Manchester United 5-0 Aston Villa
Report by Johnathan Stack with EXCLUSIVE pitchside photos from Suvadeep Biswas at Old Trafford (4/12/22).
Above: Ella Toone (left) and Alessia Russo celebrate Russo’s goal that put United 3-0 up yesterday. Photo: Suvadeep Biswas for Impetus.
Manchester United beat Aston Villa 5-0 as they looked to continue to push on in the WSL title race.
It was a record attendance for a home Manchester United Women’s game with just over 30,000 fans turning out at Old Trafford yesterday.
United last time out won at the Emirates, with an incredible stoppage-time winner from Alessia Russo in a great 3-2 comeback victory. While for Villa last time out in the WSL they beat Reading 3-1 at home.
Villa had a great chance early doors as Alisha Lehmann was played through with a ball over the top, but she couldn’t find the final pass.
Leah Galton played a dangerous ball in the box as Hannah Hampton couldn’t grab hold of the ball but that in turn took it away from Nikita Parris.
United broke the deadlock and took the lead in the 13th minute as Ona Batlle was played through down the right by Ella Toone and her cross was eventually bundled home by United Skipper Katie Zelem after Alessia Russo couldn’t get to the ball.
United were comfortable and in control of the game, having much of the possession as they sought a second goal.
The hosts doubled their lead on 28 minutes as Russo received the ball from a throw-in, she then held up the ball and her quick pass to Toone set up away who then played Galton through on goal and stuck the ball past Hampton to make it 2-0.
Villa had a great chance to pull a goal back from Freya Gregory as a Lehmann cross found its way to her in the United box, but her shot was well saved by Mary Earps.
Villa thought they had pulled one back just before half-time, but Lehmann’s effort was ruled out for offside, as Gregory was deemed to of gone too early as she was played in for her initial shot, the TV replays showed it was extremely close.
A minute into the second half, United could have and should have made it 3-0 as Toone was played into the penalty area and her pass across the six-yard box was missed by Russo.
Five minutes later Russo then did get her goal as a great passage of play down the right from Batlle and Parris who played Toone into the box and her low cross across the six-yard box was smashed home by Russo who wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice made it 3-0 to Manchester United.
Lehmann then dispossessed Zelem and her long-range effort forced Earps into a diving save to maintain that clean sheet.
United nearly made it 4-0 as a pass from Ella Toone set Martha Thomas away down the right and her ball into the box for Galton to shoot, but it made its way back to Thomas who then forced Hampton into a save.
Then it was 4-0 to Manchester United with 15 minutes left to play as yet again a great United move down the right saw Martha Thomas play Ona Batlle into the box and her thunderous strike was too strong for Hampton as it clattered against the crossbar and post on its way into the back of the net.
There was then a controversial moment as Galton was played through on goal and was fouled on the edge of the area by Villa defender Anna Patten but quickly got back up and slotted the ball home, yet the referee Louise Saunders had already blown up for the free kick instead of allowing play to continue as waiting to see what comes of it. The resulting free kick was hit into the wall.
United capped off a dominant performance by making it 5-0 in stoppage-time with another move down the right as Batlle made her way into the box and cut it back for Rachel Williams to score her first United goal since making a move to the club from Tottenham.
Manchester United were dominant from start to finish and outplayed Aston Villa across the park. They could have won by a lot more if truth be told as Hannah Hampton made some great saves in the Villa goal.
After the game Marc Skinner was full of praise for this team, saying “The crowd’s magnificent, we love performing in from of our fans it is huge for us. Believe it or not as a group, we are happy with the result, but we could have won it by more. We are setting our standards that high that actually there were times in this game where I felt we could have been more clinical, I felt that we could have been cleaner with the way we move.
“At half time we wanted more from ourselves and that is a great sign for us. The third goal is what we want the movement, the play, the composure, the manipulation of the opponent that is what we want as a group. It’s a wonderful occasion, we love performing in front of our fans but it’s a great sign that we want more than even our performance today.”
More of Suvadeep Biswas’ EXCLUSIVE pitchside photos from Old Trafford:
Teams: MANCHESTER UNITED: Earps, Batlle, Blundell, Toone, Zelem (C), Galton, Ladd, Le Tissier, Turner, Parris, Russo. Substitutes: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Boe Risa, Thomas, Garcia, Leon, Tounkara, Williams, Staniforth.
Scorers: Zelem 13′, Galton 28′, Russo 51′, Batlle 76′, Williams 90+3
ASTON VILLA: Hampton, Mayling, Corsie(C), Lehmann, Daly, Dali, Turner, Patten, Gregory, Blindkilde, Pacheco. Substitutes: Leat, Gielnik, McLoughlin, Goodwin.
Referee: Louise Saunders.