Manchester United Women are set to play their first ever match at Old Trafford. United’s match against West Ham will be moved to The Theatre of Dreams instead of their usual home venue of Leigh Sports Village.
A gap in the Old Trafford schedule has allowed the switch to take place. The match is scheduled to take place on Saturday 27th March with a 11.30 am kick off.
United are third in the FA WSL and are currently chasing a Champions League place. The Red Devils still have an outside chance of catching league leaders Chelsea.
The match will be played behind closed doors so United will be unable to welcome their supporters but the move shows the club’s commitment to their women’s side.
“Playing at Old Trafford will obviously be a special moment in the history of this team and it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the women’s game, which has seen huge growth over the last few years.
“We, of course, will miss our fans. They are such an important part of this club and we have felt their amazing support from afar throughout the season.
“We are all eager to get them back in the stands as soon as possible and hope that there will be many more opportunities to play at Old Trafford in the future.”
Chief Operating Officer, Collette Roche added:
“We are thrilled to be hosting our women’s team at Old Trafford. The international break this month created a gap in this season’s relentless programme at the stadium and we all agreed that this was the right time to welcome Casey and her squad to Old Trafford.
“We would have loved for fans to able to be there to witness this moment, but that time will come. For now, our preparations are in full swing as we set the stage to host our match with West Ham United next week”.
United to will travel to play fourth placed Arsenal on Friday 19th March before heading to Old Trafford the following week.
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.
Indeed, Casey Stoney just made one change from that impressive display last weekend, with Jess Singsworth coming in to the Red Devils midfield in place of Kirsty Hanson.
It was, however, City who took the early initiative in the derby encounter as Georgia Stanway caused Stoney’s side a number of problems and forced a relatively cheep corner.
What followed was Chloe Kelly opening the scoring for Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City after United’s failure to deal with the resulting corner. The former Everton striker was able to produce a clever finish into the far corner past the goalkeeper Mary Earps.
The England striker has been particularly impressive for her new club having scored four WSL goals already this campaign in six league appearances.
Following the opening goal, City completely controlled the first half with American Sam Mewis once again impressing in midfield. Taylor’s side created a number of chances to put the game beyond the Red Devils. Former United captain and City defender Alex Greenwood particularly causing problems with her deliveries from set pieces.
The best of the chances fell to Stanway in the 30thminute, when she ended up taking one touch too many while one on one with Earps, who subsequently made an important save.
Indeed, just when United thought they would get to half time with only a 1-0 deficit, in first half added time Laura Coombs produced terrific shot from the edge of the area giving Earps absolutely no chance.
Coombs’ strike made it three goals in her last three games for the midfielder and meant that City held a 2-0 lead at half time in the derby.
Hanson subsequently came on for Singsworth at half time for the Red Devils in a bid to halt City’s first half momentum. The change certainly produced the reaction that Stoney would have wanted.
The new Red Devils’ NWSL signing, Tobin Heath produced an unbelievable strike giving Ellie Roebuck no chance in the City goal to half the deficit.
From there, United continued to increase the pressure on City goal and there efforts were rewarded through substitute Hanson, who bundled in a corner, which the defence failed to deal with.
The home side could have snatched what would have been an unlikely winner at half time, as full back Demi Stokes made a crucial goal line clearance to deny Stoney’s United in second half injury time.
The game, however, finished with both Manchester clubs having to be content with a point a piece.
Manchester United Manager Casey Stoney told BT Sport:
“It [being top of the table] doesn’t matter, it’s November.
“It’s about performing and being at that consistent level week in week out.
“That first half was enough motivation to make sure we keep going.
“That second half performance was for our fans, to make sure we got that result in the Manchester derby which is really important for them.“
Manchester City’s midfielder and player of the match, Sam Mewis said:
“What we did in the first half was working, but I give Man Utd a lot of credit, they did well [to come back]. It’s testament to the derby and the rivalry.
“I’m definitely feeling the animosity. I was fighting back at the end, and had this feeling of pride for City and wanted to win.
“We’re still growing, we have so much potential as a group, and every game is a learning opportunity for us.“
United’s next WSL game sees them travel to newly promoted Aston Villa on Saturday 5thDecember. Before then, however, they have another encounter with Taylor’s City in the Continental Tyres League Cup match on Thursday night.
For City, meanwhile, they travel to Everton in the WSL on Sunday 6thDecember and remain five points behind their city rivals in fifth.
Both Everton and Arsenal continued their 100% start to the 2020/21 Women’s Super League with their respective victories over the weekend.
Elsewhere, there was a big win for Chelsea and Birmingham City earned their first points of the campaign.
Here’s how the action played out…
Tottenham 0-1 Manchester United
The match that kicked off the weekend saw a second half Millie Turner strike separate the two teams as the away side ran out deserved victors.
Casey Stoney’s side dominated much of the match and were deserved winners when eventually one of their 18 efforts on goal managed to break the deadlock.
United moved up to fourth, whilst Spurs slipped to ninth with just one point from their opening four matches.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-5 Arsenal
The early Sunday kick off saw anther away win as Joe Montemurro’s side continued their perfect start to the season with an emphatic result and performance to boot.
