Manchester City played out a thrilling draw against neighbours and top-three rivals Manchester United at Etihad Stadium in front of the second-largest crowd in Women’s Super League history.
After a positive start from the hosts, their momentum took a knock when Leah Galton skipped past City defender Laia Aleixandri and played a one-two with Ella Toone before driving through the legs of Alex Greenwood in the 27th minute.
City’s first-half response was not encouraging for the subdued crowd of 44,259 – a record attendance for the hosts – and the opening exchanges of the second period did not make for better viewing.
But Laura Coombs’ header from Chloe Kelly’s cross – which had evaded United defender Millie Turner, who was distracted by the presence of the WSL’s top goal scorer Khadija Shaw – drew City level and sparked them and the home crowd into life.
What ensued was an entertaining, end-to-end encounter, with both sides knowing a point – even though it was probably a fair result – would be no good to them if the title race and push for third-place goes down to the wire.
City are fourth in the table, three points behind third-placed United after nine games. They trail leaders Chelsea by five points following the Blues’ win over Reading on Sunday evening, but United have played one game fewer.
The result means United have still never beaten their city rivals in the WSL.
The hosts started the game well and for 20 minutes United struggled to deal with City’s high press as the Blues limited their only chance to a Katie Zelem set-piece, smothered by goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.
But as the first half went on and the visitors managed to break through that press, City struggled to create any meaningful chances and momentary flashes of brilliance from Lauren Hemp, who did not see enough of the ball, were the only thing a subdued crowd could find to cheer about.