City put their stamp on first WSL Manchester derby

Etihad stadium, derby day. Source: Daily Express

Manchester United produced a valiant derby display, but lost in a narrow defeat to local rivals Manchester City at the Etihad. 

In their debut Women’s Super League fixture and in front of a record crowd of 31,213, new captain Katie Zelem led her team out for the first ever WSL Manchester derby. 

United got off to a strong start, with former City player Jane Ross almost giving them the lead through a close-range strike. Goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck did well to palm away the chance and keep the scoreline goalless.

The Red Devils continued in similar fashion as Leah Galton sliced in from the wing but saw her long rage effort fly just over. 

Less than 15 minutes in, Mary Earps went down following a challenge moments earlier. After being tended to, she carried on for the rest of the game, albeit looking quite uncomfortable.

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United created more chances as Jess Sigsworth almost converted an opportunity set up by a ball over the top from Ross. Once again Roebuck was there to smother the danger. 

The first half ended 0-0 with Man United arguably looking the more creative side.

However, minutes into the second half, Zelem failed to clear her lines as the ball fell to City’s Caroline Weir. The Scotland international struck the ball with her left foot and buried the shot from outside the box.

Weir’s stunner of a goal would prove to be the winner, but the Reds still showed their attacking intent. Late into the second half, new signing Jackie Groenen hit the post with a deflected shot, inches from equalising for her side.

A Look at the New Signings

Heading into the game, Casey Stoney handed debuts to six new signings. Earps started her first game in goal and got a taste of what’s to come for the rest of the season.

Latest signing Lotta Okvist and Wales international Hayley Ladd slotted in as full-backs. Groenen made for a strong partner to Ella Toone and Zelem in the middle of the park.

Former City player Abbie McManus also made her debut in Stoney’s new look defence. 

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City’s squad would miss out on the services of Ellen White who is sidelined due to injury.

Aoife Mannion – who joined from Birmingham – made her debut at right-back and put in a solid shift.

Lee Geum-Min also made a substitute appearance to tally her first for her new club.

The Next Challenge

While Weir’s goal pipped the win for City, Man United can look back at this game and take away a lot of positives.

Overall the girls looked unflappable in possession and did well to keep City’s attack at bay. The newly promoted Reds have already shown what they’re capable of in their first top-flight game.

Their attacking intent was shown throughout the game. Stoney will look thrive on this going into the next match against Arsenal.

The reigning WSL champions will travel to Leigh Sports Village to take on Man United. Meanwhile City look towards their first Champions League match against FC Lugano.