It was derby delight at Old Trafford as City came from behind to beat Manchester United 3-1 following a superb display.

In an exciting, end-to-end encounter City spectacularly overturned the hosts’ lead thanks to quickfire goals from Jill Roord and Lauren Hemp before the interval.

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw extended our lead further in the second half when she was rewarded for her tireless pressing. 

We were reduced to 10 players in the second half when Laia Aleixandri received two yellow cards, but we held on for three precious points.

As a result, Gareth Taylor‘s side have leapfrogged Marc Skinner’s to third in the Barclays Women’s Super League table.

WHAT HAPPENED 

City were buoyed ahead of the match by the return of talismanic defender Alex Greenwood who had recovered from a head injury in time for the derby at Old Trafford.

And she came close in the opening stages for Taylor’s side, who had pinned the hosts into their defensive third, when her header from a corner had beaten Mary Earps but looped onto the roof of the net.

Chances were arriving thick and fast for the visitors in a fine first-half display as we continued to probe with slick, fast passing alongside relentless pressing which gave the hosts little time on the ball.

As a result, we then carved open our rivals with a neat passing move which allowed Shaw to break into the box, and she looked certain to score, before her drilled effort was saved by the feet of Earps.

With the match finely balanced following a period of end-to-end play, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Melvine Malard’s effort struck Greenwood’s arm from close range before Katie Zelem squeezed the ball past Khiara Keating from 12-yards to break the deadlock.

The opening goal had given the hosts a boost and they thought they had found a second 15 minutes before the break when Geyse da Silva Ferreira weaved into the box and tapped her blocked cross into the net, but the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line for a goal kick.

The hosts were then immediately ruing their spurned chance when Taylor’s team extraordinarily scored twice in a matter of minutes – the first arriving from Roord who coolly passed into the net from 18-yards after Chloe Kelly danced into the box and pulled the ball back.

City had our tails up and deservedly took the lead when Shaw retrieved the ball on the edge of the area before teeing up Hemp who wonderfully curled into the top corner - sending the pocket of away supporters wild.

The visitors started the second half in a similar fashion to that of the first - hunting down the ball and applying immense pressure on United’s defenders when they had possession. 

This then paid dividends when Shaw closed down Earps whose reactive clearance struck the Jamaican and flew into the net to extend our lead further. 

It represented her fourth goal of the term in all competitions and it was exactly what she deserved for her immense work-rate. 

Following our third goal of the afternoon, City were happy to let our strong defensive capabilities and accurate passing nullify the hosts’ threat.

There was to be another twist, however, when Aleixandri was dismissed for a professional foul in the middle of the area which was her second caution. 

The visitors had to dig deep with a player less and did just that with a colossal rearguard display with Skinner’s team looking to push for a way back into the match. 

Fresh from signing a new contract with the Club until 2027, Khiara Keating was called into action in the closing stages and she delivered a great save from Lucia Garcia‘s dipping effort which called for great concentration in the slippery conditions.

Taylor’s heroes then held on for a famous win at Old Trafford in front of a crowd of 43, 615.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Alanna kennedy 

Among a swathe of outstanding displays, Alanna Kennedy consistently showed her class when marshalling our backline. 

What’s more, she was on hand to ignite attacks from the back while also thwarting the hosts when they looked to threaten our goal.

TAYLOR REACTION

“The fightback from the players was great,” he declared.

“After a really good start we concede a penalty and the comeback was great, really good.

“We controlled large parts of the game. To come here to this arena on their own patch in front of their home support, it was a fantastic display from the girls.

“No it doesn’t [get much better than that].

“I thought from the first minute tonight we were class. I felt we attacked the game – we spoke about it a lot in the week about what this means to us, but also we wanted to see a bit of a reaction.

“We know this team is capable. We know we are a new team and young, but we’re improving all the time and we’re doing it in a specific way.”

KENNEDY REACTION

“I think we started off really well and going down a goal tested our character as a team, but I’m so happy and proud of everyone with how we turned it around and we won in the end,” she said.

“I think it was about keeping things simple and sticking to our processes [after going a goal down] and believing in our game plan.

“I thrive in those situations where your back is against the wall, so it was nice to come out and get the three points.

“[The fans] were amazing and they’re amazing each week so it was great to have them here. We appreciate them all and hopefully see them again next week.”

HOW WE LINED UP

Khiara Keating was protected between the sticks by a back four of Laia Aleixandri, the returning Alex Greenwood, Alanna Kennedy and Leila Ouahabi

Yui Hasegawa anchored our midfield behind Jill Roord and Filippa Angeldahl.

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw then led the line and was supported by Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp who operated on the wings.

Manchester United XI: Earps, Le Tissier, Blundell, Toone (Miyazawa 77’), Malard (Garcia 68’), Zelem (C), Galton, Naalsund (Williams 77’), Turner, Parris (Riviere 46’), Da Silva Ferreira. 

Unused substitutes: Tullis-Joyce, Middleton-Patel, Ladd, Evans.

City XI: Keating, Aleixandri, Greenwood (C), Kennedy, Ouahabi, Hasegawa (Houghton 63’), Roord, Angledahl, Hemp (Fowler 90’), Shaw (Casparij 75’) Kelly (Coombs 83’).

Unused substitutes: MacIver, Castellanos, Morgan, Park, Blakstad. 

WHAT IT MEANS 

Victory at Old Trafford means we have 13 points after seven WSL matches and move to third in the table.

FA WSL
1 Chelsea FC Chelsea Chelsea 14 11 1 2 41 13 28 34 WWWWL
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 14 11 1 2 36 8 28 34 WWWWW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 14 10 1 3 32 14 18 31 LWWLW
Last updated: 23 February 2024

WHAT’S NEXT

Taylor’s side’s next assignment is a Continental Cup meeting with Leicester at the Joie Stadium on Wednesday at 19:00 (UK).

The match is available to watch live on CITY+ as we aim to maintain our 100% record in the competition so far this term.

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