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Match Details      

2.00pm Sunday 11th December 2016

North West Womens Regional League, Division One South

Broadhurst Park 3G, 310 Lightbowne Rd, Moston, Manchester, M40 0FJ

FC United of Manchester 1 - 5Merseyrail Bootle

Attendance: 115

Match Report

Merseyrail Bootle cement top spot in Women’s League with Broadhurst Victory.

Cutting through the hype and build up to the biggest league game of the season so far revealed a fascinating encounter unfolding in favour of the Merseyside visitors to Broadhurst Park on Sunday. The game hinged on a couple of key decisions, one in each half when Bootle were awarded a ‘soft penalty’ to open the scoring on the quarter hour and the sending off of Chloe Wild 10 minutes after the break which the visitors took advantage of with ruthless efficiency.

In spite of the aforementioned decisions, on the day Merseyrail were the better organised more clinical outfit and their victory was deserved although the 5-1 result was by all agreed, somewhat flattering.

Merseyrail kicked off in front of a three figure crowd but it was United who fashioned the game’s first chance inside two minutes. Jess McCarrick seized on a clearance releasing Kirsty Chambers on the left wing to cut the ball back to Olivia Greenhalgh whose 20 yard strike sailed wide of Shaunie Kennedy’s goal.

The visitors responded with Alicia Hardacre firing into the side netting before Jade Parker forced Kennedy into a good save at the other end. Minutes later the busy Parker pressed well stealing the ball midway inside Bootle’s half and made straight for goal. At the last moment she squared to Chambers who was narrowly adjudged offside when perhaps she might have shot herself? An FC free kick following a foul on the progressive McCarrick was lofted just over the bar from 25 yards by Shellby Wolstencroft and the visitors were able to build again from the back.

On the quarter hour, a promising attack by the visitors saw a decent cross into the danger zone where one of the strikers went down under an aerial challenge resulting in the award of a penalty duly despatched by Captain Kaisha Sohl passed Amy Gillingham in FC’s goal on her debut since signing for United last weekend to begin a second spell with the club; after captaining the side in its first season back in 2012/13.

Cheered on from the sidelines United responded well and a dangerous cross from Chambers cleared the keeper but just evaded Parker and Wild to go harmlessly wide of the far post. Kennedy cleared long with the dangerous Sophie Perry gambling beyond the United back line forcing an excellent save out of Gillingham at the expense of a corner which the red’s scrambled clear for Wolstencroft to chase losing out to the alert Kennedy who cleared the danger.

Back came the visitors with no let up in the breathless pace of the game and they earned a free kick in dangerous position to the left of United’s box. An excellent delivery by Sheree Thompson caused uncharacteristic hesitation in defence and Hardacre struck the loose ball first time through a crowd of players giving the unsighted Gillingham no chance as Merseyrail doubled their lead on 24 minutes.

United redoubled their efforts to get a foothold in the game with Kennedy holding a Greenhalgh drive well on the half hour before Parker centred a superb cross for Wolstencroft to leap and glance a header across Kennedy but unfortunately off the post.

Wild was alive to the rebound and cut back towards goal shooting from 12 yards and the keeper, trying to get back in position, dived to her right and got two hands on the shot but the power Wild generated proved enough to see the ball over the line on 43 minutes and FC had the momentum.

As the half entered stoppage time Gillingham cleared long as Parker got beyond the defence to play in Wolstencroft whose shot was well saved by Kennedy. The two combined well again a minute later resulting in a shot just wide and the half time whistle came at the right time for Merseyrail and the wrong time for the ascendant reds.

As United got the second half underway there was a palpable sense that the next goal was going to prove pivotal to the overall outcome of the contest. At 3-1 the visitors, with their undoubted quality, would be favourites but at 2-2 with the backing of a large crowd United would surely have the edge.

Unfortunately the break in play had seen United’s head of steam, built leading up to half time, dissipate and it was indeed the visitors who took a decisive hold on the game as the prolific Perry scored the first of a second half hatrick on 48 minutes as sloppy defending saw Hardacre play a pass over the top for Perry to lob over Gillingham who was caught in two minds whether to stay on her line or come for the ball.

United’s task became that much more difficult after Wild was dismissed for a challenge on Sohl in the centre circle. United were still playing in the belief they could get something from the game and with around 25 minutes remaining made two bold changes going three at the back and bringing on Beth Tattersall and Allisha Marsh to try and influence the game with an injection of pace on each flank.

However, before they could exert any influence, Merseyrail effectively made the game safe as Perry grabbed her second and her side’s fourth winning out in a challenge with Gillingham on the edge of the FC area and firing past covering defenders with 20 minutes to go.

With only 10 players and despite the change in formation and couple of good bursts by Tattersall and Marsh, United struggled against well organised and by now buoyant opposition and Thompson launched a free kick from deep in her own half, over the FC defence for Perry to steer past Gillingham with just a few minutes remaining.

A good cross by Tattersall saw a defender nip in ahead of Wolstencroft who was poised to shoot in the final minute and that was that with Bootle taking the three points and a three point lead at the top of the table inflicting United’s first league defeat of an otherwise excellent first half to the season.

After the game, interim Manager Jay Astley informed the team of his decision to step away from the club after being unsuccessful in his bid to be instated as Lee Sutton’s permanent replacement following a due advertisement, application and interview process for the position. Clearly it is to Jay’s credit he waited until after today’s key encounter to announce his decision and I am sure he leaves with the grateful thanks of all at FC United for everything he has contributed to the team and its development these past few seasons.

The position has been duly filled by Luke Podmore, a former coach with our Women’s Team working under Lee Sutton back in 2013/14 before being tempted away to manage Preston North End Women in the Women’s Premier League to continue his coaching development at a higher level.

Next Sunday United travel to Northwich Vixens at the start of Luke’s stewardship with the team looking to get this result out of their systems in advance of the winter, mid season break. The action recommences back here at Broadhurst Park on 8th January when we welcome Altrincham FC Ladies.

Report by Rob Fullen
FC Player of the game: Jess McCarrick – a fine display at left back defending well and looking to progress forward in support of the attack at every opportunity.

Teams 11th December 2016: Attendance: 115

FC United of Manchester Women: 1 (1)
1. Amy Gillingham
20. Morgan McWhirter
2. Fran Davies
5. Chelsea Patient
17. Jess McCarrick
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
6. Mia Holden
15. Jade Parker
18. Chloe Wild (Goal 43 mins)
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft
3. Abbie Carrington
8. Adora Yau
13. Chloe Williams
10. Beth Tattersall (for No2 66 mins)
19. Allisha Marsh (for No11 66 mins)

Merseyrail Bootle: 5 (2)
1. Shaunie Kennedy
24. Jade Collins
3. Lauren Williams
28. Ruth Thomas
5. Rachel Atherton
6. Jess Muirhead
20. Kaisha Sohl (Capt) (Goal 15 mins [Pen])
35. Sheree Thompson
9. Alicia Hardacre (Goal 20 mins)
23. Sophie Perry (Goals 48, 70, 84 mins)
37. Demi-Lea Fisher
10. Siobahn Cliff (for No37 37mins)
17. Alice Whorton (for No3 82 mins)

Referee: Steve Darlow
Asst Referee: Dylan Browne (Yellow Flag)
Asst Referee: Daniel Adelman / John Hampson (Yellow & Orange Flag)
Venue: Broadhurst Park, Lightbowne Road, Moston, Manchester M40

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