An Ellen White brace saw Manchester City edge past Manchester United in the Women's FA Cup, as Nick Cushing's side survived a late United onslaught to hold onto a 3-2 win.


United should have opened the scoring in the first half when Jess Sigsworth pounced on a loose ball from Ellie Roebuck, but her goal bound shot was headed clear by Gemma Bonner.


Although City had looked edgy building from the back, it was United who were made to pay for a defensive lapse. Former City defender Abbie McManus' weak back pass was gobbled up by Ellen White, who delicately clipped the ball over Mary Earps to give the visitor's the lead. 

 

City doubled their advantage just before the hour mark. Caroline Weir sent Lauren Hemp away down the left hand side, and the 19-year-old's cross was turned home first time by White at the near post. 

With 20 minutes remaining, substitute Lauren James handed United a lifeline. The teenager received the ball in behind the City backline, cut inside Bonner and rifled the ball into the bottom corner. 


United thought they had equalised when Katie Zelem's wicked free kick was poked goal-wards by Abbie McManus. Roebuck frantically claimed the ball, and with no goal line technology, it was impossible to tell if the ball had crossed the line.


City regained their two goal advantage 15 minutes from time. White teed up Jill Scott on the edge of the area, and her first time strike was sent low past the outstretched arm of Earps.


United ensured a nervy last five minutes for City, as Zelem's dangerous corner came off Hemp's head as she attempted to clear. Despite heavy late pressure from the hosts, City hung on.


Manchester United

Key Talking Point

Jill Scott

It was a very reactive performance from United in the first half, as they failed to create any opportunities from their own build up play; their chances came when they pressed City high up the pitch. However, United lacked cutting edge and could not take advantage of the multiple errors City made at the back.


United are normally so dangerous out wide, but Sigsworth and Kirsty Hanson never got at the City fullbacks. With Georgia Stanway in an unfamiliar right back role, there was an opportunity for United to take advantage of a potential defensive vulnerability. However, United rarely tested her. The introduction of Lauren James really sparked United into life, as Casey Stoney's side put in a much better second half display, but left themselves too much to do.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Earps (6); A. Turner (6), McManus (5), M. Turner (6), Smith (6); Zelem (7), Ladd (6), Groenen (6); Sigsworth (5), Hanson (5), Ross (5)


Subs: James (8*), Arnot (5)


STAR PLAYER: Lauren James

Lauren James

United's improved second half performance was largely thanks to Lauren James entering the fray. In the first half, the only problems the City defence encountered were the ones they caused themselves. James started asking questions of the visitor's backline. 


The teenager stretched City, held the ball up and caused all sorts of problems. Her goal was a top class finish. Perhaps a mistake from Casey Stoney to not start the young forward.

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Manchester City

Key Talking Point

Ellen White

City's looked really edgy playing out from the back and were fortunate United did not make them pay. They cannot afford to be so generous at the back when they come up against Arsenal next week, who will surely punish such sloppiness. 


But going forward, City were everything United were not. While the hosts were wasteful, Ellen White was clinical. While Hanson and Sigsworth were relatively quiet out wide, Hemp was a menace down the left. The England winger's delivery for White's crucial second goal was perfect.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Roebuck (6); Stokes (6), Bonner (6), Houghton (5), Stanway (7); Walsh (6), Weir (6) Scott (7), Hemp (8); Wullaert (6), White (9*)


Subs: Coombs (5)


STAR PLAYER: Ellen White

Ellen White

White's natural goal scoring ability proved the difference between the two teams. Her finish for City's first was cool and composed, while her second goal demonstrated her striker's instinct and supreme movement. She then showed great awareness to set up Scott for the third.


As ever, White was tireless up front, but it was her clinical edge in front of goal that was decisive. Selecting White to lead the line over top scorer Pauline Bremer was a big call from Cushing, but White repaid her manager's faith.



Looking Ahead

Both sides are back in cup action in midweek, with their attentions turning to the semi finals of the Continental Cup. Man Utd host host league title favourites Chelsea, while holders Man City face back to back fixtures against ​league champions Arsenal. 


The Citizens travel to Borehamwood on Wednesday, before hosting the Gunners the following Sunday in Nick Cushing's final game in charge.