Marc Skinner’s side came into the game following a penalty shootout loss to Durham in the FA WSL Cup, but they had tied the game 2-2 in normal time thanks to goals from Jade Moore and Vilde Boe Risa.
The duo was on the bench in the trip to Everton though, as United started without Ona Batlle and had Hannah Blundell at right-back. Maria Thorisdottir kept her place at left-back after a good performance against Leicester City. Hayley Ladd started in midfield beside Katie Zelem, days after not doing the same against the Foxes.
Skinner had reverted to a one-striker shape, with Nikita Parris starting upfront. Ella Toone, Leah Galton and Lucia Garcia started behind Parris, with the Spaniard starting on the left and Galton operating on the right. Parris was taking on her former club, having been in impressive form due to goals against the Foxes and Aston Villa.
United had an early chance to take the lead in the fifth minute. Lucia Garcia had made a run down the flank with Everton holding a very high line. The Spaniard neatly set up Toone, whose shot was saved well by Everton stopper Courtney Brosnan.
Everton used a higher line for a fair amount of time early on, allowing United’s front four a lot of space to run into and exploit. But United’s opener was a rather soft one, as the Toffees lost the ball in a sloppy way while building from the back. It allowed Zelem to cross in for Galton at the far post and she set up Parris using a header for an easy tap-in for the goal.
Everton continued to press high up the pitch in a zonal manner though, keen on picking up possession in central areas. They nearly drew level a couple of minutes later, as Gabrielle George had made an excellent run down the left-flank and after cutting inside, she was allowed to take a shot away that was saved by Mary Earps.
As the weather grew more overcast, Everton grew into the game by the end of the first-half. Agnes Beever-Jones had a shot blocked and even had a handball call waved away by the referee but despite succeeding in winning the ball higher up the pitch more often, the Toffees couldn’t break United down before the end of the first half.
Early on in the 2nd half, United had a golden chance to double their lead. It came on the break, as Parris set up Toone. But her shot deflected just past the goal. The Reds did find a second goal in the 55th minute and it came on the break as well.
Ladd managed to find Galton out wide using a long ball and the wide player’s impressive down the left resulted in a right-footed effort. While it wasn’t the strongest of shots, Galton placed it into the bottom corner to double United’s lead.
United put the final nail in the coffin some minutes later, thanks to a brilliant strike by Ladd. Parris was involved again as while staying in a deeper areas centrally, she played in Garcia on the right but a deflection from an Everton defender put the ball in the path of Ladd, who curled it into the top corner from outside the box.
Alessia Russo was brought on later in the game and in the 85th minute, she tried an attempt at curling one into the top corner but the effort was well wide of goal. Despite often dominating in midfield despite the presence of Ladd, United managed to keep the Toffees at bay in what was a resolute performance.
The Reds have not conceded even once in the WSL so far, scoring 14 times in a total of five games. They remain at the top of the table, clear of Arsenal because of a superior goal difference.