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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Rob Smyth

Manchester United 0-0 Everton: Women’s Super League – as it happened

Manchester United's Alessia Russo rues a missed chance.
Manchester United's Alessia Russo rues a missed chance. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Full time: Man Utd 0-0 Everton

Peep peep! A frustrating afternoon for Manchester United, who will lose the leadership of the WSL unless Spurs stage an unlikely comeback against Chelsea. United were totally dominant for the last hour of the game, but Lucia Garcia hit the bar and Ella Toone the post. Overall United missed a number of good chances, while Courtney Brosnan was an oasis of calm in the Everton goal. Thanks for your company and emails – bye!


90+6 min Beever-Jones is booked for timewasting.

90+4 min United’s last chance. Zelem’s booming free-kick from the right leads to a desperate scramble in the six-yard box, where Ladd has a shot blocked andmn then Brosnan throws herself on top of the ball like a winger scoring a try. That should be it.

It’s now Spurs 1-3 Chelsea, thanks to Guro Reiten.

90+1 min The indefatigable Batlle wins yet another corner for United, their tenth. Zelem goes across to take it, and Brosnan comes through the crowd to claim superbly.

90 min Blundell’s fast cross comes at an awkward height for Russo, who can’t steer a header towards goal. There will be four minutes of added time.

90 min Yet another low cross from Batlle is booted away at the near post. Everton have ridden their luck, true, but they have also defended admirably.

88 min Toone’s dangerous inswinging cross towards Russo is headed away superbly by Sevecke.

87 min United stayed patient for so long, trusting the process and all that, but now they are starting to look a little desperate and frustrated.

86 min: Everton substitution Elise Stenevik replaces Katja Snoeijs, which suggests Everton would be very happy with a draw. And quite right too.

84 min Chris Redston has sent in the below. A) You should read it. B) One of these teams should score a goal.

Rainforest Trust UK are a charity partner of the Green Football Weekend, and they are inviting fans to pledge a small donation for every goal scored in the Women’s Super League and Premier League over the weekend. All money raised will be used to protect threatened rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon. It only costs 75p to save half a football pitch of rainforest per goal scored - please click here to find out more and to make your pledge.


81 min Another clever pass from Toone releases Williams on the left. This time her cross is too deep for Russo, who collects the ball on the other side and flings it back into the box. Brosnan, who has had a fine game, comes off her line to claim with authority.

80 min The corner is punched away by Earps as far as Snoeijs, who shoots over from the edge of the D.

80 min At the other end, Park flips a cross towards Christiansen, forcing Batlle to concede a corner. Everton suddenly look dangerous on the break.

79 min Toone’s beautiful reverse pass releases Williams on the left side of the area, but her low cross is too close to Brosnan.

77 min: United substitution Rachel Williams replaces Lucia Garcia.

75 min Everton fancy this all of a sudden. They’re had more dangerous attacks in the last five minutes than they had in the previous 70.

72 min: What a chance for Everton! Le Tissier does well to get in front of the breaking Beever-Jones but then plays a dodgy backpass that goes straight to the unmarked Park on the edge of the United area. She should shoot first-time but takes a touch, and then another touch, and then another. Eventually she is driven wide by Earps and a recovering defender, and sprays a shot past the near post from a very tight angle.


72 min Zelem has a pop from 25 yards. It’s a good effort – she strikes the ball so sweetly – but drifts a few yards over the bar.

71 min Here’s the WSL table as things stand. Chelsea lead Spurs 2-1 at half-time.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Chelsea Women 12 24 31
2 Man Utd Women 12 25 29
3 Man City Women 12 14 26
4 Arsenal Women 10 20 25
5 Everton Women 12 4 19


70 min United have won every league game this season about the have-nots, so it will be a blow if they drop two or even three points today.

As if to remind them of the latter scenario, Everton have their first shot on target. George feeds the ball into Park, who clips a shot from a tight angle that is comfortably saved by Earps.

69 min The resulting corner is half cleared to Toone, who thrashes over from 12 yards.

68 min The substitute Parris, who has started on the right with Garcia moving to the other side, gets round the back of the Everton defence to win a corner.

67 min: Everton substitution Izzy Christiansen replaces Karen Holmgaard.

67 min: Man Utd substitution Nikita Parris replaces Leah Garton.

66 min: Great chance for Ladd! This is getting silly. Russo’s cross from the right isn’t properly cleared at the near post by Everton. Galton collects and lays the ball back to Ladd, who slices high and wide from the edge of the area.


