Manchester City took another huge step forward in the title race as they ran out 3-0 victors at the expense of local rivals Manchester United at The Academy Stadium this evening.
The two sides went into the game with contrasting form as United had lost two of their last three fixtures whilst the hosts had won six on the bounce.
The home side took the lead in the 24th minute through Lucy Bronze. United failed to clear a corner, the City right-back pounced, and stabbed her shot into the back of the net. It was a goal that United manager Casey Stoney would have been thoroughly disappointed with as her side have come undone by several set pieces in recent weeks.
City nearly had the second through a good piece of improvisation from Ellen White as she produced an audacious overhead kick, but her effort was well saved by Mary Earps who got down well.
Hayley Ladd came the closest to scoring for the travelling side when City also struggled to clear a set-piece and the Welsh midfielder tried to hook the ball into the far corner, but it curved just wide.
Just as United were beginning to get on top in the game, they were dealt a huge blow as star winger Leah Galton had to come off. The number 11 was in serious discomfort as she was aided from the field by the United medical team.
It was a similarly even second half but United were still unable to fashion any clear-cut chances to seriously trouble Ellie Roebuck in the City goal. Conversely, when the opportunity presented itself to The Cityzens, they made sure to take it. A vicious drilled shot from Chloe Kelly in the 70th minute was well saved by Earps but the ball went straight to Lauren Hemp. The England winger fired at goal and Amy Turner was unable to stop the ball from finding the back of the net.
We were then treated to an outstanding moment of individual brilliance from Caroline Weir. The Scotland international picked up the ball on the edge of the area and outfoxed Earps with an outrageous chip from 20 yards out to put the game to bed. It would be difficult to find a better goal than that for the rest of the season.
The referee blew her whistle and confirmed City’s 3-0 victory and condemned United to their third defeat in four games. It is very much a case of contrasting fortunes for the two Manchester clubs as everything seems to going right for Gareth Taylor and wrong for Casey Stoney. The sky blue side of the city will now have their sights set on catching league leaders Chelsea whilst United will must be looking over their shoulders. Arsenal have two games in hand on The Red Devils and given that the two clubs meet at Meadow Park before the end of the season, United could have gone from title contenders to missing out on a UEFA Women’s Champions League place in a few short weeks.