Manchester United women’s unbeaten run has come to an end as they lost 3-1 to current Champions Chelsea in front of a record attendance at Leigh Sports Village.
The first five minutes saw both teams trying to hold onto possession but sloppy mistakes from both sides stopped either from stealing a march.
The first chance of the half came for United as Russo made a brilliant run, she cut it back to Ladd, whose shot was tame. The keeper couldn’t hold it but Parris could only find the side netting with the follow up and got injured in the process.
Chelsea were pushing forward and got into a couple of good positions but, to the relief of United’s back line, they were flagged offside.
A corner for Chelsea was pushed out and eventually plucked out of the sky by Earps.
A late challenge led to a United free kick, a good delivery by Zelem had to be headed behind by the Chelsea defence.
The fans got excited about United’s first corner but Zelem couldn’t find a United player.
Earps was forced into a good save just over half an hour in, tipping it over the bar for a corner.
Some high pressing from United almost paid off when the Reds forced the Chelsea keeper into a mistake, but Toone couldn’t put her foot through it and Chelsea recovered.
6 minutes of injury time ensued and Chelsea launched an attack, but Earps was alive to the danger and once again collected and held the ball well.
United started the second half on the front foot as Hayley Ladd delivered a good cross in, but it was just a little too high for Russo to get her head on it.
Chelsea had a chance to break but United’s defence managed to track back in time to stop James from getting her shot away.
United had a great chance at the other end thanks to Russo’s persistence as she kept on running at defenders, but no one was there to turn her cross in.
Sloppy play at the back led to an easy shot for Sam Kerr and United were behind for the first time this season.
Moments later and James came back to haunt the Reds as she slotted in to make it two.
It was wave after wave now of Chelsea attacks and again Earps was called upon, diving to her left to beat a shot away and Kerr’s follow up was tame and collected easily.
Against the run of play United pulled one back, Russo kept her cool as she was one on one with the keeper and calmly slotted it into the far corner.
United were hungry for a second as the fans were re-energised.
The Reds sustained pressure from Chelsea and had a brilliant chance of their own but Zelem’s powerful strike from the edge of the area was just over.
Maya Le Tissier put in a great block to deny Chelsea a third, but in injury time a poor clearance landed at the feet of the Blues and a deflection took it out of reach of Earps.
It was all over for the Reds. Their winning streak had come to an end.
Team: Earps, Blundell, Thorisdottir, Turner, Le Tissier, Zelem, Toone, Ladd, Galton, Parris (Thomas), Russo (Williams)