Monday, 20 August 2018

Match report: United Women 1-0 Liverpool Women

As the men's team were battered by Brighton, United's Women began their exciting new era with a 1-0 win over their Merseyside counterparts thank a late Lizzie Arnot goal. The Reds sealed a historic victory in the FA Women's League Cup at Prenton Park in our first tie for 13 years. The knockout cup competition, comprising of four groups of five or six clubs split geographically, saw Casey Stoney's United side of the FA Women's Championship take on Neil Redfearn's FA Women's Super League team.
An open, end-to-encounter looked set to end all square but eventually culminated in a memorable victory for the Reds through Arnot's 83rd-minute winner. Alex Greenwood, a thorn in Liverpool's side throughout, put a cross on a plate for someone to score with and Arnot duly obliged from close range.

Arnot fired an early effort wide and Jess Sigsworth also went close, but despite Liverpool's high pressing game, their former keeper Siobhan Chamberlain - now in the red of United - was relatively untroubled. Amy Turner failed to get a toe on Katie Zelem's whipped-in set piece, and an unmarked Sigsworth headed just wide from a Greenwood corner. The England full-back then stung the palms of debutant Liverpool keeper Anke Preuss shortly before the break.
Half time substitute Courtney Sweetman - Kirk lashed a shot over the bar from distance for the Merseysiders, but at the other end Leah Galton - returning to England after a spell in the US and Germany -  replaced Kirsty Hanson and almost broke the deadlock. Good work from Sigsworth released her one-on-one, but Preuss did well to smother the striker with a smart low save.
Chamberlain was soon called into action for the first time to deny Sweetman - Kirk, before Arnot's winner that came against the run of play after a sustained spell of Liverpool pressure.
Redfearn's side reacted instantly and almost equalised with five minutes to play when Christie Murray's 20-yarder beat Chamberlain but rattled the post, rolled across the line and bounced away.

United held on for a historic victory, and manager Stoney was delighted with the character shown by the team: 
"I'm really pleased with the three points but at the same time we know we can play better. These girls have put an absolute shift in for six weeks after being thrown together.
"To go out there and dig deep against a quality side, to show a bit of character, was very pleasing.
"When it was backs against the wall, we stayed calm, we created some really good opportunities, we just need to finish them.
"It was a great ball in from Alex and when you get numbers in the box you'll get goals."

United: Chamberlain; Smith, A.Turner, M.Turner, Greenwood; Green (Toone 45), Zelem, James (Devlin 89), Arnot; Sigsworth, Hanson (Galton 59).

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