5 min: Just wide from Toone! That was a fine break from United. Galton found Heath, who made progress down the left and then picked out Toone on the edge of the area. She controlled the ball and lobbed a speculative shot that drifted just wide of the far post. Roebuck wouldn’t have saved it had it been on target.
4 min: Stanway hits the side netting. That was half a chance for City. Mewis overhit a pass towards Stanway that looked to be going out for a goalkick. Batlle kept the ball in play – and in the process gave it to Stanway, who cut inside and dragged a shot into the side-netting.
3 min Ladd’s long-range shot is comfortably held by Roebuck. United have made a decent start.
2 min Press picks up the ball just past the halfway line surges straight at the heart of the City defence. Shet gets past Houghton but is blocked off by Greenwood, which allows Roebuck to come and collect.
1 min Peeeeeep peeeeep! Christen Press gets the game under way for United, who are kicking from left to right as we watch.
The players emerge on a chilly afternoon in Leigh. It’s time for the Manchester derby.
Gareth Taylor’s pre-match thoughts “We’ve had a full week’s training which has allowed us to focus on this game. We just need to play our game – stick to the processes that have made us successful this season. Nothing changes.”
Casey Stoney’s pre-match thoughts “Today won’t define our season but it’s important that we put on a good performance. We want to show what we’re capable of today. I’d argue City are still favourites – very much established, the squad depth they’ve got is unbelievable. This is only our third season so the expectation will be on them. But I think we need to start putting expectation on ourselves and ensure the levels are as high as they were last week.”
This is only the second Manchester derby in the WSL. City won 1-0 at the Etihad on the opening day of last season; the return fixture in March was cancelled because of Covid-19.
Has anyone used the phrase “noisy neighbours” yet?
If you want to know how good these teams are, look at the substitutes never mind the first XIs. Katie Zelem, Lauren James, Lucy Staniforth, Rose Lavelle, Janine Beckie and Caroline Weir are all on the bench.
Man Utd (4-2-3-1) Earps, Batlle, A Turner, M Turner, Galton; Ladd, Groenen; Sigsworth, Toone, Heath; Press.
Substitutes: Ramsey, Okvist, Staniforth, Zelem, James, Hanson, Ross.
Man City (4-3-3) Roebuck; Bronze, Houghton, Greenwood, Stokes; Mewis, Walsh, Coombs; Kelly, White, Stanway.
Substitutes: Bardsley, Bonner, Scott, Beckie, Morgan, Park, Weir, Lavelle.
at 6.41am EST
Hello. Women’s Football Weekend could barely have a more exciting opening fixture: Manchester United v Manchester City from Leigh Sports Village. It’s 1st v 5th, which would have sounded about right at the start of the season – except everybody would have the teams the other way round. Casey Stoney’s United are top of the WSL after a brilliant start to the season that includes a draw with the champions Chelsea and a famous win over Arsenal last weekend.
Gareth Taylor’s star-studded City took a while to get going, though they demolished Bristol City 8-1 last weekend and a win would take them to within two points of United. It would also temporarily quieten those who think the Big Three are in the process of becoming Four. But if United win, that chatter will only increase.
Kick off 12.30pm.
at 6.45am EST