Goals from Danielle van de Donk, Jennifer Beattie, Charlotte Wubben-Moy and a brace from Vivianne Miedema helped the North Londoner’s to their comfortable win.
The Gunners look early favourites to challenge for this years title whilst Brighton looked somewhat out classed after a positive start to the season.
Everton 3-1 West Ham United
After taking an early lead through a Nicoline Sorenson finish at the back post, the female Toffees were pegged back quickly by the Hammers as Kenza Dali found the bottom corner against the run of play.
The home side, however, created numerous chances and eventually retook the lead when Lucy Graham scored from long range. The Scottish midfielder put the gloss on the day late on when she made it 3-1 in injury time.
The win maintained Everton’s 100% start to the WSL. West Ham, meanwhile, lost their third game in their opening four.
Reading 0-1 Birmingham
Two teams who had both got off to decent starts battled it out at the Madjeski Stadium in a battle to move up the table.
Despite dominating much of the match and the statistics, Reading couldn’t break the deadlock and were punished shortly after 70 minutes when Claudia Walker netted the only goal of the game to shock their hosts.
Chelsea 3-1 Manchester City
In a battle of the big guns and many peoples split favourites for title glory it was Chelsea who came out on top of a high quality encounter at Kingsmeadow.
Maren Mjelde opened the scoring from the penalty spot after half an hour before Samantha Kerr doubled the lead after half time with a near post finish following impressive build up play.
City were gifted a way back into the contest with a penalty of their own, duly converted by Chloe Kelly. Fran Kirby, however, restored the two goal advantage just minutes later and secured all three points for the hosts.
WSL Fixtures Sunday 18/10
West Ham v Manchester United, Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion, Bristol City v Birmingham, Reading v Manchester City, Arsenal v Tottenham.
This past weekend marked the return of the FA Women Super League, where remarkably the last League matches concluded at the end of February.
Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal, however, put the disappointment of last month’s Champions League exit to PSG successfully behind them with a resounding 6-1 victory over Kelly Chambers’ Reading, who had not played a game since February.
Indeed, the Royals new midfielder, Jess Fishlock did not have the dream debut, as the Gunners were ruthless in front of goal. Scottish international Kim Little gave Montemurro’s side the early lead with a composed finish from Leah Williamson’s pinpoint cross in the fifteenth minute. While last season’s Football Writers’ Player of the Year, Vivianne Miedema, subsequently doubled the North London team’s advantage before Jill Roord was able to add a third just before half-time.
Things did not improve for Chamber’s side in the second half as Little was able to successfully set up Roord for Arsenal’s fourth of the day. Last season’s golden boot winner, Miedema then made up for an uncharacteristic miss by adding a fifth with a terrifically struck shot.
Ten minutes from time, Roord was able to round off scoring for the Gunners by completing her hat trick after a lovely flowing team move. Ex- Arsenal striker, Danielle Carter managed to grab a late consolation for the Royals but by then the game itself was over as a contest.
Last season’s WSL champions Chelsea, meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw at Manchester United’s Leigh Sports Village stadium. The Blues took the lead in the 25thminute through Australian International striker Sam Kerr after she had managed to successfully convert a cross from Fran Kirby.
Casey Stoney’s United, however, were always in the game and saw Leah Galton’s header hit the bar just before half-time. The Red Devils were, however, able to grab an equaliser ten minutes from time when Galton was able to convert substitute Jackie Groenen’s cross.
There was still time for Chelsea’s record signing and the most expensive player in women’s football history, Pernille Harder to make her much-anticipated debut, however, she was unable to find that break through as the game ended 1-1.
Gareth Taylor’s first WSL in charge of Manchester City ended with a 2-0 victory over newly promoted Aston Villa. England striker Georgia Stanway scored both goals in the first 21 minutes, which were created by two defensive mix-ups at the back by Villa’s defence. Overall, Taylor would be encouraged by new signing Chloe Kelly’s performance, through out the game she was able to cause the Villa defence a number of problems. While the American, Sam Mewis also grew impressively into her midfield role as the game went on.
Two goals from club captain Lucy Graham helped Everton get off to an impressive start as they secured a 4-0 away win against Bristol City, while two second half goals from Megan Connolly and Inessa Kaagman helped Hope Powell’s Brighton on the way to a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City.
Finally West Ham’s Adriana Leon scored a brilliant goal in the WSL’s first London derby of the season as the Hammers kicked off their season with a 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
This weekend’s round of fixtures kicks-off with West Ham hosting Arsenal, in a match that will be played in front of roughly 1,000 supporters. This is part of the Government’s latest pilot scheme of allowing people to attend sport. The game will be due to kick-off at 5:20pm on Saturday 12thSeptember at Dagenham and Redbridge’s Victoria Road.
On Sunday 13thSeptember sees the rest of week two’s WSL ties as Champions Chelsea will be looking to get their first win of the campaign at home to Bristol City. While, Everton will look to build on their impressive start as they are at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
Elsewhere, Manchester United travel to face Birmingham City, Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City host Brighton and Reading will be looking to bounce back from their heavy opening day defeat as they play newly promoted Aston Villa.