Manchester City overcame the sending off of Georgia Stanway to claim a point against Manchester United in a pulsating Women’s Super League derby.
Substitute Ellen White poked in the equaliser late on, after Jess Park’s long-range stunner was tipped onto the bar, to peg back United who had scored two goals in three minutes to lead.
City were down to 10 players following Stanway’s straight red card for an ugly challenge on Leah Galton in the 35th minute.
And while Gareth Taylor’s side responded superbly to take the lead through Khadija Shaw’s header, United’s quickfire double meant City had to fight back to earn a much-needed draw.
It was a frantic second half in particular and one which encapsulates a topsy-turvy season for City, but some pressure on manager Taylor will have been relieved with this battling draw away from home.
In contrast, it felt like a missed opportunity for United and manager Marc Skinner, taking charge of his first derby, and they remain without a win over City in four meetings in the WSL.
Rollercoaster for Taylor and chance missed for Skinner
City, runners-up last season, came into this match off the back of a third successive league defeat – their longest losing run in the WSL.
Taylor had been forced to answer questions on his future, while he urged his players to “remain positive” before what would be a crucial derby.
He went through all the emotions on the touchline – arguing with the officials despite Stanway’s challenge meriting a red card, three minutes before celebrating summer signing Shaw’s header from an unmarked position in the box.
That 1-0 lead for City lasted 34 minutes but United, who carried far more of an attacking threat in the second half, dealt a double blow when substitute Lucy Staniforth – who may have been offside – flicked in Ella Toone’s cross, before Alessia Russo brilliantly rolled in a second from 12 yards.
The tide looked to have turned in United’s favour but City responded again.
Teenager Park, only on the pitch for three minutes, saw her strike stunningly fingertipped onto the underside of the crossbar by Mary Earps, but White was quickest to react, tapping in the loose ball with just over 10 minutes remaining.
City fans celebrated wildly at full-time – a sign of their struggles so far this season – while United fans were more subdued, perhaps sensing their best opportunity to get one over their biggest rivals had passed them by.
Manchester United Women
Manchester City Women
Man Utd Women
- 14GroenenSubstituted forLaddat 85′minutes
- 18HansonSubstituted forStaniforthat 67′minutes
Man City Women
- 10StanwayBooked at 35mins
- 12AngeldalSubstituted forParkat 76′minutes
- 19WeirSubstituted forCoombsat 89′minutes
- 11BeckieBooked at 90mins
- 21ShawSubstituted forWhiteat 59′minutes
- Rebecca Welch
Match ends, Manchester United Women 2, Manchester City Women 2.
Second Half ends, Manchester United Women 2, Manchester City Women 2.
Attempt missed. Leah Galton (Manchester United Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Katie Zelem with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Keira Walsh.
Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Lauren Hemp.
Janine Beckie (Manchester City Women) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Lucy Staniforth (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Janine Beckie (Manchester City Women).
Hayley Ladd (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Laura Coombs (Manchester City Women).
Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Demi Stokes.
Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Jill Scott.
Substitution, Manchester City Women. Laura Coombs replaces Caroline Weir.
Hannah Blundell (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jessica Park (Manchester City Women).
Offside, Manchester United Women. Ella Toone tries a through ball, but Alessia Russo is caught offside.
Substitution, Manchester United Women. Hayley Ladd replaces Jackie Groenen.
Attempt missed. Ellen White (Manchester City Women) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the right. Assisted by Lauren Hemp with a cross.
Foul by Alessia Russo (Manchester United Women).
Jill Scott (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.