Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United
by Johnathan Stack at The Etihad Stadium for Impetus (12/12/22).
Above: Laura Coombs celebrates her equaliser for Manchester City. Photo: Manchester City Women.
Manchester City came from behind and keep their unbeaten Women’s Super League record against Manchester United intact after drawing 1-1 with their rivals in front of more than 44,000 fans, a club record for Manchester City, and a record for a women’s game at the Etihad.
City were back playing in the main stadium for the first time since 2019, and were rewarded with the second-highest attendance in Barclays Women’s Super League history.
United went into the match, the final league fixture for both teams in 2022, knowing a win would temporarily move them level on points with league leaders Chelsea. A win for City would see them move onto level points with United.
But despite the occasion, it was the away side who scored first. Leah Galton opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark as she received the ball on the left, cut inside, and played a nice one-two with Ella Toone on the edge of the box before slotting the ball past Ellie Roebuck.
Into the second half, City came out knowing that they had to find a goal from somewhere with bragging rights on the line. They took the opportunity when it was presented to them.
Chloe Kelly was able to send in a cross from the right side of the pitch which was missed by the United defence and made its way to Laura Coombs just yards from the goal. The Manchester City number seven was left with the easiest of finishes to head her side level.
Both teams had good chances to win the match as both Khadija Shaw and Martha Thomas had headers well saved by Mary Earps and Roebuck as the game ended level.
After the game, Manchester City head coach Gareth Taylor spoke of his pride in being involved in another big event in this WSL season saying, “Today was a bit of a flagship moment, we had it previously in 2019 but you can see the interest that this game drew up,” he said.
“We’ll reflect and see if it was a success, and then if it has, we’ll look to do it more often. We’ve seen it more in the south with Chelsea using their venue, Arsenal and Tottenham. For us it’s great and a real step forward. Hopefully, everyone sees it as a real success. I think (playing at the Etihad more regularly) would help. You’d see hopefully a more normal type of performance than maybe what we saw in the first half because it was completely new.”
Taylor went on to say that he thinks his side would benefit more if they played in the main stadium in the future saying “The pitch dimensions are the same as the CFA (Academy Stadium) but it looks and feels bigger, bigger stadium and crowd, spaces look massive for both teams.
“I believe if we’re able to use this as a venue more often we’ll do amazing, especially the way we played and the method we use, it’d help us a lot. First half was a bit new to us, we tried to acclimatise as best we could. We couldn’t train here yesterday due to the weather conditions.
The WSL returns in January after a Christmas and New Year break.
Teams: MANCHESTER CITY: Roebuck, Casparij, Alexandri, Greenwood, Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Castellanos, Coombs, Kelly, Shaw, Hemp. Substitutes: MacIver, Stokes, Houghton, Fowler, Angeldahl, Raso, Morgan, Kennedy, Blakstad.
Scorer: Coombs 58′.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Earps, Batlle, Blundell, Toone, Zelem, Galton, Ladd, Le Tissier, Turner, Parris, Russo. Substitutes: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Tounkara, Boe Risa, Moore, Staniforth, L. Garcia, Thomas, Williams.
Scorer: Galton 27′.
Referee: Abigail Byrne.