65 min: Good save by Brosnan! Russo sprays a fine pass out to Batlle on the right. She moves into the area and angles a cross towards Zelem, who pings a first-time volley that is pushed away above her head by Brosnan.


63 min For all United’s pressure, and at times the game has been comically one-sided, Courtney Brosnan has only had two saves to make. That’s two more than Mary Earps, but still.

62 min Blundell’s low shot from the edge of the area dribbles through to Zelem on the six-yard line, but she takes a split-second too long on the ball and that allows an Everton defender to clear.

61 min Toone flips a pass over the top to Galton, who waits for the ball to drop and hits a first-time shot that is well blocked by the substitute Hope. The pressure on Everton is relentless.

60 min Batlle’s deep cross is headed up in the air and in the general direction of goal by Russo. Brosnan is quickly off her line to grab the ball.

58 min: Great chance for Blundell! Zelem’s crossfield pass is beautifully controlled on the run by Garcia. She moves further infield and then pokes an angled pass to the unmarked Blundell on the left side of the area. Blundell runs round the ball but then whips a curling shot straight at Brosnan.

Manchester United's Hannah Blundell places the ball.
Manchester United's Hannah Blundell places the ball. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images/Reuters


56 min: Triple substitution for Everton Clare Wheeler, Hanna Benninson and Lucy Hope replace Megan Finnigan, Nicoline Sorensen and Aurora Galli.

52 min When Russo’s cross is only half cleared, Ladd’s stinging follow-up is desperately blocked. It’s a matter of time before United score.

51 min Galton cuts inside dangerously from the left but then slashes a shot high and wide with her left foot.


50 min United have picked up where they left off before half-time, with Everton really struggling to stay in the game. Toone’s floated cross just evades Garcia at the far post, with George doing well to get between her and the ball.

47 min: Toone hits the post! Blundell plays a superb pass inside Finnigan for the onrushing Galton. She cuts across the line of the penalty area and finds Toone, whose low shot from 15 yards beats the diving Brosnan and hits the outside of the far post.

46 min Peep peep!

It’s now Spurs 1-2 Chelsea in the other early game. Beth England equalised against her old club but Lauren James has just put Chelsea back in front.

Half-time reading

Half time: Man Utd 0-0 Everton

And now Everton can breathe. After an even start to the game, they were hammered in the last 10 minutes of the half. But they emerged unscathed, thanks mainly to United’s profligacy, and they are still right in this game.

44 min Galton’s cross finds Toone near the penalty spot. She shows superb composure in a tight space to tee up Russo, whose fierce shot is blocked by Finnigan (I think).

42 min I can’t remember the last time Everton crossed the halfway line. The first half an hour or so was even, but since then it’s been like a training match: attack versus defence.


41 min: Chance for Russo! Everton really, really need half-time. Garcia’s cutback is desperately cleared, then Batlle’s low ball into the box is driven just wide by Russo. That was a great chance for a player of her quality – Russo was seven yards out and, once she muscled her way in front of Bjorn, she should have scored.

Alessia Russo of Manchester United in action.
Alessia Russo of Manchester United in action. Photograph: Charlotte Tattersall/MUFC/Manchester United/Getty Images


39 min Another decent chance for United, with Ladd dragging a snapshot wide of the far post from 15 yards.

The other early game, Spurs v Chelsea, kicked off at 12.30pm. Chelsea are already in front thanks to a goal from Jess Carter.

38 min: Good save by Brosnan! United are really pressing now. Toone’s cross from the right is pushed away at full stretch by Brosnan, who gets to her feet to block Zelem’s follow-up.

36 min: Garcia hits the bar! That would have been a brilliant team, goal. United passed the ball out from the back, through midfield and then into Toone. She cut inside and played a devastating angled ball to the unmarked Garcia, who took a touch and then rattled a shot off the top of the bar from close range. She should have scored.

34 min Blundell plays a nice-two with Galton, forcing Finnigan to come across and concede a corner. United take it short to Batlle, who pings a drive over the bar from 20 yards.

33 min United are starting to pin Everton back, though they are still struggling to create clear chances. This is turning into a good test for them.

31 min Toone plays a good through pass to Galton, forcing Brosnan to come a long way from her line to dive at Galton’s feet. Good goalkeeping.

29 min Zelem’s corner is only half cleared. Batlle launches it back towards goal, where Brosnan holds the ball well under pressure from Turner.

27 min Sorensen beats Zelem on the right and drives a brilliant low cross Park in the six-yard box, but Batlle nips in front of her to clear. That’s outstanding defending.

25 min We’ve had just the one shot on target, Russo’s dribbler in the 18th minute.

