MARC SKINNER hailed Katie Zelem and Alessia Russo as Manchester United bounced back following Everton’s early strike at Old Trafford.
A Russo brace was among the goals that saw the Toffees trounced 3-1 during a historic encounter described as a win for women’s football.
Alessia Russo netted twice at Old Trafford to become Manchester United’s leading scorer in the WSL this seasonCredit: Getty
A crowd of 20, 241, including England boss Sarina Wiegman, turned out to watch the first WSL game to be played in front of supporters at Old Trafford.
The victory saw the Red Devils go three points clear of Man City.
However, the Citizens, have a game in hand on their third-placed, in-form neighbours with the top three race heating up.
Skinner said: “For Katie (Zelem) to score a penalty at the Stretford End and then for Alessia to score (there) as well is a wonderful way to seal a dream.
“It felt, at first, that we didn’t get up to the speed of the game quickly enough, but we’re human.
“To say that we felt the emotions of the game in the first part of it would be fair.
“And the best thing Everton did was to score because it kind of kick-started us.”
The turnout at the home of Man United’s Prem side is thought to be the fourth biggest for a women’s game played at the ground.
Skinner added: “Women’s football won today. I think it shows the growth, magnitude and impact this club can have in growing the game.
“That that for me is a wonderful thing.”
Everton, who have won just one of their nine previous clashes with United, are yet to beat the Red Devils in the top tier.
But they got off to a flier stunning their hosts in the third minute.
This came through Claire Emslie bursting into the box and rifling a shot into the bottom corner after a classy through ball from Kenza Dali.
United looked to hit back in the ninth minute with Russo pinching the ball from Gabriella George and testing Sandy MacIver from distance.
Claire Emslie gave Everton an early lead at Old TraffordCredit: Alamy
Katie Zelem helped United go 2-1 up with her goal from the penalty spotCredit: PA
And the Toffees keeper was forced to parry Hannah Blundell’s volley away from danger minutes later.
United’s pressure paid off with Russo levelling in the 35th minute heading Ona Batlle’s cross home over MacIver.
And Everton had a chance to net close to half-time with Emslie teeing up in Izzy Christiansen who fired her effort over the crossbar.
The second spell saw Ella Toone blaze the ball into the Stretford End following a dangerous looped cross into the box from Thomas.
However United doubled their lead with skipper Zelem converting from the spot following Lucy Graham’s foul on Thomas.
United, who play Brighton next, thought they were 3-1 up in the 62nd minute when Thomas smashed home a rebounded ball.
But her strike was ruled out despite the forward appearing to be played onside by Graham.
Marc Skinner’s side hope to win their four remaining league games as they target a top three finishCredit: PA
In the end, United bagged their third with Russo sealing her brace nodding home Zelem’s cross in the 84th minute ahead.
The team, who play Brighton next, have four games left as they chase a Champions League spot
Their final game of the season on May 8th will see them take on league leaders Chelsea.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.