Manchester City Women vs Manchester United Women
3:00pm Saturday 7th September
Caroline Weir’s stunning strike secured a derby success for Manchester City of 31,213 in front of a record Women’s Super League bunch in the Etihad Stadium.
Weir shot from beyond the box was enough to take the things but just once Manchester United, who commanded the first half for extended periods, came close.
City goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck saved to deny Jane Ross ahead of the rest, then was fortunate to find a Jackie Groenen effort bounce straight off the base of a post and into her arms.
After cruising into the Women’s Championship title last year, featuring in the top flight for the very first time, Casey Stoney’s side did enough to indicate that they could be a substantial force this season.
Having survived an early scare when’keeper Mary Earps fought to clean a loose back-pass, the people – cheered on by a large contingent in a bunch which dwarfed the WSL record of 5,265 at Brighton last season – rose to the challenge.
From opening the scoring at the 22nd minute if she landed from Leah Galton a superb, twisting save from Roebuck prevented Ross.
City defender Gemma Bonner made a critical interception to deny Ross yet another shooting chance Groenen and Ross failed to squeeze the ball on the line from the other Galton cross.
Nick Cushing’s City facet, intent on wresting the WSL title back from Arsenal, looked slow and short on ideas until late in the first phase, when Janine Beckie and Weir possibly carved out half-chances.
Nevertheless, it was a different story after the break as City started to control when Weir let fly with a shot from beyond the box and they caught the lead within three minutes from the restart.
Beckie fired on the bar missed a further chance after racing over of the length of the pitch at a lightning counter-attack, simply to miscue her effort.
Stoney’s side appeared to wilt as City completely dominated the last half hour, pinning the visitors back in their own half.
Their advantage almost doubled once the Beckie played with a in Tessa Wullaert screwed a shot that was rising over the bar from a tight angle and the box.
But there was time for United to come agonisingly close to snatching a stage after Groenen was found in the Town box in the 83rd minute.
Despite stumbling as she attempted her shot, the Dutch striker trickled an attempt that defeat against Roebuck but rebounded off the foot of back and a post to the relieved’keeper’s arms.