Manchester United winger Leah Galton has been named Barclays WSL Player of the Month for December, with Red Devils boss Marc Skinner also scooping Manager of the Month.
Despite a number of nominations. It is the first time so far this season a United player has won the Barclays award, although it is a second manager prize for Skinner after already winning in October.
Galton was a major threat and source of danger in both of United’s WSL games in December, starting with the 5-0 thrashing of Aston Villa in front of a club record crowd at Old Trafford.
The 28-year-old, who sometimes goes under the radar compared to some of her more famous teammates, is one of the club’s most consistently good performers.
She scored a well-taken goal against Villa to put United 2-0 up inside half an hour and had other opportunities during the game. Galton was even denied a second goal in that game when the referee prematurely blew for a foul rather on her rather than let an advantage progress.
Galton stepped up on the big stage a week later when United travel to the Etihad Stadium for a record-breaking Manchester derby. She was again a thorn in her opponents’ side and, as she had done at Old Trafford, linked up with Ella Toone to score.
That goal put United into the lead and it shows the progress this season that Skinner and his players ended up disappointed to only draw the game 1-1, even though they had never previously taken so much as a WSL point away from home against City.
For those results and four invaluable points that could be crucial come the business end of the campaign and the hunt for Champions League places, Skinner was honoured for the second time this season in the Manager of the Month stakes.
“We’re frustrated with the result, but not the performance. This is a mentality change for our group,” the United boss had said after the derby.
“They’ve come off at the end and they are very disappointed they have not come off with a win, especially in the nature of conceding a goal [after taking the lead]. It’s not like last year where we might have had to defend for our lives for a big portion of the game. They’ve come off and felt they want and need to win that game.
“It’s a really great mentality shift. That is only going to serve us well in the future.”
For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter!