Manchester United players in a huddle before their Women's FA Cup tie against Manchester City

WEEKLY UPDATE: Manchester United Barmy Army #4

Unfortunately this week’s edition doesn’t bring the most positive of news with defeats to both Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup and Women’s FA Cup.

The change in schedule from Sunday to Saturday for the Manchester derby had already angered many fans which was no doubt reflected in the poor attendance of just 1,948, considering the last derby at the Leigh Sports Village attracted over double with 4,042.

The girls were poor first half and were dominated all over the pitch which resulted in us going 1-0 down in the 29th minute with Ellen White finding the back of the net. United returned after the break with new-found energy and looked to be on top until we conceded another City goal. Despite the scoreline, we pushed to stage a famous comeback and thought it had begun from a Katie Zelem corner that found the back of the net, though the referee claimed that a foul had been committed on City keeper Ellie Roebuck. Lauren James made a difference when coming off the bench, she scored in the 69th minute to make it 2-1.

We were the stronger side as we pushed for an equaliser as Abbie McManus’ shot trickled over the goal-line. The fans were jubilant as the crowd roared and celebrated what seemed to be a great comeback only to have it snatched away, as the lineswoman broke all of our hearts as she claimed that the ball didn’t cross the line. From our position, it looked over the line and we felt hard done by. The girls continued to push for the equaliser and it seemed to be over as City went 3-1 up before our hopes were reignited by a Lauren Hemp own goal which made it 3-2 with a couple of minutes left to play. Despite five minutes of extra-time, the elusive equaliser was not to be and the big talking point after the match was the outcome of that McManus effort.

The following day brought a trip to Sheffield for some of our members who went to watch our loan players Emily Ramsey and Mollie Green, several of our players were also there to watch the game. Unfortunately, Sheffield United were also on the losing end of their Women’s FA Cup tie as they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Birmingham City. Our very own Natalie Burrell of the Barmy Army also received a full squad signed Sheffield United shirt. Our summer signing Abbie McManus will also be receiving a new flag to display at matches as donated by Barmy Army member Marc.

Tonight brought our FA Women’s Continental League Cup semi-final clash at home to Chelsea. Both clubs were aiming for a first final appearance but sadly for us, our hopes were left in tatters after losing 1-0. We performed admirably on the night and there was little between us and Chelsea. We are very proud of our players’ performances throughout their run to the semi-finals and we wish Chelsea well for their appearance in the final next month.

With fixtures coming thick and fast, Sunday brings the return of the FA Women’s Super League as we face Reading at Adams Park. Our previous meeting in October saw us end as 2-0 winners with the goals being scored by Kirsty Hanson and Jess Sigsworth. We hope to replicate that result in Buckinghamshire on Sunday.

We will be back with another update next week and hope that we will be talking about a return to winning ways.

The Barmy Army (@barmyarmyMUWFC)

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