Women’s Super League results: Man City fight back to earn draw with Man United as WSL derby packs out Etihad Stadium
Just over 44,000 fans were at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City and Manchester United fought out an eventful and energetic 1-1 draw in the Women’s Super League.
United missed the chance to go level on points at the top with leaders Chelsea, but in the end might have been glad to merely keep the three points between themselves and City, who stay fourth.
It was the hosts who dominated the early exchanges, with both Chloe Kelly and Bunny Shaw prominent in attack, but United’s defence remained resolute and they gradually worked their way into the contest.
Nikita Parris started to cause problems on the counter and Alessia Russo becoming more involved as an outlet – but it was Leah Galton who opened the scoring shortly before the half-hour mark.
A sweeping move down the left flank involving Ella Toone ended in a pass infield to 28-year-old Galton, who took a touch before firing a slightly deflected strike beyond Ellie Roebuck and into the bottom corner.
The game was at times scrappy, at others fast-paced and with both teams looking to exploit space out wide, but for the remainder of the first half it was a succession of longer-range strikes which failed to test the goalkeepers at either end: Toone firing wide for United, Denya Castellanos hitting one on target for City, Mary Earps showing good footwork to save.
Having seized control of the match for large spells it was United who looked the stronger after the restart – but just before the hour mark they were pegged back.
A cross from the right flank was missed by the first defender Millie Turner and Laura Coombs, entirely unmarked, was allowed to ghost in and stoop to nod in an equaliser from close range.
Kelly then almost put City ahead with a wayward cross which almost looped in for an accidental second, while at the other end Toone dribbled into the box before curling wide.
Shaw nearly won it with a six-yard header on target which Earps just about grasped on the line at the second attempt and City certainly finished the game the stronger, but both had to settle for a draw.
Elsewhere in the league, second-placed Arsenal stayed level on points with leaders Chelsea after a 4-1 win over Aston Villa.
Villa took an early lead through Kirsty Hanson, but when teammate Rachel Corsie netted an own goal, Arsenal went back on level terms. The London club took a lead into half time after a goal from Vivianne Miedema, before Katie McCabe and Jordan Nobbs saw them pull clear in the second half.
Meanwhile, West Ham were 2-0 derby winners over Tottenham thanks to goals from Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Hawa Cissoko either side of the break.