Suzanne Wrack’s verdict has landed. Be about your business: clickity click! Thanks for reading this MBM. Stay safe and warm, everyone. Nighty night.
Casey Stoney’s verdict. “It’s a big one in terms of the title race. But that was never our ambition. Our ambition was to make the top three, and now we’ve made that difficult, but it’s still in our hands. It’s very important we start picking up points. We’ve lost too many games this month, and at this level, if you drop too many points you put yourself in jeopardy. We’ve got big players out at the moment, but I still thought we had a squad capable of getting something, so it wasn’t good enough.”
Lucy Bronze talks to BT Sport. “It’s my first home derby, so it was kind of special to kick off the scoring. Winning the game, a clean sheet, it was kind of a fairytale game for me personally. Caz Weir’s goal was probably a lot better than mine. That was pretty special! It was quite Eric Cantonaesque, which is quite ironic! We worked hard for all the goals and could have had a couple more, but it was nothing less than we expected. If we keep winning all our games, we will finish the league with the title. We’re ready to compete in all competitions at the highest level.”
FULL TIME: Manchester City 3-0 Manchester United
City leapfrog United into second place in the WSL, two points behind leaders and reigning champions Chelsea. United didn’t play badly at all; it’s just that City were magnificent. A confident display capped by a goal of swaggering brilliance by Caroline Weir. The goal of the season, surely.
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90 min +3: Lavelle worms down the left and reaches the byline, standing up an inviting cross at the far post. Bronze and Stanway get in each other’s road, and United clear. A four-goal spanking would be unfair on United, even if City are good value for their win.
90 min +1: The first of five added minutes passes by without incident. Everyone just wants to hear the final whistle now. It is freezing, after all, and we’re done here.
90 min: Coombs replaces Caroline Weir, whose goal will be replayed until the rapture. It was such a delicate dink from the edge of the box, crisply chipped yet so gently floated. A work of art.
86 min: That was breathtakingly brilliant. Such composure and skill. Lavelle replaces White.
SENSATIONAL GOAL! City 3-0 United (Weir 84)
This is a world-class goal! United are in the business of clearing the ball. Toone gives it away to Weir, 25 yards out on the left. Weir takes up possession and spins Groenen in one elegant move, then spots Earps a yard or two off her line. From the edge of the box, she floats an inch-perfect diagonal chip over the keeper and into the top right. Good luck seeing a better goal this season.
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82 min: Happily, Roebuck is fit to continue. Her first act is to defend a corner, and she watches Thorisdottir head harmlessly wide right.
81 min: But the City keeper has hurt her neck in doing so. A good long once-over from the doctor.
80 min: Press chases a long pass down the left and tries to round Roebuck, who has raced off her line as is her wont. It looks as though Press is going to work enough space to roll a shot into the unguarded goal from an angle, but Roebuck springs up and fingertips out for a corner.
78 min: Hemp intercepts a loose United pass and drives towards their box. She lays off to Stanway, who hits a pearler towards the top left. The ball smacks poor Amy Turner flush in the face. The entire stadium shudders. That would have floored most heavyweight boxers. Turner gets up, as hardy and determined as they come, and helps to defend the resulting corner.
76 min: Kelly snaffles the ball out on the right and slips infield for Weir, who dances around in the United area, trying to sort her feet out for a shot. There’s no time, as Amy Turner – who has had an evening of highs and lows – comes across to dispossess her with ease.
74 min: City are scenting blood now. White creams a shot towards the top right. Just wide. Then Kelly drives in from the right and is unceremoniously stopped by a hard-as-nails tackle from Batlle. Corner. United really need to defend this one.
73 min: United try to respond quickly, Press wedging down the inside-left channel, nearly releasing Sigsworth. Bronze reads the danger, sticking in a foot and hoicking out for a corner. Nothing comes of the set piece.
