Manchester United Women vs Chelsea Women Match Recap
Manchester United Women continue to look for their first win against Chelsea, as the home team lost 6-1 to the reigning WSL champions.
Fran Kirby gave Chelsea the lead within the first 5 minutes, before Pernille Harder doubled their lead in the 25th minute. Sam Kerr made it 3-0 for Chelsea going into the break.
Alessia Russo gave United a lifeline, coming off the bench to score immediately but it was a consolation goal as Kerr got her second (and Chelsea’s fourth) straight away. Chelsea extended their lead in the dying minutes, with substitutes Drew Spence and Jessie Fleming scoring a goal apiece to cement their win.
Manchester United: Earps, Blundell, Mannion, Thorisdottir, Batlle, Zelem, Groenen (Ladd 65), Hanson, Staniforth (Russo 46), Galton (Jones, 80), Toone
Substitutes not used: Baggaley, Harris, Boe Risa, Fuso
United struggled to settle into the match as the visitors stamped their dominance early on. Kerr had an early shot on target in the 1st minute which Mary Earps mercifully saved, but Kirby wasted no time, getting on the scoreboard in just 2 minutes. She received a pass from her attacking partner Kerr and only had to tap the ball in to get her 50th goal in the WSL.
Despite trailing early on, the Reds gradually grew into the game: Ona Batlle got the home team’s first shot but it was blocked and, United had a spell of dominance, playing the match further out in the pitch and getting a series of chances. Kirsty Hanson had United’s second shot but fired well wide, and Lucy Staniforth nearly got the equaliser. ‘Nearly’ is never good enough in football, though — she couldn’t control the ball and the hosts still trailed 1-0.
Chelsea didn’t seem bothered by United’s dominance and they clinically doubled their lead with the first chance they got with Harder’s spectacular solo-effort. She dribbled the ball from the halfway line before chipping the ball over a helpless Mary Earps. Kerr added on to United’s misery to make it 3-0 for the visitors as her attacking partner Kirby repaid the favor with an assist.
Earps made a brilliant save minutes later as Harder looked to extend Chelsea’s lead in the 38th minute and Kerr’s attempt went just wide of goal. She got her goal (and Chelsea’s third), though, which looked like identical in set up to the first. Kirby’s ball found Kerr, who neatly slotted it into the back of the net to make it 3-0 to the reigning champions.
United started the second half strong, with substitute Russo (replacing Staniforth) got the hosts back in the game in the 48th minute. Her shot in from a tight angle deflected off the post to go in the net. It was Chelsea’s day though, especially Sam Kerr’s, as she got her second goal in the 51st minute. She needed 2 attempts to get the ball over the line and the goal was given despite Kerr looking to be offside.
Man United Women had several chances but came away empty-handed. Leah Galton had a brilliant run, crossing low to Hanson in the 55th minute. Hanson fired wide, though, and Galton herself had a header blocked, before Russo’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar.
Despite United’s attempts, it was Chelsea who got their goals on the other end of the pitch, through two late strikes from their substitutes. Spence scored the visitors’ 5th around the 85th minute, before Fleming nailed the final hammer in the coffin for United.
Chelsea’s manager Emma Hayes noted that her team actually played poorly, saying that she didn’t think they played well at all. “I thought we were poor in the first half by our standards and we were 3-0 up. I think we’re a better team than we’ve ever been,” she said. To her point, though, the hosts did look like the more deserving side but were clearly outmatched against the WSL champions. Manchester United Women are now 6th in the table, and are away at Birmingham next weekend before returning to Leigh Sports Village to host crosstown rivals Man City.
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