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Manchester United set season-high WSL attendance record as Alessia Russo leads comeback win over Everton

Manchester United 3 Everton 1

Manchester United Women definitely checked out dwelling of their Old Trafford environment as they shone enjoying in entrance of followers on the 74,140-capacity stadium for the primary time, and in doing so proved why the continuing discussions across the floor’s redevelopment ought to embody in-depth discussions about the place greatest to dwelling Marc Skinner’s facet.

Telegraph Sport revealed earlier in March that constructing a smaller stadium adjoining to a brand new Old Trafford for the ladies’s workforce’s major use is without doubt one of the choices obtainable to the membership – with their present video games normally performed at Leigh Sports Village – and Sunday’s memorable afternoon not solely delivered a 3-1 victory over Everton thanks to 2 headers from player-of-the-match Alessia Russo, however was additionally proof that they too advantage a say within the long-term plans.

The attendance, confirmed as 20,241, was the biggest of the Women’s Super League season to date. It additionally obliterated United’s earlier girls’s club-record crowd of 4,835 from a League Cup sport towards Reading in August 2018, which was their first dwelling fixture after reforming their senior girls’s facet that summer time following a 13-year hiatus. Sunday’s turnout additionally smashed their earlier greatest in a house WSL fixture, which was the three,797 who attended October’s Manchester derby earlier this time period.

The girls’s workforce had been right here earlier than, as soon as, and precisely a year in the past, however at a time when followers weren’t permitted inside any grounds due to Covid-19 guidelines. Ahead of this sport the membership fully redecorated the stadium’s perimeter with signage and billboards, together with an infinite picture of the ladies’s gamers plastered throughout the outside of the East Stand above the membership’s Megastore, an ample sign of a historic second for the membership.

On the pitch, although, after 4 minutes, issues weren’t going to script. A very good ball down the correct from France’s Kenza Dali set Claire Emslie free, and the Scotland winger had the tempo to remain away from the United backline and discover the far backside nook with a medical low end to place the guests forward and stun the house crowd.

Skinner’s workforce have been the stronger although and grew into the sport properly, Martha Thomas forcing Sandy MacIver into a wise response save earlier than a deserved leveller got here. England striker Russo equalised when she backtracked to fulfill full-back Ona Batlle’s cross and her looping header simply beat MacIver.

The hosts’ confidence grew within the second half and midfielder Katie Zelem fired down the center to make it 2-1 from the penalty spot after a transparent foul by Everton’s half-time substitute Lucy Graham on Thomas. Soon afterwards the ball was within the web for 3-1, however Thomas’ purpose was incorrectly disallowed for offside, when replays confirmed Maria Thorisdottir had been performed onside within the build-up and the trouble ought to have stood. Alas, VAR will not be but in power within the WSL.

The hosts’ third purpose did finally come when Russo – once more with the ball behind her – did properly to go in from a nook and web her fourth purpose in as many matches. The end result gave United a three-point benefit over Manchester City within the race for third spot and qualification for Europe, however their native rivals have a sport in hand. Yet the day will stay lengthy within the reminiscence for many who can say ‘I was there’, and will probably be one other momentous event when girls’s soccer subsequent returns to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ on July 6 when it hosts the opening sport of the Women’s Euros. Here’s hoping it received’t be the final.

Match particulars

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Earps 6; Batlle 8, Ladd 7, Thorisdottir 6, Blundell 6; Zelem 7, Groenen 6 (Moore, 83); Thomas 7 (Hanson 6, 72) Toone 7 (Boe Risa 6, 89), Galton 7; Russo 8 (Bruun 6, 89)

Subs not used: Baggaley (gk), Harris, Jones

Yellow card: Thorisdottir

Everton (5-4-1): MacIver 6; Turner 7, Bjorn 6(Graham 5, 45), Finnigan 7, George 6, Pattinson 6; Emslie 7, Christiansen 7, Galli 7, Dali 7(Bennison 6, 70); Duggan 6 (Magill 6, 68)

Subs not used: Brosnan (gk), Gauvin, Maier, Clinton, Weir

Yellow playing cards: George

Referee: Helen Conley (Durham)

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