Manchester City claimed the bragging rights over Manchester United with a 3-1 victory in an action-packed Women’s Super League encounter at Old Trafford.
Katie Zelem fired the hosts in front from the penalty spot after Alex Greenwood was punished for handball, but a key decision went against United when Geyse’s goal was disallowed because the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play.
City then turned the game on its head in the space of 80 seconds as Jill Roord fired home the equaliser before Lauren Hemp curled a superb effort into the top left corner after a mistake at the back.
Another error in the United defence saw Bunny Shaw gifted City’s third as Mary Earps’ clearance ricocheted off the striker and into the net.
City looked set to cruise to victory until Laia Aleixandri was shown a second yellow card prompting United to throw on several attackers in a bid to force a comeback although goalkeeper Khiara Keating only had to save a long-range drive from Lucia Garcia.
How City stunned United
Man City chalked up six shots in the opening 11 minutes and then saw Shaw denied superbly by a sprawling save from Earps, but it was Man Utd who took the lead. Melvin Malard’s shot hit Greenwood’s outstretched right arm in the area and Zelem’s penalty found the bottom left corner via a hand of Keating.
The game then turned on its head in a crazy four-minute spell. Man Utd were denied a second in the 31st minute when the ball was adjudged to have gone out for a goal kick before Geyse poked in.
City made it count after Chloe Kelly squared for Roord to fire home from inside the area in the 34th minute. Within 18 seconds of the restart, United played themselves into trouble and Shaw teed up Hemp to bend a wonderful effort into the top left corner.
United had themselves to blame again for a calamitous third as Maya Le Tissier’s backpass to Earps was short, allowing Shaw to close down the goalkeeper, whose clearance cannoned back off the striker and into the net.
The hosts had not had a shot in the second half by the time Aleixandri cynically fouled Garcia to earn a second yellow card in the 71st minute yet despite having an extra player they could not create any meaningful opportunities.
Taylor: Players take credit for performance
Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor speaking to Sky Sports: “It’s a feeling of pride. It’s a really big spectacle to play on. When you come to Old Trafford, there’s a big crowd and it’s probably a completely different game to any normal WSL game. So, I have to give the players great credit and all of the staff as well, they’ve been magnificent as well.
“The two goals we scored in the first half were the hardest chances. We had two easier ones. There’s still work for us to do but great credit to the players.
“We were thrown into another situation again with the red card. I can’t have too many complaints about it but we’re prepped for that situation. Fair play to Steph (Houghton) and Kerstin (Casparij), they came in and were great in the way we handled the game.”
Man Utd are back in Conti Cup action on Wednesday as they take on another close rival in Liverpool. They then play away at Bristol City next Sunday in the WSL; kick-off 12.30pm.
Man City welcome Leicester in the Conti Cup on Wednesday. They will be back on Sky Sports next Sunday when they host Tottenham in the WSL; kick-off 6.45pm.