Manchester United Women got back to winning ways as they beat Aston Villa 2-1 in the WSL on Sunday.
United made a bright start to the game and Nikita Parris opened the scoring in the 7th minute, heading into the bottom corner from a cross by Hannah Blundell.
Ella Toone, who was making her 150th appearance for the club, almost doubled United’s lead as Lisa Naalsund made a good run down the right and cut it back to Toone but her shot flew over the bar.
United were patient but dominated in all aspects of the game. Their pressure paid off as a parry from Villa goalie Daphne Van Domselaar fell kindly for Parris who made no mistake with the follow up.
Villa came close to launching an attack but United’s defence stood strong and confidently repelled all attacks.
United came again through Geyse on the overlap with Parris, but her shot was saved and it almost fell perfectly for Toone but Villa were alive to the danger.
United began the second half with the same energy they had shown in the first. An early chance fell to Parris to notch a hat trick but was well saved by Van Domselaar who turned it behind for a corner.
Villa were playing much more as a unit as the second half progressed and Jayde Riviere was forced into making a great block.
Moments later, a long range shot came in and Mary Earps came across to push it out for a Villa corner. United had begun to sit back to try and manage the game.
A bizarre penalty decision was awarded to Villa, the referee deeming Lucía Garcia had held on to Rachel Daly during a corner and pointed to the spot.
The United players and fans were livid with the decision. Earps dived the right way and even got fingertips to the strike but couldn’t keep it out.
The game opened up as Villa went all out and had a few chances that went abegging as United lived dangerously.
United fans gave Adriana Leon a hostile reception when she was subbed off and had to walk past the north stand terrace. It came after the former United player had shushed the Reds fans in the reverse fixture.
Moments later as United teased Leon with the score, another former Red, Kirsty Hanson almost bagged an equaliser but Earps turned it behind for a corner.
Deep into injury time, Naalsund worked hard to keep hold of the ball and got a shot away which Van Domselaar had to push over the crossbar.
United had made the second half hard work for themselves but they grinded out the result in the end.
Team: Earps, Blundell, Turner, Le Tissier, Riviere, Naalsund, Zelem, Garcia (Galton), Parris (Williams) Toone (Guerrero), Geyse (Malard)