Manchester United Women fell to a disappointing defeat to Chelsea in the Women’s Super League on Sunday.
The Reds welcomed the reigning Women’s Super League champions to Leigh Sports Village but it proved to be a day to forget for Marc Skinner’s side.
Fran Kirby sent the visitors ahead in the match’s second minute before Pernille Harder doubled their advantage in the 25th minute with a dink. Sam Kerr was on target just before the half-time signal to make it 3-0 for the Blues, which was the score at the interval.
In the second half, Alessia Russo came off the bench to score straight away but Kerr scored her second and Chelsea’s fourth just a few moments later. Shortly before the 90 minutes were up, Blues substitutes Drew Spence and Jessie Fleming scored a goal each as United Women fell to a 6-1 defeat, our first WSL loss of the season.
Alessia Russo came on to score for United but in the end it was Chelsea’s day. You can watch all the goals here.
It was the visitors that came firing out of the blocks. An effort from Sam Kerr in the first minute was excellently saved by Mary Earps. Unfortunately, in the second minute, Chelsea took the lead. A well-worked attack ended with a square ball inside the box to Fran Kirby, who sent the visitors ahead.
After the tough start, the Reds grew into the game. Ona Batlle fired our first shot away but the full-back’s attempt was blocked. United took more and more control of the game and started playing a lot in Chelsea’s half. Kirsty Hanson fired away after roughly 22 minutes played but the Scot’s effort went wide. A through-ball to Staniforth almost paid off shortly after but our no.37 was unlucky not to control the ball inside the Chelsea area.
In the 25th minute, Chelsea proved extremely effective as they scored with their first chance after United’s dominance. Pernille Harder ran away from everyone on the left wing and one-on-one with Earps, she dinked it over our goalkeeper to double the Blues’ advantage.
Earps stood firm to hold a shot from Harder from inside the box in the 38th minute before Kerr fired a shot just wide of the post. Unfortunately, Chelsea’s no.20 found their third shortly before the break. In what was almost a reprise of the first goal, a square ball from Kirby found Kerr, who slotted in to make it 3-0 for the Blues, which was also the score going in to half time.
Sam Kerr scored Chelsea’s third just before the interval.
SECOND HALF – RUSSO SCORES BUT CHELSEA WIN
Marc Skinner made a change during half-time as Alessia Russo came on for Staniforth and that proved a masterstroke straight away. The substitute fired from an acute angle inside the Chelsea box and the ball deflected onto the post and in.
Unfortunately, Kerr scored once again almost straight after United’s goal. The forward needed two attempts to get it over the line and although the Blues attacker looked offside, the goal was given.
Alessia Russo made an instant impact off the bench, scoring with her first attempt.
The Reds created several chances after Chelsea’s fourth but just couldn’t hit the target. A brilliant run from Leah Galton ended in a low cross to Hanson in the 55th minute but our no.18 fired wide from inside the Blues area. Galton had a header blocked before Alessia Russo smashed the ball off the crossbar with a powerful strike just after Hayley Ladd had replaced Jackie Groenen in the 65th minute.
Skinner’s team did all they could to cut Chelsea’s advantage but instead it was the visitors who found a fifth and sixth late on through two substitutes. Drew Spence scored their fifth roughly five minutes before full-time before Jessie Fleming scored the final goal of the game as Chelsea came away from Leigh Sports Village with three points on a disappointing afternoon for United.
Leah Galton was lively in the second half but it was Chelsea who could celebrate for three points in the end.
United: Earps; Blundell, Mannion, Thorisdottir, Batlle; Zelem, Groenen (Ladd 65); Hanson, Staniforth (Russo 46), Galton (Jones, 80); Toone
Substitutes: Baggaley, Harris, Boe Risa, Fuso
Goal: Russo 48
Chelsea: Berger; Bright, Carter, Eriksson; Charles (Andersson 58), Ingle, Leopolz, Reiten (Fox 78); Kirby (England 78), Kerr (Spence 82), Harder (Fleming 78)
Substitutes: Musovic, Nouwen, Ji, Telford
Goals: Kirby 2, Harder 25, Kerr 44, 51, Spence 87, Fleming 90
Referee: Kirsty Dowle