Man United go fourth after 2-0 win over Birmingham

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Manchester United got back to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Birmingham City to send them up to fourth in the Women’s Super League table.

Goals from Leah Galton and Ella Toone condemned the Blues to defeat, but they didn’t make it easy for Marc Skinner on his return to the West Midlands.

Solid defending kept Birmingham in it for much of the game, but they struggled to fashion many chances of their own. Aside from a fantastic opportunity for Lucy Quinn early in the first half.

Man United kept knocking, eventually getting their reward with a goal either side of half-time.

Starting XIs

Birmingham City: Ramsey; Scott, Quinn (c), Lawley, Holloway, Whipp, Robertson, Finn, Pennock, Sarri, Quinn

Manchester United: Earps; Batlle, Thorisdottir, Mannion, Blundell, Zelem (c), Staniforth, Groenen, Toone, Galton, Russo

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First Half

United saw a lot of possession from the off, and it almost paid off when some good work from Jackie Groenen fashioned an early offside chance for the lively Alessia Russo.

Soon after came Birmingham’s best chance of the game as Lucy Quinn received the ball in front of an almost open goal. Jade Pennock produced some fantastic work to skip past Groenen in the middle and send it wide to Lucy Whipp.

The winger cut it back for Quinn waiting in the box, but an unfortunate slip sent the shot rolling wide.

Birmingham were left to rue their missed opportunity as United continued to create plenty of chances in the final third. They were often denied only by skipper Louise Quinn’s impressive defending.

However, in the 26th minute, the visitors found their breakthrough. Hannah Blundell made a driving run down the left to beat her defender and pull it back to Galton.

The forward slid in to poke the ball past Emily Ramsey into the bottom right corner for her first goal of the season.

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Second Half

Birmingham began the second half with a renewed energy following two changes at the break.

Both sides had chances in a fairly even start to the half. Pennock’s shot on the turn needed the gloves of Mary Earps before Groenen tried her luck from range.

However, the best opportunity of the bunch fell to Toone. The England international’s shot clipped the inside of the post after a great run to break away from two Blues defenders.

United’s pressure did eventually pay off. Toone got the goal her performance deserved in the 80th minute. A one-two with Katie Zelem gave Blundell the space to send a cross in, and her resulting low ball across the box found the run of Toone, who made no mistake to poke it home from close range.

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It was an ideal response from the Reds after last week’s 6-1 loss to Chelsea and ahead of a looming Manchester Derby.

Despite the loss to United, there were plenty of positives to take for Birmingham City and Scott Booth.

“I’m pleased with aspects of how we are progressing, but I’d like to see us be more clinical and make better decisions in the final third,” Booth said.

“We need to use the time we have got to keep moving forward, keep looking at the things we aren’t doing well enough and to work on them on the training pitch.”

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