LEIGH – The spoils were shared in an electrifying Manchester derby when the two clubs met at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday afternoon.
United will likely be happy with the point, but with City six points behind Chelsea and having played a game more, it seems as if they are already out of the race for European football.
The 3797-strong crowd were treated to a game which lived up to all the old derby clichés. First, Georgia Stanway was dismissed after a horror foul which saw her connect with the thigh of Leah Galton – getting nowhere at all near the ball. She will now serve a three-game suspension and Man City's lack of squad depth has been made even worse.
But the blues were not fazed by the sending off, and it took only three minutes for them to open the scoring when Bunny Shaw nodded in Demi Stokes' cross from close range.
Even until the 70th minute, Marc Skinner's side looked down and out; they failed to properly press City and didn't take advantage of the extra player which they had.
Then Alessia Russo did what nobody would have expected only ten minutes later: she put United in front. City should have defended better, Taieb should probably have got to it, but she dribbled well before rifling it into the bottom corner.
Yet this game still had more to give. Jess Park, who had been brought on in the second half for the blues, unleashed a powerful effort from range which ricocheted off the bar, hit Mary Earps and then fell into the path of Ellen White, another substitute. The equaliser could not have come easier for White and she simply tapped it in.
United are still searching for their first WSL derby win, but a point is a good result. City, however, have now only picked up four points from their first five games and are in a worryingly low position.