FA WSL: The REd devils return to the top

Manchester United returned to the top of the table this weekend after a 2-0 win against Birmingham City. Leah Galton and Ella Toone with goals in the second half securing victory for Casey Stoney’s team.

Manchester City moved into third spot after another big win beating Brighton by seven goals to one. Second placed Chelsea’s game at Bristol City was postponed due to heavy snow. Arsenal also fell victims to the weather as their match vs West Ham was also postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

The only game on Saturday saw Aston Villa host Reading. Reading twice took the lead only for Villa to twice level with the match ending in a 2-2 draw.

Manchester United 2 v 0 Birmingham City

United had the first chance as Lauren James, broke down the left and cut inside the box to create a shooting chance but fired high over the bar. A warning from the in form United forward. United continued to work down the left side, Amy Turners cross field ball was flicked on to Leah Galton on the left. Galton worked her way into the box and fired a shot at goal which was pushed away by Blues keeper Hannah Hampton.

Birmingham were unable to stop United down that left side as Galton was almost put though again, but Hampton was out of her goal quickly to gather the ball. United continued their attacks down the left as Birmingham seemed powerless to stop them.

Ella Toone’s shot was blocked but United recycled the ball and Galton had space inside the box. Her cut back was cleared but United regained the ball and switched play to right. Lauren James played the ball along the six yard box and after and defection it fall to Jackie Groenen but she shot well over the bar.

Katie Zelem played a clear though ball into the box, into the path of Galton. Galton flicked the ball towards gaol with her first touch but Hampton pulled off a fine save diving to her right to push the ball away from goal.

A first half that united dominated ends 0-0.

The second half started as the first ended with United on the attack. They had the lead their played deserved after 46 minutes. Lauren James sent a teasing ball into the six yard box from the right side. The invitation was taken by Galton, getting goal side of Sarah Mayling to side foot the ball into the net.

United kept pressing for a second goal with Ella Tonne shooting over and then straight at Hampton after being played in by Galton. They did get their second after 81 minutes thanks Ella Toone. Kirsty Hanson’s cut back wasn’t cleared by Lucy Whipp and the ball fell to Toone. Striking the ball first time it went across the goal to go in off the far post.

A comfortable win for United who dominated the game. United could have scored more but for some good save from Hannah Hampton and some poor shooting.

United return to the top of the league on 29 points, three above Chelsea who have two games in hand.

Brighton 1 v 7 Manchester City

City hit seven goals for the second league game in a row as they beat Brighton 7-1. City first came after 12 minutes as Chole Kelly’s ball across the box was turned in by Caroline Weir. Weir had a second after 16 minutes following a 1-2 her first time strike flying into the goal. Weir was denied a first half hat trick. Dancing around three Brighton defenders her shot was brilliantly saved by Cecillie Fiskerstrand.

City had a third before the break. From an in swinging corner, Weir flicked the ball at the near post and Steph Houghton turned it in on the line. Half time Brighton 0 v 3 Man City.

Chole Kelly having another fine game played in Ellen White, who’s deft touch put the ball past the keeper for 4-0. Just after the hour it was five nil to City. Steph Houghton’s free kick clipping the bar on its way in the goal.

Brighton got a consolation thanks to Rianna Jarrett. Latching on to a poor pass by City she ran into the box to fire past Ellie Roebuck.

After patience build up where City worked the ball across the pitch the ball ended in the net with Chole Kelly finishing a wonderful City move. Janine Beckie made it seven turning in from close range from Kelly’s cross.

City move up to third ahead of Arsenal, five points off leaders Manchester United albeit with a game in hand.

Aston Villa 2 v 2 Reading

A game that started in sunshine and ended in snow ended with a 2-2 draw despite Reading enjoying the majority of the game. Reading took an early lead thanks to a Angharad James goal after three minutes. Rachel Rowe find Jess Fishlock in lots of space just outside the box. Fishlock fired a shot at goal which was well saved by Villa keeper Lisa Weiss. The loose ball was headed in by James.

Weiss was called into action again tipping over Emma Mitchells long range effort. Fishlock and James combined again, as Fishlock turned in the box to lay off for James who shot wide. Reading controlled the first half with Welsh International Fishlock controlling the midfield. Finding space all the time Fishlock set Beth Roberts up for shot but Weiss saved well.

Natasha Harding found Danielle Carter who set up James for another effort which went just over the bar. Fishlock found Harding in space in the box but her shot was blocked. Villa were unable to clear and the ball fell to Rachel Rowe but her shot was tame and easily saved. Half time Aston Villa 0 v 1 Reading.

Villa against the run of play equalised after 55 minutes. A low free kick from Natalie Haigh caught out Reading and the ball was turned in by Mana Iwabuchi for her first WSL goal.

Reading regained the lead just two minutes later with Rachel Rowe scoring. Jess Fishlock’s ball between the Villa defenders found Rowe inside the box on the right. It looked as Rowe has mis-controlled the ball but some clear footwork allowed her to fire low into the goal.

After the sunshine of the first half the weather turned and the snow begin to fall as Reading looked for a third to kill off the game. Carter had a chance but put it wide before a double save from Weiss. Fishlock driving forward slip the ball into the path of Carter who’s shot was blocked by the advancing Weiss. The Villa keeper was up quickly to deny Amalie Eikeland.

Weiss kept her side in the game and Villa got a second equaliser in the 91st minute. Iwabuchi and Hayles linking up in the box to find Diana Silva who poked the ball into the net. Full Time Aston Villa 2 v 2 Reading.

Reading had the better of the game but couldn’t extend their lead which allowed Villa a chance to get a point. Villa remain 11th but now level on points with West Ham. Reading remain in sixth but will see this as two points dropped.

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