A beaming Millie Turner is being interviewed
Honestly, everything just went in slow motion! When it hit the back of the net I didn’t even see it! I had to celebrate with the fans, they’ve been incredible all season. I’m just buzzing to get the three points for the team. When I came on, Wilko said to me, “We’ll get a set piece, go and win us the game.”. It was unbelievable. Honestly, words can’t explain that feeling [when I scored].
Villa were frustrated by the award of the free-kick that led to the goal. Having seen a replay, I can understand why – not so much because of Pacheco’s challenge on Boe Risa, but because Boe Risa might bave been offside when she received the ball.
A word on Villa, who contributed equally to a marvellous match. Rachel Daly scored two superb goals and there were fine performances from Jordan Nobbs, Lucy Staniforth and Laura Blindkilde Brown among others. It’ll be no consolation for the next day or two, but they have had an outstanding season.
The updated league table
United still need to beat City, and they still need Chelsea to drop points somewhere. But moments like that can create the most powerful sense of destiny.
“United have been terrible,” says Ruth Purdue. “Somehow they win it.”
Do you think? I thought they were very good for the first hour, then the last five minutes or so when they finally woke up.
That may well be the game of the WSL season. Manchester United don’t care about entertainment, though, and I doubt Villa will after losing like that.
Ultimately United had to win, and they did after equalising twice and then nicking the match in the final minute of added time! The goalscorer Millie Turner is being mobbed by her teammates, who are all celebrating in front of the United fans. Football, eh.
The entire United team and staff are going doolally. Zelem curled a free-kick to the far post, where the substitute Millie Turner, 12 yards from goal, ran round Staniforth and powered an immense header back across goal. Hampton didn’t move, and time. Stood. Still before the ball landed just inside the post.
“What a fucking goal!” shouts somebody on the pitch mic. That is incredible.
Oh. My. Giddy. Days.
90+2 min Pacheco is booked for timewasting.
90+1 min Three minutes of added time. Ella Toone has been replaced by Vilde Boe Risa; she looks devastated, not at coming off but at the prospect of dropping two points.
90 min After an extended spell of pressure from United, Villa get some respite when Rachel Williams is penalised for something or other.
90 min It’s all United now, but it might be too late. Villa suddenly look extremely tired.
90 min “Hmm,” says Harriet Osborn. “A plucky mid-table side with an undroppable England international are giving Manchester United, having their best season in years, a very hard time. Sounds extremely familiar. This match doesn’t affect my team in the least but boy is this fun!”
89 min United have come alive now. Toone’s stinging cross-shot is superbly held by Hampton, with Batlle waiting for any rebound.
88 min: United substitution Millie Turner is on for Aoife Mannion.
87 min: Great chace for Thomas! Toone wins the ball on the edge of the centre circle and plays a superb angled pass to release Thomas in the inside-right channel. She surges into the area, with no Villa defenders able to get across, but then hits a cross-shot well wide of the far post. I say ‘cross-shot’, in truth it was neither. But it was a great opportunity.
86 min Garcia wins the ball high up the field and finds Toone, whose slightly indecisive shot is blocked. It’s an end-to-end free-for-all now!
84 min The referee plays a good advantage after a foul on Blindkilde. Lehmann hammers a cross towards Daly, who shoots wide from 12 yards. A half chance at best.
82 min Villa continue to frustrate United, who are eight minutes away from a costly drawfeat.
80 min The last 10 minutes have been the dullest of the game. Maybe both teams are unconsciously taking a timeout before the inevitably dramatic finale.
78 min Garcia’s first act is to overrun the ball and then take out Staniforth. United have struggled to generate any attacking momentum since Parris’s equaliser.
77 min: Triple substitution for United Marc Skinner has changed his entire front line. Martha Thomas, Lucia Garcia and Rachel Williams, who has scored a couple of very important late goals this season, replace Alessia Russo, Nikita Parris and Leah Galton.
74 min This really is terrific stuff. There’s so much at stake for United, but Villa are playing as if their season depends on it as well. They have made such good progress under Carla Ward.
73 min Dali’s corner is headed away by Galton.
71 min Dali wins a corner for Villa, who certainly aren’t settling for 2-2.
71 min Parris, deep on the right, drives a flat cross towards Russo on the edge of the D. She improvises a clever looping header, but Hampton backpedals to make a comfortable save.
70 min Zelem is booked for wiping out the impressive Blindkilde.
67 min You know what’s coming, just embrace it. Yep, it’s the as-it-stands table!
Given Chelsea’s run-in, a draw really isn’t good enough for United.
65 min Toone is lucky not to be booked for a foul on Lehmann.
65 min Look, I haven’t seen every WSL game in 2022-23, but this has to be a contender for game of the season.
64 min: Villa substitution Alisha Lehmann replaces Ruesha Littlejohn.
