Manchester United Women chalked up a fourth consecutive league win on Sunday afternoon, hitting Leicester City Women for six at Leigh Sports Village.

Casey Stoney’s side split the goals evenly between the halves as Mollie Green, Lauren James and Kirsty Hanson all scored prior to the break, before Ella Toone and Jess Sigsworth, twice, netted in the second period.

The Foxes pulled one back after going 4-0 down, through Libby Smith, but the Reds merely responded ruthlessly, with Sigsworth’s well-taken brace completing a comprehensive 6-1 victory.

Kirsty Smith, Martha Harris and Lauren James take to the field at Leigh.
The result means United are now just two points off top spot in the Women’s Championship, with a game in hand over league leaders Tottenham Hotspur. The two sides are due to meet in a mouthwatering clash on 31 March, but before then the Reds have two other away fixtures to negotiate – at Reading next Sunday in the SSE Women’s FA Cup quarter-final and then a league trip to Charlton seven days later.

This victory against Leicester looked to be on the cards after just 16 minutes of play in the bright sunshine when Green lifted a half-volley over Demi Lambourne and her defenders into the roof of the net. Millie Turner’s initial header from Toone’s excellent left-wing corner had been blocked but United’s top scorer was perfectly placed to profit from the rebound.

The second strike was the pick of United’s six and a strong contender for Goal of the Month, if not the season; Lauren James unleashed an unstoppable left-footed shot from 30 yards, after collecting a pass just outside the centre circle. Lambourne was left grasping at thin air and not for the last time in the half either.

Shortly before the interval, Sigsworth expertly laid off Amy Turner’s throw-in with a defender at her back, and Hanson looped in a wonderful third goal, sending the ball beyond Lambourne into the top right corner to make the half-time score 3-0.

Leah Galton looks to cross the ball.

Toone was the scourge of Leicester last month, scoring four times when the Reds won 7-0 away, and she contributed to this home rout with the first goal of the second half. It was another beauty for the crowd of 1,554 to behold, a chip past Lambourne at the near post from the left-hand side of the penalty area.

United’s no.1 Siobhan Chamberlain had largely been a spectator at that point but the experienced goalkeeper showed her powers of concentration to palm away Leicester’s first shot of the half from Libby Smith. However, the same player beat her moments later, with a low drive into the bottom left-hand corner after Rosie Axton controlled Lambourne’s long kick and played a perfect forward pass.

Millie Turner leaps to send a header towards goal.

Lambourne denied James a second goal when the Leicester goalkeeper pushed her free-kick wide for a corner but the respite was fleeting. Following the ensuing corner, Alex Greenwood’s trademark delivery from the left wing was knocked back into the middle by Amy Turner at the far post and the predatory figure of Sigsworth tapped in United’s fifth goal.

Greenwood had started the game on the bench after her exploits in the United States, where she had helped England to win the SheBelieves Cup, but the United captain certainly made her mark on these proceedings as a substitute. The attacking left-back was involved in a fine team move for the sixth and final goal, threading a pass to James whose reverse pass was picked up by Sigsworth. The striker did the rest, rounding Lambourne gracefully and then gratefully slid the ball into the empty net for 6-1.

Jess Sigsworth taps in her first goal and United’s fifth of the afternoon.
MATCH DETAILS

United: Chamberlain; Harris, A. Turner, M. Turner, Smith; Green, James, Toone (Devlin 55); Hanson, Sigsworth, Galton (Greenwood 59).
Substitutes not used: Ramsey, Palmer, Zelem, Arnot, Roberts.

Goals: United – Green 16, James 22, Hanson 43, Toone 48, Sigsworth 67, 84. Leicester – Smith 59.

Referee: James Bell.

Attendance: 1,554.

NEXT MATCH

United Women head to Wycombe’s Adams Park on Sunday 17 March, for a tough tie against top-flight team Reading in the SSE Women’s FA Cup quarter-finals. Kick-off will be at 14:00 GMT.

As things stand, the next home match is scheduled for 19:00 BST on Wednesday 17 April when Aston Villa visit Leigh Sports Village in the Women’s Championship. Match tickets will be on sale at www.manutd.com/womenstickets.

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