Player ratings as Red Devils return to third in WSL table – XenBet

From Leigh Sports Village – Manchester United returned to third place in the WSL table in style with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday, although the advantage in the race for Champions League remains with Manchester City due to their upcoming game in hand.

It was a last home game of the season for the Red Devils and they wasted little time taking the lead through Martha Thomas. That was soon double by a Grace Fisk own goal, before Leah Galton killed off the game early in the second half.

West Ham had been a tough opponent in the scrappy 1-1 reverse of this fixture in March but were unable to match those levels this time around.

As had been the case against Aston Villa, United started brightly and only moments had passed when Ona Batlle narrowly missed the target after driving forward. Thomas also had an effort that was deflected just wide for a corner immediately after.

But where they had failed to make the breakthrough at Villa, Marc Skinner’s team were ahead just over 10 minutes in when Galton’s lofted cross to the far post was nodded in by Thomas, who had had been guilty of missing two big chances a week ago.

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It could soon have been two when Alessia Russo was involved in a goalmouth scramble after Hammers stopper Mackenzie Arnold had failed to collect the ball.

Fisk’s own goal was cruel on the West Ham skipper but probably unavoidable. Thomas got in down United’s right behind Kate Longhurst and squared the ball across the box. Russo was waiting for a tap in behind Fisk, who had to act or concede a certain second anyway.

West Ham weren’t totally starved of chances. Lisa Evans’ fierce strike was blocked by Maria Thorisdottir’s head and Tameka Yallop should have done better with one that bobbled wide. Shortly, before half-time, it took a flying Mary Earps save to deny Adriana Leon and soon after another Thorisdottor block to get Batlle off the hook after sloppily losing the ball.

United started the second half like they had begun the first. Galton looked a threat straight from the restart and was rewarded with a goal to add to her assist when Russo crossed low into the six-yard box. It was then almost four for the hosts straightway, with only a strong right hand from Arnold turning a first-time Ella Toone finish wide of the post.

The ball was in the net from the resultant corner but a foul on Arnold saw the goal ruled out.

United were in cruise control after that, playing with zip and confidence. Both managers made full use of substitutions, which largely killed the flow of the game, yet it was already over as a contest.

Martha Thomas

Martha Thomas was the standout performer for Man Utd / Charlotte Tattersall/GettyImages

GK: Mary Earps – 6/10 – Spectacular save near the end of the first half. Largely untested for the most part.

RB: Ona Batlle – 6/10 – Got forward with her usual tenacity and played the killer pass that allowed Thomas to set up the second goal.

CB: Hayley Ladd – 6/10 – The centre of defence is no longer an emergency position for her. Always in control.

CB: Maria Thorsidottir – 7/10 – Heroically blocked a powerful effort from Evans, striking her full in the face. But she was fine to continue.

LB: Hannah Blundell – 6/10 – A comfortable performance but perhaps not the spectacular force she was earlier in the campaign.

CM: Katie Zelem (c) – 7/10 – Made the opening goal possible with a superb pass into space for Galton to race onto. Always communicating.

CM: Jackie Groenen – 8/10 – Covered so much ground. Lots of cute touches and smart passes that were crucial to the overall performance.

AM: Ella Toone – 6/10 – Relatively quiet by her standards in the first half but only an outstanding save denied her a goal in the second. Involved in great link up after that, with United in full control.

RW: Martha Thomas – 9/10 – Erased any demons from last week’s missed chances with the early goal. She also created the second by exploiting the space behind the West Ham defence.

ST: Alessia Russo – 7/10 – Disappointed to be subbed early last week but was her usual all-round threat here. Always asking defensive questions and assisted the killer third goal with a low cross.

LW: Leah Galton – 8/10 – Intelligently crossed for Thomas open the scoring and netted one of her own early in the second half by coming into the box off her flank,

SUB: Kirsty Hanson (63′ for Thomas) – 6/10

SUB: Signe Bruun (71′ for Russo) – 6/10

SUB: Lucy Staniforth (71′ for Toone) – 6/10

SUB: Vilde Boe Risa (71′ for Galton) – 6/10

SUB: Ivana Ferreira Fuso (83′ for Groenen) – N/A

Jackie Groenen, Dagny Brynjarsdottir

West Ham struggled to impose themselves for most of the match / Charlotte Tattersall/GettyImages

GK: Mackenzie Arnold – 5/10 – Looked nervy when it came to dealing with high balls into her penalty area, although a spectacular save from Toone stopped the score-line going higher.

CB: Grace Fisk (c) – 5/10 – Turned the ball into her own net, but she had no choice to try and cut it out.

CB: Hawa Cissoko – 5/10 – Really seemed to struggle with Russo’s movement and physicality. But made some key interventions.

CB: Kate Longhurst – 4/10 – Pure and simple beaten for pace by Thomas when the hosts scored their second. Had already beaten in the air by her former colleague for the first goal.

RWB: Zaneta Wyne – 4/10 – Dealing with Galton was a problem and she wasn’t up to the challenge this time.

CM: Yui Hasegawa – 5/10 – Not able to get on the ball and influence things as she would have liked because she spent so much time without it.

CM: Dagny Brynjarsdottir – 4/10 – Wasn’t able to play to her strengths.

CM: Tameka Yallop – 5/10 – Looked to push onto the United back four when her team was in possession. Missed a good first half chance.

LWB: Katerina Svitkova – 4/10 – Had to spend most of her time defending, but arguably didn’t given Longhurst enough protection.

ST: Lisa Evans – 6/10 – Looked West Ham’s most credible threat towards the end of the first half during a better spell. Faded in the second.

ST: Adriana Leon – 5/10 – Might feel she should have pulled one back before half-time, but was denied by Earps.

SUB: Abbey-Leigh Stringer (72′ for Svitkova) – 5/10

SUB: Claudia Walker (72′ for Evans) – 5/10

SUB: Lois Joel (83′ for Wyne) – N/A

SUB: Melisa Felis (83′ for Brynjarsdottir) – N/A

SUB: Halle Houssein (84′ for Hasegawa) – N/A

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Source of the article

Author: Heidi Porter