Manchester United 2-Zero studying: new boss Marc Skinner opens WSL season with a win

Kirsty Hanson scored the first goal of the WSL season in front of 2,111 fans at Leigh Sports Village

Manchester United kicked off the new season of the Women’s Super League with a win over Reading in manager Marc Skinner’s first game.

The home fans, back in an unconstrained Leigh Sports Village, saw Kirsty Hanson bring Ella Toone’s passport home.

Toone returned as a supplier after the break when Ona Batlle scored an exquisite long-range shot.

Previously, Reading’s Brooke Chaplen hit the crossbar, with replays suggesting the ball had bounced over the line.

But without goal-line technology or a video assistant referee in the women’s game, those responsible couldn’t take a closer look at whether it was a goal or not.

In the first WSL game, shown by Sky Sports as part of a new broadcast contract alongside the BBC, United benefited from Batlle firing a second moment later, driving home fans insane.

“Sky Sports slowed it down for me on the repetition just to make it more painful,” said Reading manager Kelly Chambers afterwards.

“It was over the line, but that’s the difference. You have the women’s top game and the men’s top game that’s so much more advanced.

“Things are going to take time, despite the speed at which women’s football is moving. I know they are working hard to improve the level of officials in the game and you hope we can see these additional additions in the not too near future can get. “

Leah Galton had more chances and missed a glaring half-volley in the first half when she nodded a header far from the back post.

Substitute Martha Thomas, who was making her competitive debut, glanced into the distance and saw a flank just inches behind her while she waited unmarked in the middle before shooting a shot past the right post.

There have been many promising performances from Skinner’s signings, with Norwegian midfielder Vilde Boe Risa being particularly impressive.

But apart from Chaplen’s shot that hit the crossbar, Reading had only half the chances – the midfielder herself hit the crossbar from a long distance in the first half.

The win puts United on their way for a season aiming for a spot in the Champions League qualifying.

“I will never reject goal-line technology”

Manchester United manager Marc Skinner: “If you can use technology that would be brilliant. We can focus on that, but there are other things that we have to do right in order to keep our game growing.

“Hopefully we will see this growth in our lifetime and get this support for these wonderful players. I will never turn it down.”

Former Leicester City and England forward Emile Heskey at Sky Sports: “If we all play in the same stadiums and we all have the same facilities, then it’s fair enough that maybe the technology could be used.

“But now funds can be given to better places [in the women’s game]. Maybe the next step is goal-line technology. “

Former Manchester United manager Casey Stoney at Sky Sports: “It’s an area that needs improvement. It’s a professional game with amateur trunking.

“We saw this in real time and we couldn’t tell if it was a target, so it’s a huge task. There are more improvements to be made.”


Man utd women

formation 4-2-3-1





7thTo a

  • 27earphones
  • 6thBlundel
  • 5Mannion
  • 3Thorisdottir
  • 17thMayor
  • 8thLaughReplaced byRussoat 75 ‘protocol
  • 10Zelem
  • 18thHanson
  • 37StaniforthBooked at 35 minutesReplaced byGreensat 66 ‘protocol
  • 11Galton
  • 7thTo aReplaced byThomasat 66 ‘protocol


  • 9Thomas
  • 12thLadd
  • 13thMelted
  • 14thGreens
  • 20thBlacksmith
  • 21stGymnast
  • 23Russo
  • 24Jones
  • 32Baggaley

Reading women

formation 4-3-3





  • 1Moloney
  • 2Bryson
  • 14thcooper
  • 5Evans
  • 28Woodham
  • 23Rowe
  • 4thPeplow
  • 19thChaplen
  • 11HardeningReplaced byJeonat 71 ‘protocol
  • 12thHarry
  • 9Eikeland


  • 6throse
  • 7thJeon
  • 21stStewart
  • 31Roberts
  • 33Listener
  • 34Wild

Live text

  1. End of game, Manchester United Women 2, Reading Women 0.

  2. Second half ends, Manchester United Women 2, Reading Women 0.

  3. Jackie Groenen (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Rachel Rowe fouled (women reading).

  5. Corner, Manchester United women. Granted by Gemma Evans.

  6. Attempt failed. Jackie Groenen (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.

  7. Corner, Manchester United women. Granted by Deanna Cooper.

  8. Attempt failed. Martha Thomas (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just wide of the right. Supported by Jackie Groenen.

  9. Offside, Manchester United women. Alessia Russo tries a through ball, but Martha Thomas is caught offside.

  10. Attempt failed. Martha Thomas (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left. Supported by Kirsty Hanson.

  11. Corner, Manchester United women. Granted by Jeon Ga-Eul.

  12. Corner, Manchester United women. Granted by Lily Woodham.

  13. Substitution (in), Manchester United Women. Alessia Russo replaces Vilde Risa.

  14. Attempt failed. Jeon Ga-Eul (women reading) header from the center of the box misses to the left. Supported by Emma Harries with a cross.

  15. Representation, reading women. Jeon Ga-Eul replaces Natasha Harding.

  16. Foul by Aoife Mannion (Manchester United Women).

  17. Emma Harries (Reading Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Kirsty Hanson (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Rachel Rowe fouled (women reading).

  20. Substitution (in), Manchester United Women. Jackie Groenen replaces Lucy Staniforth.

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