight was important,’ Taylor said. ‘We really fought back well, the character of our team is fantastic and the result puts us in a really good position now.
Man City beat rivals United 3-1 with Lauren Hemp (left) and Khadija Shaw (right) both netting
Katie Zelem gave United the lead from the penalty spot before City scored twice in 80 seconds
Laia Aleixandri was sent off with 18 minutes remaining but City managed to hold on for the win
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‘It’s fantastic for the girls to be able to come here and celebrate.’
United only had themselves to blame for allowing City back into the game through sloppy defending and this defeat means they are now seven points behind leaders Chelsea.
‘There is a clear gap [between United and Chelsea] we’ve got to deal with that fact,’ United boss Marc Skinner said.
‘The goals we conceded were not good enough and not like us.
‘If you want to win things, you have to be better than that. When you lose you have to face it, you can’t hide from it.’
Converting their chances has been a recurring problem for City – they failed to score despite taking 35 shots against Brighton – and it looked as if they would be plagued by the same issue again here when Shaw was played through on goal but fired straight at Mary Earps.
Two minutes after that chance, United took the lead. Melvine Malard found space on the right and when she cut in to shoot, her effort was blocked by the outstretched hand of Alex Greenwood. It was a stonewall penalty and Zelem, United’s captain, stepped up and fired into the left corner of the net.
The hosts thought they had doubled their lead on the half hour mark when Geyse finished past Khiara Keating but the assistant referee believed the ball had gone out of play in the build-up. It was impossible to tell from the replays but the decision proved to be crucial as City went up the other end to twice in 79 seconds.
Converting chances has been a problem for City but they clicked into gear on Sunday evening
Poor defending saw City score their third, with Mary Earps’ clearance charged down by Shaw
Kelly drove down the left and shrugged off Lisa Naalsund to cut back for Rood, who fired into the bottom left corner. Eighteen seconds after the re-start, City were ahead.
United played themselves into trouble from a goal-kick as Shaw caught Zelem in possession. The midfielder got back to block the striker’s effort but the ball dropped to Hemp, who fired a phenomenal strike into the top left corner.
United did not learn from their first half errors as yet another slip up at the back gifted City a third. Maya Le Tissier under-hit a back-pass to Earps and the goalkeeper’s clearance was charged down by Shaw, with the ball ricocheting off the striker and into an empty net.
A moment of madness from Laia Aleixandri in the 71st minute threatened to undo City’s good work when the defender was shown a second yellow card for a cynical trip on Lucia Garcia. But despite a late onslaught of pressure, City’s 10 players held on to inflict a first home defeat on their rivals in over a year.
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Manchester United (4-3-3): Earps 5, Blundell 4, Le Tissier 5, Turner 5, Galton 6, Zelem 6, Naalsund 5 (Williams 77), Toone 6 (Miyazawa 77), Parris 5 (Riviere 45), Geyse 6, Mallard 6.5 (Garcia 68, 6)
Subs not used: Tullis-Joyce, Middleton-Patel, Ladd, Evans
Goals: Zelem 21
Manager: Marc Skinner 5
Manchester City (4-3-3): Keating 7, Aleixandri 6, Kennedy 7, Greenwood 6.5, Ouahabi 6, Hasegawa 7 (Houghton 83), Angeldahl 6.5, Roord 8, Kelly 9 (Coombs 83), Hemp 8, Shaw 7 (Casparij 75, 6)
Subs not used: MacIver,, Fowler, Castellanos, Morgan, Park, Blakstad
Sent off: Aleixandri
Goals: Roord 34, Hemp 35, Shaw 55
Manager: Gareth Taylor 7
Referee: Cheryl Foster 7