Manchester City welcomed their neighbours to a sold out Academy Stadium for the Manchester Derby on Sunday afternoon.
The past six meetings have seen the blue half of the city claim victory three times, with the Red Devils winning the most recent meeting in November in the League Cup. The attendance for the tie was 5,317 — a record for the Man City at home.
To celebrate the occasion, the Sky Blues came away with all three points thanks to a spectacular Caroline Weir goal.
Roebuck; Stokes, Greenwood, Stanway, Hemp, Park (Raso ’83), Losada (Weir ’75), White (c), Bronze, Walsh, Kennedy.
Earps; Thorisdottir, Blundell, Toone, Boe Risa (Thomas ’64), Zelem (c), Ladd, Caldwell, Bruun (Fuso ’90), O Battle, Russo (Hanson ’78).
How it wentEmbed from Getty Images
It was Manchester City who got the game underway as fans continued to pour into the Academy stadium. Despite the hosts enjoying the majority of the early possession, it was their defence who was called into action first.
United were awarded an early free-kick that led to a corner — the first real chance of the tie came from an excellent passage of play.
Just moments later and City’s young star Lauren Hemp almost found the opener but she struggled to bring the ball under control in front of goal.
The game continued with chances at both ends, however none were enough for the opening goal. The 18th minute brought yet another chance for City as Hemp’s cross flashed dangerously in front of Mary Earps. The No. 27 however was quick to the danger, denying Ellen White an easy tap in.
The opening 25 minutes were dominated by Man City’s young forwards as United struggled to contain the pace of Georgia Stanway, Jess Park and Hemp.
It was once again Hemp causing issues for the visitors as the forward used her formidable pace to leave United’s defence standing. In the end the No.15’s shot flashed just wide as City continued to press their near rivals.
The hosts had more chances as they searched for the opener as half-time drew closer. A lengthy stoppage was needed as Alex Greenwood required treatment on the pitch. The City defender had been wearing a protective mask after suffering a facial injury, however a collision with Signe Bruun left the defender in obvious pain.Embed from Getty Images
Within the opening minutes of the second half, City had several chances, however none were enough to beat Earps and her defence. It was Park who had arguably the best chance of the game so far. The No.16’s shot almost snuck in the bottom corner of Earps’ goal but the United keeper managed to contain the danger smothering the ball.
Almost instantly after the chance, United seemed to come to life. Ella Toone launched a solo attack, forcing Roebuck into the save. City’s push for the opener only became more relentless as the second half progressed.
As the game entered its final 15 minutes, it became increasingly obvious that the first goal could well be the winner. The opener came in the 81st minute in a way that is becoming typical for the Manchester Derby.
A wonder goal from Weir left United stunned as Earps was powerless to stop the ball thundering into her goal. The game ended with the Scot’s strike once again the only thing separating the two sides.Embed from Getty Images
Stand out player
Lauren Hemp has no shortage of admirers within football fans. The 21-year-old is renowned for her pace and work ethic, however it’s hard to describe how important the youngster is in Gareth Taylor’s team.
With City eight points behind the league leaders with eight games to go, Hemp’s talent will be vital for the Blues to secure a top three finish.
Post match thoughts
Marc Skinner noted that his team weren’t as fluid as they needed to be. He was also clearly unhappy with the refereeing, claiming he believed that Abigail Byrne had been unfairly biased against his side.
While the United head coach admitted their opponents had enjoyed the majority of possession, he disagreed with the idea that his team had simply wanted the win less.
The Blues manager was delighted by his team’s performance against their nearest rivals. Taylor stated he felt his squad had got the result they had deserved. Reflecting on Weir’s goal, he was clearly impressed.
Taylor explained that he believed the finish was better than the one Weir had scored in the fixture almost exactly one year ago.