Marc Skinner’s side came into the derby at the back of a 1-0 defeat to City in the Super League and they had picked up draws against Arsenal and Chelsea before that too. Confidence had not been high, as their last win in all competitions came at the end of January against Bridgwater United.
Martha Thomas returned to the starting line-up, as she started upfront. Jackie Groenen and Katie Zelem started in the double pivot in the heart of the park, with Ella Toone, Alessia Russo and Leah Galton starting behind Thomas too. Diane Caldwell started at centre-back once again.
It was essentially a second-half show from City that blew United away but the Reds did take an early lead in the first half.
City had the first attempt on goal, as Ellen White fired straight at United stopper Mary Earps. United did have a golden chance to take the lead about three minutes later, as Zelem’s deflected corner found Maria Thorisdottir but the header went just over the bar.
Three minutes later, Toone had a brilliant effort from a tight angle saved by City stopper Ellie Roebuck. The resulting corner though, brought the first goal for the Reds as Zelem scored directly from a corner as her shot curled below the left post.
After the goal, United sought to defend deeper and in a compact shape and they managed to keep City at bay, denying them any clear goalscoring chance till the 42nd minute when Vicky Losada’s corner found Lucy Bronze, whose shot did go over but it skimmed the post on the way.
City began the second half in a much better way and got an equaliser five minutes into the second-half. Australian Hayley Raso, who had come on for the second half, set up White after a good run. White missed a golden chance but Laren Hemp was at the back post to convert.
Eight minutes later, Hannah Blundell’s attempt to head a loose ball back to Earps failed as her pass proved to have limited power. White picked up the loose ball, rounded Earps and slotted home for City.
Only a couple of minutes later, City all but sealed the deal. Earps’ error brought about the goal as she allowed Weir’s shot to slip under her and it trickled in.
United had lost control of possession and of the game by then and City trebled their lead in the 79th minute. Substitutes Julie Blakstad and Khadija Shaw were involved, minutes after having come on in the game. The Norwegian’s shot blazed right at Earps, who did parry it but it fell right at Shaw’s feet and the Jamaican rolled it in for City’s fourth.
It was City’s second win over United in February and the Reds have not beaten the Citizens only once since November of 2020. United’s next game sees them take on Leicester City, who are at 10th in the Super League table.