Albion 1, Manchester United 0
Albion claimed their first victory over Manchester United in the Barclays’s FA Women’s Super League as they returned to winning ways at the People’s Pension Stadium.
Inessa Kaagman scored the only goal – her seventh of the season – from the penalty spot midway through the first half and the home side tenaciously held on to their advantage.
Megan Walsh was well protected by the players in front of her and although United had quite a lot of second-half possession and won several corners they struggled to carve out clear opportunities thanks to an impressive defensive performance by the hosts.
Albion’s fifth win in six keeps them in sixth place in the table.
Head coach Hope Powell were looking for a positive response after last week’s heavy defeat to Everton. With Danique Kerkdijk ruled out through suspension after accumulating five bookings, Fliss Gibbons came in at left-back with Emma Koivisto switching to her preferred right-back position.
There was little action at either end in the first 25 minutes with both sides cancelling each other out, but then Albion broke through from the spot.
Gibbons was fouled wide on the left, Megan Connolly swung in the free kick and United defender Maria Thorisdottir handled the ball under pressure from Aileen Whelan. Kaagman made no mistake from the spot, finding the top corner as Mary Earps dived the wrong way.
There were three injury stoppages in a stop-start first half, but Albion were solid and organised and Walsh wasn’t called on to make a save before the break, although Millie Turner, with a drive from inside the D, and a looping header twice went close.
At the other end Rianna Jarrett tested Earps during six minutes of injury time with a shot from just inside the box.
Walsh was forced into her first save early in the second half when she denied Jess Sigsworth and United did force a number of corners as they searched for an equaliser.
But Albion held firm even after injury forced off Victoria Williams with Beth Roe coming on and they harried and hassled United all over the pitch.
Ellie Brazil robbed an opponent to set up an opportunity for Whelan, but she couldn’t keep her effort on target. At the other end Katie Zelem had a sight of goal from a late corner but headed well wide.
Seven minutes of stoppage time were played after a lengthy hold-up when two geese landed on the pitch in the second half and needed ushering off by stewards. But Albion held firm for one of their best wins of the season.
Albion: Walsh, Koivisto, Le Tissier, Williams (Roe 55), Gibbons, Whelan, Connolly, Kaagman (Bance 82), Green, Jarrett, Brazil.
Subs not used: Fiskerstrand, Heroum, Simpkins, Olding, Symonds.