Manchester United returned to the top of Barclays FA Women’s Super League table after recording a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City at The Leigh Sports Village.
It was United’s first home fixture of the year and their first since their defeat against Chelsea last weekend, their only league loss so far this campaign. Given Birmingham City’s rejuvenation under head coach Carla Ward, this could have been a potential banana skin for The Red Devils and it almost proved to be just that.
United struggled to break down a stubborn Birmingham City defence but they did almost take the lead through Leah Galton in the first half. The opportunity came when Katie Zelem played a neat pass into Galton whose flick-shot looked certain to find the back of the net but she was denied by an outstanding reaction save by Hannah Hampton in the Birmingham City goal.
The Midlands club were able to keep the home side at bay until half-time, however, things quickly changed after the restart. Just 40 seconds in the second period, United had the lead through Galton. A goalscoring opportunity was created thanks to some tremendous quick feet from Lauren James on the right before she played in a delightful cross for Galton to tap the ball into the roof of the net.
United continued to push forward but once again struggled to break down the Birmingham City back-line but they were eventually able to make the pressure count. A cross from substitute Kirsty Hanson was only half-cleared and Ella Toone latched onto it. She fired across goal and her shot rebounded in off the far post to double United’s lead in the final 10 minutes.
That’s how the game finished, Casey Stoney’s side taking all three points meaning that they now leapfrog Chelsea into pole position although, the South West Londoners do have two games in hand.
As for Birmingham City, despite not getting anything from the game, there were plenty of positives to take forward having stifled United’s attacking intent for the majority of the game.