Man Utd open WSL season with victory over Reading

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Kirsty Hanson scores for Manchester United
Kirsty Hanson scored the first goal of the WSL season in front of 2,111 fans at Leigh Sports Village

Manchester United opened the new Women’s Super League season with victory over Reading in manager Marc Skinner’s first game in charge.

The home fans, back at an unrestricted Leigh Sports Village, were on their feet cheering as Kirsty Hanson slotted home Ella Toone’s decisive pass.

Toone turned provider again after the break as Ona Batlle struck an exquisite long-range effort.

Earlier, Reading’s Brooke Chaplen hit the underside of the crossbar.

Reading believed the ball had crossed the line, but with no goalline technology or video assistant referee in the women’s game, the officials were unable to take a closer look at whether it was a goal or not.

Instead, United capitalised with Batlle firing in a second moments later, sending the home fans into delirium.

Further chances fell for Leah Galton – who missed a glaring half-volley in the first half – as she nodded a header wide at the back post.

Substitute Martha Thomas, making her competitive debut, glanced an effort wide and saw a cross roll inches behind her as she waited unmarked in the centre, before curling a shot past the right post.

There were plenty of promising performances from Skinner’s new signings, with Norwegian midfielder Vilde Boe Risa particularly impressive.

But aside from Chaplen’s effort which hit the crossbar, Reading only had half chances – the midfielder herself striking over the bar from long range in the first half.

Victory sets United on their way for a season where they are pursuing a Champions League qualification spot.

‘Our women’s game can be the best in the world’ – Man Utd boss Skinner

Line-ups

Man Utd Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 27Earps
  • 6Blundell
  • 5Mannion
  • 3Thorisdottir
  • 17Batlle
  • 8RisaSubstituted forRussoat 75′minutes
  • 10Zelem
  • 18Hanson
  • 37StaniforthBooked at 35minsSubstituted forGroenenat 66′minutes
  • 11Galton
  • 7TooneSubstituted forThomasat 66′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Thomas
  • 12Ladd
  • 13Fuso
  • 14Groenen
  • 20Smith
  • 21Turner
  • 23Russo
  • 24Jones
  • 32Baggaley

Reading Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Moloney
  • 2Bryson
  • 14Cooper
  • 5Evans
  • 28Woodham
  • 23Rowe
  • 4Peplow
  • 19Chaplen
  • 11HardingSubstituted forJeonat 71′minutes
  • 12Harries
  • 9Eikeland

Substitutes

  • 6Rose
  • 7Jeon
  • 21Stewart
  • 31Roberts
  • 33Lister
  • 34Wild

Referee:
Abigail Byrne

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Manchester United Women 2, Reading Women 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Manchester United Women 2, Reading Women 0.

  3. Jackie Groenen (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Foul by Rachel Rowe (Reading Women).

  5. Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Gemma Evans.

  6. Attempt missed. Jackie Groenen (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.

  7. Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Deanna Cooper.

  8. Attempt missed. Martha Thomas (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jackie Groenen.

  9. Offside, Manchester United Women. Alessia Russo tries a through ball, but Martha Thomas is caught offside.

  10. Attempt missed. Martha Thomas (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Kirsty Hanson.

  11. Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Jeon Ga-Eul.

  12. Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Lily Woodham.

  13. Substitution, Manchester United Women. Alessia Russo replaces Vilde Risa.

  14. Attempt missed. Jeon Ga-Eul (Reading Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Emma Harries with a cross.

  15. Substitution, Reading Women. Jeon Ga-Eul replaces Natasha Harding.

  16. Foul by Aoife Mannion (Manchester United Women).

  17. Emma Harries (Reading Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Kirsty Hanson (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Foul by Rachel Rowe (Reading Women).

  20. Substitution, Manchester United Women. Jackie Groenen replaces Lucy Staniforth.