GOAL! City 2-0 United (Hemp 71)
They’ll have to go for it now. Kelly surges down the right, breaks past Amy Turner and shoots hard from a tight angle. Earps parries, but the ball drops to Hemp, who hits a first-time slapshot towards the top right. The ball spoons up, off the top of Amy Turner’s head, and into the top right!
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70 min: United make their second change of the evening. Ladd, one dubious challenge away from a second yellow card, is replaced by Sigsworth. An attacker for a midfielder; United are going for it.
66 min: Bronze is in the wars, this time clipped to the floor by Hanson. This game is turning into an entertaining scrap.
65 min: Another break for United as the free kick’s sent into the box and comes off Amy Turner’s head for a corner. The ref awards a goal kick.
64 min: So having said that, Bronze dribbles hard down the right and draws a free kick from Ladd, who hung out a cynical leg. No second yellow, much to Bronze’s irritation. Ladd has got away with one there.
63 min: Hemp and Weir combine down the left, nearly opening United up, but Thorisdottir stands firm. Nearly all of City’s attacks are coming down this flank.
61 min: United come again, a rejuvenated Toone dribbling down the right and sending in a deep cross. Press wins a corner with a snapshot. City half clear the corner, but Toone comes again down the right. Her cross is dangerous, hit high towards the near post, but there’s nobody in red to take advantage. This is much better from United.
59 min: Happily for United, Toone drags herself up and limps on. She looks good to go. From the resulting free kick, Amy Turner falls to the floor in the box amid a melee. No penalty.
58 min: Greenwood clatters into Toone’s ankle, earning a yellow. Toone is down, shaking her head.
56 min: Thorisdottir launches long down the right. Press hares after the ball. Roebuck races out of her area but doesn’t get there. Press loops over the keeper from 40 yards, but she’s operating at full speed and full stretch, and hoicks the ball well over the bar. That’s a much better effort than this entry makes it sound. City hearts were in mouths there.
54 min: Hanson goes in late on Bronze, shouldering her to the ground. The referee gives the United sub a good talking-to.
52 min: Weir should send Hemp tearing off into space down the left, but gives the pass too much juice. Goal kick, but City are causing United all sorts of bother down the left flank. Thorisdottir has her work cut out.
50 min: Hanson slips a ball down the left for Presss, who zips in from the flank, past Houghton, and shoots towards the bottom left from a tight-ish angle. She gets plenty behind her shot, but Roebuck is well-positioned to claim. Better from United.
48 min: The Hemp-White combo nearly clicks again, but Millie Turner gets in the road to block before White can do any serious damage.
47 min: Sub-zero temperatures in Greater Manchester, but it doesn’t take City long to warm up again. Hemp, who has been effervescent this evening, makes down the left and whips into the box for White, who swivels and sends a fierce shot towards the bottom right. Earps does very well to parry.
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HALF TIME: Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
Hanson is immediately in the thick of it, bursting down the left and sending in a low cross that causes momentary panic in the City defence. But that’s the end of the first half. City go in at the break a goal to the good. They’ve been well worth it. United have struggled up front, and on paper the loss of Galton won’t help, but that late cameo from Hanson may give them some hope for the second, and City pause for thought.
45 min: Kirsty Hanson comes on in place of the stricken Galton. There will be two added minutes.
43 min: Galton’s taken a bad knock to her left ankle. It looks serious. She can’t put any weight on it, and she’s helped off slowly by the physios. Pain etched across her face, a few tears. United haven’t got a sub ready, so will defend the corner with ten women.
41 min: A rumble in the United box. Hemp tries to force something goalwards. It’s deflected out for a corner on the left. But before it can be taken, there’s a pause as Galton receives treatment.
39 min: Hemp crosses from the left. White meets it first time, but her shot hits the back of Amy Turner. White meets the rebound with a stunning bicycle kick, aimed towards the bottom right. Earps is down quickly to smother on the line. That’s sensational football all round.
38 min: Hemp robs Zelem and romps down the inside left. She’s got Kelly to her left and White in the middle. United are very much on the back foot, but Hemp undoes all her good work with a clunker of a pass towards Kelly. Goal kick.