Nikita Parris breaks her WSL duck with a header to keep United second at the expense of Leicester
Leicester Women 0-1 Manchester United Women: Nikita Parris breaks her WSL duck with a first-half header to keep United in second at the expense of a struggling Leicester – who are still pointless!
Manchester United beat Leicester 1-0 away in WSL on Sunday
The visitors took the lead in the first half with a 34th-minute header from Nikita Parris
Parris just scored her first WSL goal for United to give her side all three points
The England striker converted a brilliant cross from Katie Zelem from a free-kick
Manchester United may have drawn one such game last season.
In a campaign that saw Marc Skinner’s side miss out on Champions League football by five points, there were too many games where United dropped points from winning positions.
That could have been the case against Leicester after they took the lead in the first half but failed to finish the game in the second. But it wasn’t. They held on to a 1-0 win to collectively top the Women’s Super League, leaving the Foxes at the bottom.
Nikita Parris (fourth from left) headed in Katie Zelem’s free-kick in the first half
The England striker scored her first WSL goal for Manchester United in Sunday’s win
If United want to finish in the European places this season, they need to win games like this, even if they’re not at their best. This was the kind of game that cried out for injured striker Alessia Russo.
There were times when United looked like they had run out of ideas in attack while a stubborn Leicester defense was running deep. In the end, it was a set piece that gave Skinner’s team the goal they needed when Nikita Parris headed in from a Katie Zelem free-kick.
United need to be better against an in-form Everton next weekend before they take on Arsenal after the international break. But maximum points from the first four games with 11 goals scored and no conceding is an impressive start.
United managed to take all three points in a game they would have drawn last season
Marc Skinner’s side are now second in the WSL to Arsenal, both sides unbeaten
Leicester (3-5-2): Levell, Howard, Tierney, Plumptre, Simon, Pike, Whelan, Green (Scofield 84), Purfield, Goodwin (Baker 71), Flint (Bott 84)
Subs not used: Lambourne, Vance, McManus, Jones, Smith
Booked: Howard, Plumptre
Manager: Lydia Bedford
Manchester United (4-1-3-2): Earps, Thorisdottir (Moore 90+1), Turner, Le Tissier, Blundell (Thomas 61) Zelem, Staniforth (Ladd 61), Galton, Toone, Parris, Garcia (Williams 61)
Subs not used: Baggaley, Boe Risa, Leon, Tounkara
Booked: Zelem, Toone
Goals: Paris 34
Manager: Markus Skinner
Referee: Neil hair
It’s more than can be said for Leicester who are yet to put a point on the board this season. The main problem lies in the attack. The Foxes have netted just once in their last nine league games since last season – and that was an own goal by Tottenham’s Drew Spence in their first-day defeat this season.
They had a brief period where they looked like they could have gotten back into the game, but they only had one real chance throughout the game. It’s now just one point from the last 12 WSL games from last season.
Already at the beginning of the season you can’t avoid being in a relegation battle. Their campaign will not be defined by games like this, but by teams like Reading and Liverpool, who are also likely to struggle at the bottom.
United struggled to find a proper rhythm in the early stages but broke through in the 34th minute. Zelem has become something of a standard specialist for United.
She scored twice straight from a corner last season and no player has created more chances from set pieces this season. So it was only right that it was her free-kick that helped break the deadlock.
The midfielder’s spot-on delivery caught Parris and she headed past Levell into the left corner.
The Leicester that came closest to equalizing was Josie Green’s volley from the edge of the box which Mary Earps was able to scrape well off the top corner.
A game that won’t be remembered for long but it could be three points that prove crucial for United at the end of the season.
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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11345945/Nikita-Parris-breaks-WSL-duck-header-United-second-expense-Leicester.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Nikita Parris breaks her WSL duck with a header to keep United second at the expense of Leicester