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Manchester United 2-0 Reading: New boss Marc Skinner opens WSL season with victory

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

Manchester United opened the new Women’s Super League season with victory over Reading in manager Marc Skinner’s first game in charge.

The home fans, back at an unrestricted Leigh Sports Village, were on their feet cheering as Kirsty Hanson slotted home Ella Toone’s decisive pass.

Toone turned provider again after the break as Ona Batlle struck an exquisite long-range effort.

Earlier, Reading’s Brooke Chaplen hit the underside of the crossbar.

Reading believed the ball had crossed the line, but with no goalline technology or video assistant referee in the women’s game, the officials were unable to take a closer look at whether it was a goal or not.

Instead, United capitalised with Batlle firing in a second moments later, sending the home fans into delirium.

Further chances fell for Leah Galton – who missed a glaring half-volley in the first half – as she nodded a header wide at the back post.

Substitute Martha Thomas, making her competitive debut, glanced an effort wide and saw a cross roll inches behind her as she waited unmarked in the centre, before curling a shot past the right post.

There were plenty of promising performances from Skinner’s new signings, with Norwegian midfielder Vilde Boe Risa particularly impressive.

But aside from Chaplen’s effort which hit the crossbar, Reading only had half chances – the midfielder herself striking over the bar from long range in the first half.

Victory sets United on their way for a season where they are pursuing a Champions League qualification spot.

Line-ups

Man Utd Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 27Earps
  • 6Blundell
  • 5Mannion
  • 3Thorisdottir
  • 17Batlle
  • 8RisaSubstituted forRussoat 75′minutes
  • 10Zelem
  • 18Hanson
  • 37StaniforthBooked at 35minsSubstituted forGroenenat 66′minutes
  • 11Galton
  • 7TooneSubstituted forThomasat 66′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Thomas
  • 12Ladd
  • 13Fuso
  • 14Groenen
  • 20Smith
  • 21Turner
  • 23Russo
  • 24Jones
  • 32Baggaley

Reading Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Moloney
  • 2Bryson
  • 14Cooper
  • 5Evans
  • 28Woodham
  • 23Rowe
  • 4Peplow
  • 19Chaplen
  • 11HardingSubstituted forJeonat 71′minutes
  • 12Harries
  • 9Eikeland

Substitutes

  • 6Rose
  • 7Jeon
  • 21Stewart
  • 31Roberts
  • 33Lister
  • 34Wild

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