23 min Batlle’s deep cross is taken off the head of Toone (I think) by Finnigan. Good defending.

22 min It’s still very tight, with no big chances for either side. It hasn’t been a defensive game, quite the contrary; it just hasn’t happened for either team in the final third.

18 min Now Garcia tees up Russo, who mistimes a shot from about 22 yards that dribbles through to Brosnan.

17 min Russo, near the halfway line on the right, curls a marvellous pass around Sevecke towards Galton. For a second it looks like Galton is through on goal but Sevecke just manages to poke the ball back to the keeper Brosnan, who belts it clear.

15 min Nothing much to report. Everton are certainly holding their own at the moment.

11 min Everton look pretty confident on the ball. Too confident at times: Park again loses it in a dangerous area, this time to Batlle, but the attack peters out.


8 min Park’s dodgy pass goes straight to Russo, 25 yards from goal. She charges into the area and hits a shot that deflects towards Ladd on the edge of the area. Her shot also takes a deflection and spins behind for a corner.

6 min: Chance for Everton! The first corner begets a second, which leads to a good chance for Sevecke. She got up early to flick header across goal that drifted a few yards wide of the far post.

4 min Everton’s first attack leads to a corner, with Sorensen’s dangerous cross put behind by Millie Turner.


3 min There was talk of Everton playing a back three but it looks like a pretty standard 4-4-2 formation.

Manchester United (4-2-3-1) Earps; Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Zelem, Ladd; L Garcia, Toone, Galton; Russo.

Everton (4-4-2) Brosnan; Finnigan, Bjorn, Sevecke, George; Sorensen, K Holmgaard, Galli, Park; Beever-Jones, Snoeijs.

2 min Toone wins an early corner for United on the left. Zelem’s corner is headed away by Finnigan, but Everton’s break is thwarted by Blundell.

1 min After a minute’s silence in memory of the Munich air disaster, which happened 65 years ago tomorrow, Everton get the match under way.

Manchester United players pay tribute to those that died in the Munich air disaster.
Manchester United players pay tribute to those that died in the Munich air disaster. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images/Reuters


Here come the players. And here’s a reminder of the teams.

Manchester United (4-2-3-1) Earps; Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Zelem, Ladd; L Garcia, Toone, Galton; Russo.
Substitutes: Baggaley, Mannion, Thorisdottir, Tounkara, Boe Risa, Cascarino, Parris, Thomas, Williams.

Everton (possible 3-5-2) Brosnan; Finnigan, Sevecke, George; Sorensen, K Holmgaard, Bjorn, Galli, Park; Snoeijs, Beever-Jones.
Substitutes: Henderson, Wheeler, Christiansen, Bennison, Hope, Maier, Stenevik.

Referee Emily Heaslip.


Rare is the transfer window in which the biggest story is a move that didn’t happen.

Team news

United make one change from their last league game, the 1-0 win at Reading a fortnight ago. Leah Galton replaces Nikita Parris as the left-sided attacker.

Everton beat West Ham 3-0 on the same day, though they subsequently lost to Birmingham in the FA Cup. Brian Sorensen makes four changes from that West Ham game: Courtney Brosnan, Nathalie Bjorn, the exciting Aggie Beever-Jones and Aurora Galli are in for Emily Ramsey (who is unavailable against her parent club), Lucy Hope, Hanna Bennison and Clare Wheeler.



When Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, you’d have got long odds on United’s next league title being won by the women’s team – especially as it didn’t exist at the time. Since they were founded in 2018, United have established themselves as the best of the rest. They won the Championship in 2018-19 and finished fourth in each of their three WSL seasons. Now they want more.

This season, for the first time, it feels like the Big Three has become the Big Four. United aspire to something greater this year - Champions League qualification, certainly, which comes with finishing in the top three, and maybe even the WSL title.

They are top of the table at the halfway point, a nose ahead of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal in what could be a title race for the ages, and their commitment to the here and now was shown by the decision to reject two world-record bids from Arsenal for Alessia Russo by Arsenal. United may well lose Russo for nothing when her contract expires in the summer, but it’s a worthwhile gamble given what they could achieve in the next few months.

The second half of United’s season starts with a home game against Everton this afternoon. Everton’s young team are having a good season and sit in fifth place, though their record against the Big Four is pretty dreadful, with only one point in the four seasons since United were promoted to the WSL.

United will expect to win. Given how tight the title race is likely to be, they need to.

Kick off 12pm

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Man Utd Women 11 25 28
2 Chelsea Women 11 23 28
3 Man City Women 12 14 26
4 Arsenal Women 10 20 25
5 Everton Women 11 4 18


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