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Record crowd of 31,213 sees stunning Weir strike help Man City beat United at the Etihad

Ireland’s 18-year-old midfielder Tyler Toland was an unused substitute for Man City.

Keira Walsh (right) and Leah Galton battle for the ball.
Keira Walsh (right) and Leah Galton battle for the ball.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

CAROLINE WEIR WAS the derby hero for Manchester City as her spectacular strike sealed a 1-0 win over Manchester United on a record-breaking day for the Women’s Super League.

A crowd of 31,213 at the Etihad Stadium smashed the division’s previous best crowd of 5,265, for Arsenal’s title-sealing win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium in April.

It is likely to be a short-lived best mark, though, with a crowd close to Stamford Bridge’s 41,000 capacity expected for Sunday’s London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham.

Staging showpiece games at some of England’s biggest grounds is part of the WSL’s drive to capitalise upon the national team’s run to the semi-finals of this year’s World Cup, which culminated in an estimated audience of 11.7million tuning in to watch Phil Neville’s side lose to eventual winners the United States.

Five of England’s World Cup stars featured for City on Saturday, but it was United – only re-established last season and newly promoted from the Championship after their women’s team were wound down in 2005 – who looked the most threatening before half-time, as Ellie Roebuck made a stunning close-range save to deny Jane Ross.

The hosts resumed on the front foot, however, and Weir sent most of the history-making attendees into raptures by arrowing a stunning 25-yarder into the top corner after 48 minutes.

United almost levelled seven minutes from time when Netherlands star Jackie Groenen – one of six debutants in Casey Stoney’s starting XI – scrambled against the base of the post, only for a rattled City to hang on. 

Ireland midfielder Tyler Toland, who scored her first international goal this week, was on the bench for Man City. The 18-year-old Donegal native signed her first senior professional contract with the club last month.

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