CASEY STONEY was delighted with the character shown by her players as Manchester United returned to the women’s game with a 1-0 win over Liverpool today.
Lizzie Arnot scored the only goal of the game towards the end of the second half and it was a deserved win for United in their first outing as a professional women’s team.
It was a first competitive match in women’s football for 13 years for the club, who progressed in the League Cup but could have won more convincingly after squandering a host of good chances.
That failed to dampen the spirits of Stoney, however.
She said: “These girls have put an absolute shift in for six weeks, they have been thrown together, completely new at a new club with new processes, and to go out there and dig deep at times and show a bit of character was really pleasing.
“There has been a lot of media attention. When we had our backs against the wall we stayed calm.
“We created some really good opportunities, we just need to take them.
“We had a 16-year-old out there today and our average age is 21, so to be able to come out and perform against seasoned professionals like that and get the win is fantastic.”
She added: “I’ve never experienced anything on this scope in terms of media attention and it’s the same for the players, but I have to say this football club is fantastic, the support we get from the top down is amazing and the players are feeling that.”
Despite building a team from scratch over the summer, United looked more threatening at times than their Women’s Super League One opponents.
Kirsty Sigsworth and Leah Galton went through one-on-one with Anke Preuss, but saw their efforts saved, while Alex Greenwood saw a free-kick beaten away and Kirsty Smith hit the bar.
Christie Murray was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet at the other end after her free-kick hit the inside of a post and, despite the defeat, manager Neil Redfearn was not too downhearted.
“I thought it was a cracking game and a great advert for WSL,” he said.
“I thought the goal came against the run of play. We were in the ascendancy. There are loads of good things to come out of it for us.”
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