Marc Skinner’s Manchester United picked up a solid 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Leigh Sports Village, thereby cutting the gap with the top three in the Super League.
United were in search of their second win in a row in the league after their 2-1 win over Aston Villa. The loss to Chelsea had seriously damaged their shot at finishing inside the top three, but with many games to go, clinging onto hope remains within the club’s grasp.
And the game against Brighton saw Skinner field Lisa Naalsund for the third time in a row, as she had started against Villa and Manchester City in the FA Cup. Katie Zelem started beside her in the double pivot, with the rest of the United XI rather familiar.
The back four consisted of Jayde Riviere, Maya le Tissier, Millie Turner and Hannah Blundell, with Mary Earps keeping her spot. Geyse started on the right, with Nikita Parris starting upfront, Lucia Garcia starting on the left and Ella Toone starting in the attacking midfield spot.
The game started slowly, perhaps mirroring the whole game in general. Both sides, in their hunt to keep possession, couldn’t really dominate it fully.
Geyse tested Brighton from the right in the 7th minute after Lisa Naalsund found loads of space in midfield and played in the Brazilian on the right. But Geyse’s shot only yielded a corner, which United couldn’t make much of.
But a couple of minutes later, United did take the lead and Gyese was involved. The Brazilian did brilliantly to glide past two players on the right before setting up Parris, who tapped home from close range.
In a similar passage of play close to the 45th minute mark, Toone had a brilliant chance to make it 2-0 and the chance came through Geyse’s another blistering run on the right. She played a pass in for Toone, who somehow missed her attempt as it went wide of goal.
Geyse nearly created a similar chance in stoppage time after another great run down the side, but the pass was cleared before it could reach a United player.
The first half didn’t have too many chances and it was a very possession dominant game, which saw midfield battles dominating. Even the early part of the second half saw both sides struggling to fully exert themselves in the game. A blow to United came at the end of the first half, as Riviere went off due to an injury, as Gemma Evans come on.
United’s next chance to make it 2-0 came in the 62nd minute through a Katie Zelem free kick. It was lofted in for Millie Turner, who had room to head in but she couldn’t direct it goalwards and while the headed attempt at goal turned into a pass, it couldn’t reach anyone on time.
Two minutes later, United did make it two. And it was almost a carbon copy of the first goal. Geyse dazzled past two players on the right and picked out Parris perfectly, with the English forward left to time her first touch finish.
It was largely Geyse’s best performance of the season, as the summer signing showed a sign of being how good she can actually be. The performance against Chelsea only had a glimmer of a great moment, but the Brighton game was the complete package.
United are now four points behind third-placed Arsenal, thereby making the upcoming clash between the two sides a clash of some great proportions.