Manchester United have returned to winning ways in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League with a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at The Leigh Sports Village.
Prior to the international break, United had struggled for form having suffered back-to-back defeats to Reading and Manchester City respectively but they eased to victory over a relegation-threatened Villa side once they netted the game’s opening goal.
The home side initially appeared to struggle in breaking down Villa’s defence but they were gifted the lead just before the half-hour mark. Kirsty Hanson latched onto a loose ball from Chloe Arthur and the United forward shot from distance. Her effort took a big deflection which wrong footed Lisa Weiss and the ball looped up and bounced in off the bar.
The Red Devils then doubled their advantage just before half-time. United won a free-kick deep in Villa’s half which allowed Lucy Staniforth to curl in a delightful cross which was met by the head of Jess Sigsworth. She powered the ball into the back of the net, making it 2-0.
It was much of the same after the interval with United very much on top and Villa struggling to create anything that would trouble Mary Earps. Casey Stoney’s side eventually had their third goal when substitute Hayley Ladd crossed in from the right and found Katie Zelem in the area who headed in from close range.
The third goal put the game to bed but there was never really any doubt about where the points would be heading. It was a routine victory for United which puts some distance between them and Arsenal, at least for the time being.
Given the stop-start nature of the league, Stoney and her players must now wait 12 days before the two sides meet in a huge clash in the race for UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification. An Arsenal victory would throw the race for third place open, whilst an away win would really tighten United’s grasp on the top three.