Manchester United Women had a good outing in London, defeating West Ham 2-0 in their first away game of the season.
Lucia Garcia and Hannah Blundell scored their first goals for United, ensuring the visitors went home with all three points.
West Ham’s Lucy Parker beat Mary Earps to give the home team a fighting chance. Her goal was ruled offside, leaving the hosts empty-handed at full-time. It was the first time Kirsty Smith faced her old team, having transferred to West Ham this past summer.
United started the match strong and came very close to scoring early on. Captain Katie Zelem made a clever pass into the box but her effort was blocked on the goal line. They had a chance to capitalise in the ensuing chaos, but keeper Mackenzie Arnold parried the ball away from goal.
Leah Galton saw her goal disallowed in the first 20 minutes. Summer signing Maya Le Tissier’s cross help Galton run past defenders and toe the ball past Arnold, but the assistant had their flag raised for offside.
Man United kept piling the pressure from the right, cutting through West Ham’s defence only to be denied by Arnold time and again. No doubt West Ham’s player of the match, they would have suffered an embarrassing defeat without her between the goalposts.
The home team almost took the lead with minutes left in the half, but Millie Turner did well to clear the ball away before nearly converting Zelem’s set-piece at the other end.
United dominated the first half but had little to show for it with goals. The visitors had 8 attempts in the first half, with 6 on target.
The visiting team picked up where they left off, mounting the pressure from the get go. They were rewarded for it as Garcia opened her tally at United. It was, honestly, a goal worth watching on repeat. Le Tissier fired the ball into her path and, breaking through defenders, Garcia rounded past Arnold to aim a low ball into the far corner to finally give United the lead.
United doubled their lead quickly after, as Blundell latched on to Ona Batlle’s back-pass just outside the box. With all of West Ham’s defenders hanging back, Blundell charged forward to neatly curl the ball past Arnold. Honestly it was a good, clean finish also worth watching over again. Not that I’m not biased, but you can’t tell me it wasn’t a good link up between our full-backs.
Zelem could have made it 3-0 to United but Arnold did well to keep her team to a 2-goal deficit.
West Ham struggled to find their footing in the match with just 34% possession. They had a few breakout moments to keep United’s defence busy, though. They nearly pulled one back to keep themselves in the game, but the assistant referee disallowed their goal — and only shot on target — for offside.
The hosts grew into the game as the clock neared 90 minutes, but United kept their composure and a clean sheet to come home with all 3 points.
There’s still no news on when the match against Spurs will be rescheduled, but United next play Aston Villa in the midlands for the Continental Cup on Oct. 1.