Manchester United hosted West Ham United on Saturday, with the fixture played at Old Trafford as part of the Women’s Football Weekend initiative. Marc Skinner’s Red Devils would return to the top of the table with a win – while the visitors would remain 7th regardless of the result.
MUN: Earps; Blundell, Turner, Le Tissier, Batlle; Zelem, Ladd; Galton, Toone, Parris; Russo
WHU: Arnold; Smith, Cissoko, Fisk, Shimizu; Asseyi, Brynjarsdottir, Parker, Snerle; Thestrup, Hayashi
The hosts struggled to break down an organised West Ham defence initially, though Alessia Russo had chance to score the opener after ten minutes following a cross into the box from Ona Batlle – but the England striker’s connection wasn’t clean enough and the chance went missing.
Marc Skinner’s side felt they should have been awarded a penalty with half an hour played, as Hawa Cissoko sent Hayley Ladd tumbling to the ground inside the box – but the referee waved away United’s appeals and let play continue.
Paul Konchesky’s West Ham side managed to keep the game goalless until half-time – and his side had arguably been the better of the two teams, with their opponents appearing frustrated at their inability to find a way through the Claret and Blue defence.
West Ham’s fortunes changed after the break though, and Hawa Cissoko’s reckless sliding challenge on Alessia Russo saw the Reds awarded a penalty. Katie Zelem made no mistake from the spot, firing past Mackenzie Arnold into the top-right corner to give United the lead at Old Trafford.
Lucia Garcia bagged a second for the hosts in the 65th minute, slotting the ball into the bottom corner after Ella Toone’s chipped ball evaded Cissoko. United’s third goal of the game came twenty minutes later, as Ona Batlle’s cutback found Hayley Ladd who did well to curl the ball into the bottom corner despite Arnold’s best efforts to make the save.
Lucia Garcia scored her second of the game in injury time to hand the Red Devils a 4-0 win in front of 27,919 fans at Old Trafford. Martha Thomas’ strike was saved well by the West Ham ‘keeper, but with nobody there to clear the ball, Lucia Garcia pounced and sent an effort whistling past Arnold.
While United return to the top spot for now, Manchester City’s fixture against Chelsea on Sunday could see that all change – the London side sit just one point behind United, with two games in hand.