United showed signs of quality in the first half, particularly good combination play on the left wing with Ona Batlle and Leah Galton, but were the weaker side. The Reds were up to the challenge and regularly won second balls, but lacked the attack power to break the City defense.
Mary Earps had to be in good shape and was able to defeat Janine Beckie from close range when the American tackled a curvy left-footed cross from Lauren Hemp at the end. A few minutes later, Earps was joined by Maria Thorisdottir, who cleared a Hemp header off the line.
United threatened from time to time – Hanson left-footed with his back to the goal on the edge of the box – but the first half was a cautious one. Such caution was ignored by Georgia Stanway when the City midfielder, who signed up for the day as right-back, fell on Galton’s leg and accidentally kicked her quadriceps. It took the referee a few seconds to consider her decision before sending Stanway off.
The momentum should have swung on United, but if it did it was only temporary. Two minutes later, Bunny gave Shaw City the lead and went home unmarked in the center of the box. The cross came from Demi Stokes.
The lead could have been doubled by half-time. Stokes floated a cross-court through ball that could explode on hemp and the English winger beat Batlle before sending a teasing ball that dodged two players and then bounced past the post without the critical contact required to get it to the goal turn.