Man Utd 5-0 Durham: Player ratings as Red Devils cruise into FA Cup quarters

Vilde Boe Risa got Man Utd in spectacular fashion
Vilde Boe Risa got Man Utd in spectacular fashion / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

From Leigh Sports Village - Manchester United are into the quarter-finals of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time since 2018/19 after eventually brushing second tier Durham side on Sunday.

Durham have been something of a bogey team for United for several years and it wasn’t until the closing stages of the first half that Vilde Boe Risa got the WSL leaders ahead. From there, the goals flowed a little more easily, with Leah Galton, Hannah Blundell and substitutes Nikita Parris and Alessia Russo ultimately running up the score-line.

United dominated the early stages without really testing Durham goalkeeper Naoisha McAloon – a moment of confusion between McAloon and centre-back Sarah Robson almost caused disaster, but the danger was averted and the subsequent corner posing no threat.

The visitors, meanwhile, were doing a lot of chasing and limited to trying to counter attack as had been expected ahead of kick-off.

United went close midway through the first half when Vilde Boe Risa slid in Galton to the left of the Durham box, with her shot cleared off the line by Grace Ayre.

When Mollie Lambert caught United captain Katie Zelem in possession in a dangerous area, the Durham winger’s eyes lit up. But as she drove into the box, her shot lacked conviction and was easily stopped by Mary Earps. She had also failed to see Jess Clarke square for a potential tap-in.

Boe Risa, in for the rested Ella Toone, had a couple of half chances throughout the first half but her stunning set-piece shortly before the interval was a worthy way of breaking the deadlock. The Norwegian has scored several times in cup competitions this season and added to her tally from 25 yards, expertly bending the ball over the Durham wall and into the left top corner.

Having finally made the breakthrough, United would have been hoping to build on it and returned a few minutes early for the second half.

It wasn’t too long after that Galton had got the killer second to end any chance of Durham getting back into the contest. Zelem’s defence-splitting made the opportunity and Galton, having denied earlier, made no mistake with a powerful first-time finish as she ran clear of the Wildcats defence.

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If it wasn’t over at 2-0, it definitely was at 3-0. The move started with Boe Risa’s speculative effort being tipped onto the bar by McAloon, with Martha Thomas racing to recycle the ball on the rebound. Eventually, Ona Batlle found Blundell on the opposite of the box, with the left-back by then on the right, sweeping the ball in with a first-time half volley.

The third goal prompted a number of changes from Marc Skinner – including a first competitive outing for Aoife Mannion in more than a year – and United continued to probe. The fourth goal from Russo was easy as you like, a Zelem corner headed in by the unmarked England striker.

Durham went close to a late consolation when Saoirse Noonan beat Mary Earps with an opportunistic half volley, only to see it rebound off the post. And despite being so far ahead, United were looking still looking for a fifth and got it when Millie Turner head down a Zelem corner that was stabbed in almost on the line by the grateful Parris.

Man Utd player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Mary Earps - 6/10 - Communicated loudly as always without much else to do.

RB: Ona Batlle - 7/10 - Always looking to get forward and provide an outball to start attacks.

CB: Maya Le Tissier - 7/10 - Another commanding performance.

CB: Millie Turner - 7/10 - Composed on the ball and strong off it. Floored Galloway with a legal shoulder charge at one stage that saw Durham fans boo her for several minutes after.

LB: Hannah Blundell - 8/10 - Played her way out of danger whenever Durham attacked down her side. Later switched to the right and was rewarded for her efforts with a great finish.

CM: Hayley Ladd - 7/10 - Broke things up in midfield really well.

CM: Katie Zelem (c) - 8/10 - Sprayed the ball about. Gave it away in a bad area once and got away with it, but later split the defence for Galton's crucial goal, as well as assisting Russo.

AM: Vilde Boe Risa - 8/10 - Continued her good scoring form in cups this season with an outstanding free-kick. Creative in open play too and involved in other opportunities, as well as hitting the bar.

RW: Lucia Garcia - 6/10 - Involved in a few decent moves, notably when Durham cleared off the line in the first half. Didn't really get behind the Wildcats defence.

ST: Martha Thomas - 7/10 - Worked had against a physical back-line. Didn't get chances of her own but her persistence helped make the tird goal possible.

LW: Leah Galton - 7/10 - Had one cleared off the line in the first half but kept her cool to double United's lead early in the second half.


SUB: Nikita Parris (for Garcia) - 7/10

SUB: Rachel Williams (for Thomas) - 6/10

SUB: Alessia Russo (for Boe Risa) - 7/10

SUB: Adriana Leon (for Galton) - 6/10

SUB: Aoife Mannion (for Blundell) - 6/10


Marc Skinner - 8/10 - Picked a strong team hoping to get the job done but was also rewarded for bringing Boe Risa into the lineup. Made his subs when the game was won to rest and rotate.

Durham player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Naoisha McAloon - 5/10 - Even at full stretch she couldn't reach Boe Risa's world class strike and stood little chance with the rest.

RB: Grace Ayre - 6/10 - In the right place at the right time to clear off the line in the first half and was generally always alert to danger on the cover.

CB: Sarah Robson - 5/10 - Got away with an early miscommunication with McAloon.

CB: Sarah Wilson (c) - 5/10 - Back in the middle after playing in on the right last time out.

LB: Georgia Robert - 6/10 - Contained Garcia quite well.

CM: Lily Crosthwaite - 6/10 - Showed good energy on her return to the side.

CM: Dee Bradley - 7/10 - Held the midfield together really well in the first half that kept Durham in it against the WSL leaders for as long as they were.

CM: Beth Hepple - 5/10 - Had to put in a shift off the ball that compromised how much she was able to get forward in support of the isolated Galloway.

RW: Mollie Lambert - 5/10 - Squandered a glorious chance to give Durham a first half lead after winning the ball deep in United territory.

ST: Bridget Galloway - 5/10 - Ran herself into the ground for little gain.

LW: Jess Clarke - 5/10 - Rolled back the years with some nice feet on occasion. Was screaming for a pass from Lambert for what would have been the opener. Faded as Durham did.


SUB: Saoirse Noonan (for Galloway) - 6/10

SUB: Becky Salicki (for Robert) - 5/10

SUB: Briggs (for Bradley) - 5/10

SUB: Maria Farrugia (for Clarke) - 5/10

SUB: Ellie Christon (for Crosthwaite) - 5/10

Head coach

Grant Scott - 7/10 - The game plan worked until United's go-ahead goal late in the first half. His team were disciplined and well-drilled, but were always likley to tire as the game wore on because they were constantly having to chase the ball.

Player of the match - Vilde Boe Risa (Man Utd)

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