Ella Toone strike knocks Arsenal off WSL summit
- Credit: PA
Arsenal were knocked off the top of the Women’s Super League table as Manchester United replaced them at the top with a 1-0 win on Sunday afternoon at the Leigh Sports Village.
Manchester United made the brighter start with a high press causing some early problems for Arsenal as Ella Toone crossed for Christen Press who hooked her effort over the top of the bar.
Leah Williamson then made a fine header to stop Press getting a header in on goal as Ella Toone linked well with Kirsty Hanson before Toone got the cross away for Press but Williamson was on hand to clear the danger away.
Joe Montemurro’s side then slowly built their way into the game with Vivianne Miedema driving forward in the tenth minute before her pass to Caitlin Foord was overhit and Amy Turner was on hand to clear.
Arsenal were then starting to put real pressure on the Red Devils as Beth Mead crossed for Foord who just couldn’t get a good connection to the ball and Manchester United got the ball away from danger.
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On 16 minutes the visitors put in another good move as Williamson won the ball in her own area and drove powerfully up the pitch before playing the ball to Mead who switched the play for McCabe but she was stopped by a fine challenge from Hanson who was tracking back.
McCabe then went on another good run on 22 minutes as McCabe drove up the left flank before crossing for Mead and her effort sailed all the way through for Mary Earps to come out and claim.
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Casey Stoney’s side then had another good opening when Tobin Heath picked out Press and she flicked her effort over the top of the crossbar from close range.
Manchester United then started to put Arsenal under real pressure with Manuela Zinsberger making a superb save from Press as she was found inside the area before turning and getting her shot away.
Zinsberger then came to the Gunners rescue once more on 34 minutes when Hayley Ladd challenged van de Donk on the edge of the area before the ball fell for Toone who’s effort was saved by the keeper.
It was all Manchester United pressure with their high press really hurting the Gunners and Williamson was putting in a superb performance as she made a good block from a stinging shot from USA international Press from just outside the box.
Arsenal then had a rare opening on 41 minutes when Miedema got down the left before her cross was weak and Earps came out to gather the loose ball.
Amy Turner then was called into action for Manchester United on the stroke of the break as Mead crossed searching for Miedema and Turner flicked the ball away from the Netherlands international before she could get a shot in.
It was Manchester United who started the second half on top with Heath cutting inside before shooting wide from the edge of the area.
Mead then had a good opening from the edge of the box but she was denied by Ladd who stepped across and won the challenge before clearing the danger.
Lotte Wubben-Moy then found herself in the book as she made a poor challenge on Galton and was maybe lucky it was only just a yellow card.
Montemurro then thought be needed a change of shape as he brought van de Donk and Gut off for Kim Little and Jill Roord to add a better balance into their midfield on the hour mark.
Heath then had another good opening down the left as she skipped away from the challenges before dropping her shoulder and cutting inside before firing her shot inches wide of the post.
However as a result the Gunners broke on United with Mead racing onto a pass from Miedema but her effort lacked power and turned into a comfortable save for Earps in the Manchester United goal.
Earps then made another routine save on 63 minutes as Caitlin Foord met a McCabe cross before her effort was saved down low by the Manchester United stopper.
Millie Turner then made a fine block from Miedema as Mead crossed into her head and the defender did really well to win the challenge and clear the danger away for the Red Devils.
Arsenal were then nearly gifted the lead on 72 minutes when McCabe fizzed in a wicked low cross looking for Miedema but Amy Turner beat her to the ball and nearly sent it into her own net only to be stopped by a fantastic low save from Earps palming the ball behind for a corner.
From the corner the ball fell to Williamson who put in a magnificent display and she fired over the top from just outside the box.
United then gained their second win with Ella Toone getting on the end of a long pass by Galton before she flipped the ball over Schnaderbeck but clipped the ball over the top of the bar.
With 12 minutes to go Montemurro made another change as Wubben-Moy was replaced by Leonie Maier.
McCabe then had another effort blocked as her low effort was dealt with by Ona Batlle before the ball bounced up for Maier and she slashed it wide.
Zinsberger was then called into action on 82 minutes as Zelem found herself in an inch of space outside the area before her low effort was easily held by the keeper down low.
However a minute later Manchester United did take the lead with Toone as Jessica Sigsworth did well to beat Schnaderbeck before keeping her balance and shifting the ball across to Toone who fires her effort into the net first time via the post.
Arsenal were then forced into a chance as Schnaderbeck was forced off with an injury and she was replaced by Ruby Mace.
With seven additional minutes Arsenal had two further chances with McCabe who had another shot well blocked from close range by Batlle.
It was Miedema who had the final opportunity on what was a frustrating day for the Gunners as McCabe whipped a cross into her but the Women’s Super League record goalscorer flicked it wide.
Manchester United: Earps, Batlle, Turner, Turner, Galton,Ladd, Groenen, Hanson, Toone, Heath, Press.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Wubben-Moy, Williamson, Schnaderbeck, McCabe, Gut, Wälti, van de Donk, Mead, Miedema, Foord.
Subs used: Maier, Little, Roord, Mace.
Referee: Peter Shacklady.