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Match report: Aston Villa 2-3 Manchester United

by Zoe Hodges

Manchester United come from behind to beat Villa 3-2 this evening to extend their lead on top of the table.

It was a tough game, with United coming from behind twice and Villa rattling the woodwork twice.

United were only in the lead for about thirty seconds of the entire match, but it was enough to take all three points back to Manchester.

The first chance fell for United’s captain Katie Zelem, but her shot went straight into the arms of Hannah Hampton.

It was Villa who made the breakthrough though from a corner, Rachel Daly with a powerful header into the top corner.

United had a few attempts to get back into it, but their chances lacked conviction, until eight minutes later.

Batlle played a superb ball picking out the onrushing Galton, who came sliding in at the far post to get the equaliser.

It was end to end stuff as both teams showed an attacking threat. A corner for United caused Villa problems as they cleared it off the line straight to Galton, who smashed it goalwards, but it was well saved by Hampton.

Villa nosed ahead again though as Pacheco delivered to Daly, whose sublime first-time strike nestled into the far corner of the net.

Hayley Ladd thought she’d equalised just before half-time but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Hampton, although it looked like she fell over her own player.

Villa had a chance to make it three in stoppage time of the first half when they were given a free kick by the corner flag, but luckily Nobbs’ shot was just wide.

In the second half United played with a sense of urgency. Parris went on the attack but her cross went behind for a goal kick.

Moments later, Russo had a chance but her header floated over the bar.

United were giving Villa too much space, especially Daly, and she got a shot off again that rattled the crossbar.

It was the wake-up call the Reds needed and at the other end Parris headed in a cross from Blundell. She hurried her team back to the centre, she could sense that there were more goals in this game with just under half an hour to play.

At the other end, Galton was having to get stuck in a lot tonight, helping out her defence as she cleared away another Villa corner.

United switched their entire attack in what was a bold and risky move from Skinner. It almost paid off as Thomas found herself onside and in loads of space, but it was like she hadn’t decided whether to square it or slot it into the far corner and it rolled out for a goal kick.

Toone had the next chance but her last involvement in the game was a shot that Hampton clung onto well.

Deep into injury time with United’s title hopes fading, they won a free-kick. It was a superb delivery by Katie Zelem and substitute Millie Turner rose the highest. Hampton could only watch as her looping header found the corner!

Turner peeled away for a knee-slide celebration, her teammates piling on top of her. The bench and back room staff erupted – complete euphoria for the visitors as they clinched the three points at the death.

The team celebrated with the away supporters at the final whistle. It was huge three points to keep their dream of making history alive.

Team: Earps, Mannion (Turner 87), Batlle, Le Tissier, Blundell, Zelem, Toone (Boe Risa 91), Ladd, Russo (Williams 77), Parris (Thomas 77), Galton (Garcia 77)

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