White initially looked to miss City forward Georgia Stanway, deployed at right back to cover for the injured Aoife Mannion and a Matilde Fidalgo struggling to adapt to the WSL. United’s introduction of Lauren James paid immediate dividends when the teenager latched onto a ball from range, beat Keira Walsh with a backheel and nudged low past Roebuck, a reminder to City that despite White’s credentials United have a world-class forward of their own, capable of igniting a derby with one nonchalant shoulder drop.
McManus’ was-it-wasn’t-it goal was disallowed just as United grew in stature. A Zelem corner curling under the bar and deflecting off the back of Hemp’s head – initially disallowed but then given – gave them hope of a late fightback but they could not muster a leveller despite five added minutes.
Manchester United: Earps; Smith, M. Turner, McManus, A. Turner; Sigsworth (Arnot 69), Ladd, Zelem, Groenen; Hanson, Ross (James 60)
Subs not used: Mikalsen (g), Harris, Palmer
Goals: James 69, Hemp (OG) 87
Man City: Roebuck; Stokes, Bonner, Houghton, Stanway; Hemp, Weir, Walsh, Scott; Wullaert (Coombs 78), White
Subs not used: Benameur (g), Bremer, Toland, Park, Bissell, Fidalgo
Goals: White 30, 56, Scott 76
Referee: Michael Barlow