WSL UPdate: Manchester United top of tree at Xmas

Manchester United continue to lead the way in the WSL after dishing out a 6-1 thrashing to Bristol City. Two each for Leah Galton and Tobin Heath along with goals from Jessica Sigsworth and Millie Turner means that United will go into Christmas as league leaders.

Arsenal, meanwhile, kept the pressure on after a 4-0 win over Everton, meant that they remain in second place. Reading beat Brighton 3-1 with Jess Fishlock starring getting two goals and an assist. Elsewhere, Birmingham against Manchester City was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Manchester United 6-1 Bristol City

Bristol City are still searching for a first win of the season and had the first real chance of the game. A long ball from inside their half over the top of the United defence allowed Ebony Salmon to get behind Amy Turner. After lifting the ball over Mary Earps her effort went wide.

United came back though with Ona Batlle long range effort pushed over by Sophie Baggaley. Tobin Heath also hit one from distance putting the ball on to the top of the bar.

City were trying to sit deep and narrow to frustrate United, but Leah Galton found a pocket of space on the edge of the area. Turning to create herself a little space she fired a shot with her left foot into the roof of the net.

Baggaley could do nothing about Galton’s effort but she was in fine form to stop Heath’s close range effort with a wonderful reaction save.

United were two up in first half stoppage time thanks to Millie Turner, from a Katie Zelem corner. Zelem put the ball across the six yard box and Turner powered in at the far post to head into the goal.

It was 3-0 after 52 minute’s, Jessica Sigsworth after going down as Bristol defended Heath’s corner. Sigsworth was up quickly to smash home after Bristol failed to clear.

Galton made it 4-0 to United with another stunning goal. Toone’s pass spilt the Bristol defence to find Galton on the outside of the box. Galton struck beautifully into the far corner from a tight angle.

Bristol City caught United on the break on 72 minutes, a long ball finding Salmon behind the defence again. Earps saved the initial shot but the ball fell back to Salmon and she found the net.

United’s fifth came from Heath, chipping the ball over Baggaley from outside the box. Heath got her second just three minutes later, Hayley Ladd sliding the ball to Heath who shot low to get her second of the game.

United stay top two points ahead of Arsenal, but for Bristol City they remain bottom with just two points and yet to pick up a win.

Arsenal 4-0 Everton

Arsenal were ahead after just four minutes, Beth Mead’s run inside the area and ball across the six yard both gave Jordan Nobbs a simple tap in.

Six minutes later Arsenal were two up with another tap in this time for Caitlin Foord. Jill Roord’s ball across the box found Catlin Foord in space and she tapped in from inside the six yard box.

Nobbs capitalised on some poor Everton defending to set up Roord but her effort was well saved by Maciver.

Just after the hour Arsenal had their third. Katie McCabe’s corner was met at the far post Jen Beattie. Beattie headed into an empty net after Maciver came and failed to punch the ball away.

Mead made it four with a stunning curling shot from outside the box. Mead curled the ball into the far corner leaving the Everton keeper no chance.

Foord had the chance to make it five breaking though the Everton defence, but was met by Maciver who stood her ground well and saved well as Mead tried to go around her.

Arsenal are second and four points behind Manchester United. Everton sit fifth with 14 points.

Brighton 1-3 Reading

Reading took the lead in this game on 17 minutes thanks to Fishlock. A poor pass from Fliss Gibbons was latched onto by Fishlock, taking the ball to edge of the area she fired low into the bottom corner.

Brighton levelled on 21 minutes with a Inessa Kaagman Penalty. After working into the Reading box a heavy tackle from Denna Copper gave the referee an easy decision. Kaagman sent the keeper the wrong way to fire home form the spot kick.

Reading took the lead just before half time, Fishlock getting her second. After getting the ball into the box, the deflected cross fell to Fishlock, controlling the ball on the chest then smashing the ball in from close range.

After the break Brighton had an early chance to level. Gibbons’ long range shot was saved and Whelan’s follow up went wide.

Fishlock was in fine form as she attempted a long range effort as she looked to get het hat-trick. Playing a nice one two she shot just wide of the goal.

Reading sealed the points in stoppage time with Rachel Rowe getting the goal. Winning the ball on half way it fell to Fishlock who drove forward and played a clever pass to Rowe. Rowe with a lovely chip over the keeper and after hitting the far post and being cleared off the line, the assistant referee flagged that it crossed the line.

Reading are currently sixth on 13 points while Brighton are ninth with 8 points.

The WSL returns on January 9th as Aston Villa host Arsenal and Manchester City will host West Ham United.

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