Manchester United showed their class as they overcame Lewes in the first round of the Women’s FA Cup. The Red Devils were the heavy favorites going into the tie, and they did not disappoint, delivering a comprehensive 4-0 win against the lower-tier side.
Casey Stoney’s side dominated the proceedings from the onset, starting the game brightly with some fast-paced attacking moves that caused problems for Lewes. They were rewarded for their early pressure when Martha Harris’s corner kick was met by Millie Turner, who headed home from close range for United’s opener.
Lewes tried to respond and pushed for an equalizer, but the United defense stood firm, led by captain Katie Zelem, who marshalled the midfield and pulled the strings for the team. Lewes’s only real chance of the first half came when Jess King’s shot was cleared off the line by Amy Turner.
United doubled their lead just before half-time, as Zelem was involved again, playing a beautiful pass to Leah Galton, who finished clinically to give the visitors a comfortable two-goal lead heading into the break.
The second half saw more of the same from United. They dominated possession and created numerous chances, with Galton causing problems down the left flank. The winger capped off a fine performance by scoring her second of the game, a well-placed header from a superb Harris cross.
United’s fourth goal was arguably the best of the lot, WSL debutant Kirsty Hanson showed composure beyond her years to finish off a slick one-touch move involving Zelem and Jackie Groenen.
Lewes put in a brave performance, but they were no match for United’s class and quality. The women from Old Trafford moved into the next round of the FA Cup, where they will face Tottenham Hotspurs.
The win was a welcome boost for Stoney’s side, who have had a mixed start to the WSL season. They currently lie in fifth place after five games, but their performances have been inconsistent.
The FA Cup represents a chance for United to add some silverware to their trophy cabinet and build momentum heading into the second half of the season. The team has plenty of quality players, and Stoney will be hoping to get the best out of them in the coming months.
There were many positives for United from the Lewes game. The team showed their attacking prowess, with Galton putting in an excellent performance, while Hanson announced herself with a goal on her debut.
Defensively, United were solid, with the Turner sisters looking compact and assured throughout the game. Katie Zelem, as always, was the heartbeat of the team, pulling the strings in midfield and dictating the tempo of the game.
The team’s performance against Lewes showed the strength in depth that Stoney has at her disposal. With players like Lotta Okvist, who was left out of the squad for the game, waiting in the wings, United have the squad to challenge for silverware this season.
The next challenge for Stoney and her team is a tricky away fixture against Everton, who have been in excellent form in recent weeks. United will need to be at their best to come away with all three points, but the Lewes win will give them confidence heading into the match.
Overall, the win against Lewes was a good display of United’s quality and ambition. There is still work to be done, but Stoney will be encouraged by what she saw from her team. United are a team on the rise, and with the quality they possess, they will be looking to challenge for titles in the coming seasons.