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Women’s Super League: Manchester United come from 2-0 down to draw with Manchester City

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Leaders Manchester United came from two goals down to maintain their unbeaten Women’s Super League start against rivals Manchester City.

Chloe Kelly and Laura Coombs both capitalised on poor United defending to give City a 2-0 lead at the break.

But two-time World Cup winner Tobin Heath pulled a goal back for the hosts after 54 minutes.

Substitute Kirsty Hanson then prodded home a deserved leveller in the 74th minute to complete a famous comeback.

United could have won the game in the 89th minute when Lucy Staniforth’s downward header was cleared off the line by Demi Stokes.

Noisy neighbours United now WSL’s team to beat

United, who had won their past five league games coming into this fixture, moved to the top of the WSL table for the first time thanks to their 1-0 victory over Arsenal last time out.

But it was City who raced out of the blocks in the first period with Alex Greenwood and Georgia Stanway both seeing efforts well saved by Red Devils keeper Mary Earps after Kelly’s opener.

Gareth Taylor’s side could have been three or four goals up at the break, with Kelly and Sam Mewis again going close before Coombs’ deserved second.

But United were a side transformed in the second period and Heath’s powerfully struck goal after a lapse of concentration from the City defence was just reward for their early pressure.

Substitute Hanson then completed the comeback, poking in a scrappy corner with 16 minutes left on the clock.

Both sides pushed for a late winner, the hosts going closest when Staniforth’s goalbound header from a corner was hacked away by Stokes.

City and England captain Steph Houghton ended in the game in pain after getting a knee in the back just before full-time, but Taylor said it was nothing serious.

The draw means the FA Cup winners stay fifth in the WSL table while United remain top, ahead of Arsenal’s match with Chelsea on Sunday.

Casey Stoney
Casey Stoney’s side are unbeaten in their last eight league matches

‘This is massive’

“This is only our third year. Our expectations and visions haven’t changed,” United boss Stoney told BBC Radio Manchester. “We’re just trying to stay in and around (the top) for as long as we can.”

“It’s huge credit to the group, this (result) is massive. You’ve got to get the belief back at half-time and think you can turn it around.

“That was my key message at half-time that we can turn it around if we just tighten up.

“We are in the game at 2-0, we know once we get the first goal we’re back. Then we get the second one and I actually think maybe a little bit longer we might get the third.”

“You’ve got to be really pleased with the point.”

Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor told BBC Radio Manchester:

“Being 2-0 up, being so in control in the first half, having numerous chances, it’s disappointing. We always knew 2-0 was not an easy score line in football to manage.

“I thought it was a classic game of two halves. We completely dominated the first half, played some great stuff and couldn’t carry it on in the second.

“They scored their first goal out of nothing, and then you’re up against it with set-pieces.”

Line-ups

Man Utd Women

  • 27Earps
  • 17Batlle
  • 4Turner
  • 21Turner
  • 11Galton
  • 12Ladd
  • 14Groenen
  • 9SigsworthSubstituted forHansonat 45′minutes
  • 7Toone
  • 77HeathSubstituted forStaniforthat 71′minutes
  • 24PressBooked at 46minsSubstituted forJamesat 55′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Ramsey
  • 3Okvist
  • 10Zelem
  • 16James
  • 18Hanson
  • 19Ross
  • 37Staniforth

Man City Women

  • 26Roebuck
  • 20Bronze
  • 6Houghton
  • 27Greenwood
  • 3Stokes
  • 22Mewis
  • 24Walsh
  • 7CoombsSubstituted forWeirat 85′minutes
  • 9KellyBooked at 45mins
  • 18WhiteSubstituted forBeckieat 76′minutes
  • 10StanwaySubstituted forParkat 88′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Bardsley
  • 4Bonner
  • 8Scott
  • 11Beckie
  • 14Morgan
  • 16Park
  • 19Weir
  • 21Lavelle

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