It could have been 3-1; now it’s 2-2. Another Zelem corner caused chaos, and Villa just couldn’t get out. Eventually Blundell clipped a brilliant first-time cross to the far post, where the unmarked Parris powered an impatient header through Hampton from about four yards.
There was no celebration from Parris: she charged straight back to the halfway line, waving to her teammates to follow her.
Talk about fine margins in a title race!
60 min: Daly hits the bar! So close to a famous hat-trick. Nobbs played a nice reverse pass to Dali on the left of the area. She dragged a low cross towards the penalty spot, where Daly ran onto the ball and crashed a first-time shot off the top of the bar.
Though it wasn’t a sitter, that was probably an easier chance than either of her goals.
59 min Russo swerves superbly away from Littlejohn (I think) before shooting over from 20 yards.
58 min Blundell’s cross is headed on dangerously by Russo towards Toone. The stretching Dali boots the ball straight up in the air, and when it drops Russo can only head wide under pressure. It wasn’t really a chance.
55 min Pacheco’s high, hanging cross just evades Blindkilde at the far post. The Villa bench appealed for a penalty, thinking she’d been shoved, but there was nothing in it.
54 min This time Staniforth’s driven corner is headed away at the near post.
53 min Pacheco’s superb pass releases Dali on the left. Her cutback is blocked but then Blundell’s attempted backheader goes behind for a Villa corner.
52 min Nothing comes of Zelem’s corner.
51 min Russo lays the ball back to Zelem on the edge of the D, but a heavy touch allows a Villa defender to make an important tackle. United retrieve possession and Batlle wins another corner.
United are playing as if it’s the 85th minute.
50 min: Chance for Russo Zelem’s looping corner is headed over from six yards by Russo. There was no pace on the ball, and it was a crowded penalty area, but that was still a decent chance.
49 min After 60 seconds or so of probing from United, Zelem swings a dangerous cross towards Galton that is put behind for a corner by Turner.
48 min Plenty of urgency from United at the start of the second half. They need more from their stars, Toone and Russo, who were relatively quiet in the first half.
46 min Peep peep! After a delay due to the presence of a duck on the pitch, United get the second half under way. They really cannot afford to drop any points tonight if they are to win the WSL.
Talking of controversy, we’ve just seen a replay that suggests Maz Pacheco was indeed offside before making Villa’s second for Rachel Daly. What ya gonna do?
United’s title challenge is in danger after a thrilling first half at the Bescot Stadium. The remarkable Rachel Daly scored two fine goals either side of Leah Galton’s equaliser, and Villa gave as good as they got against the leaders. There was a whiff of controversy, too, when Hayley Ladd had a second equaliser ruled out for a perceived foul on Hannah Hampton.
45+1 min Three minutes of added time.
45 min Galton leads a dangerous United break and stabs the ball through to Parris in the area. She knocks it past the last defender Pacheco, who does superbly to get between Parris and the ball and allow it to run through to Hampton.
44 min: Ladd has a goal disallowed! United aren’t happy about this. Ladd headed into the vacant net from Zelem’s right-wing corner, but Galton was penalised for a foul on Hampton.
Villa are extremely fortunate there. Hampton ran into Galton, who didn’t do a huge amount wrong.
42 min Time for the dreaded as-it-stands league table. Even a draw tonight isn’t much use to United.
40 min Nobbs, who has already been booked, fouls Ladd. Not even for a second yellow card.
United thought there was an offside against Pacheco in the build-up but the goal stands. Staniforth played a simple pass down the left to Pacheco, who crossed first time towards the penalty spot. Daly got in front of Mannion before sweeping the bouncing ball across Earps and into the net. That’s another expert finish. It took a slight touch off Mannion but I suspect it was going in anyway.
She’s done it again!
36 min: Chance for Villa! Now a couple of corners in quick succession for Villa. The second leads to a chance for Patten, who heads Nobbs’ looping cross over the bar from six yards.
34 min: Great save by Hampton! A textbook inswinging corner from Zelem causes chaos in the Villa area. A cross-shot is headed clear by Mayling in the six-yard box, and then Galton’s snapshot from 10 yards brings a magnificent reaction save from Hampton, diving to her left.
I don’t know whether the first effort was going in; the second sure as hell was. Hampton flapped at the original corner from Zelem but more than made up for it with the save.
33 min “It’s still hard to get used to seeing Jordan Nobbs in a shirt other than the Arsenal red and white,” says Charles Antaki. “She’d been at the club, what is it, ten years? (Professor Internet: actually, since 2010.) Many tears on leaving.
“It’s true that she wasn’t getting a guaranteed start, and wasn’t always at her highest level when she came on. Still looks odd though. Arsenal fans wish her the best, obviously, and if it gets her into the World Cup squad, good luck to her.”