Top of the table clash ends in narrow defeat in Bootle for FC’s Women
Although by no means over, Merseyrail Bootle took a giant step in the title race as the contest was settled by a solitary strike from Alice Whorton midway through the first half. United put in a battling display despite being reduced to ten players after only 10 minutes and in a much improved second half performance, hit the post and had certain goal effort cleared off the line as the league’s best two sides served up an intense, intriguing contest.
The 1-0 defeat, only United’s second league reverse of the season, saw the Liverpool side complete the double over the reds on a sunny Mothers Day on Merseyside in front of a healthy three figure crowd.
After a delayed kick off, a cagey start to the game saw United earn the first corner which was well cleared up field by the home defence and the first real chance of the game came on 6 minutes as Jess Hindley floated her 25 yard free kick harmlessly over Amy Gillingham’s goal. Bootle sensed an opportunity a couple of minutes later as Sophie Perry spun and fired a snap shot on FC’s goal which Gillingham held well.
FC conceded another free kick wide on the Bootle right leading to the game’s first real flashpoint which resulted in the straight red dismissal of Captain Kirsty Chambers on 10 minutes and a difficult encounter suddenly became more so as a consequence.
Nevertheless United regrouped, reorganised and took the game to Bootle for the next few minutes Fran Davies stabbing a well delivered corner goalwards as the home side scrambled the ball clear. On the wide pitch, shared with North West Counties Men’s side Bootle FC, the home side cleverly stretched the play increasingly making the one player advantage count in their favour.
Midway through the half an incisive passage of play resulted in striker Alice Whorton bearing down on the FC defence and using Chelsea Patient as a sight shield, curled the ball with pace around the defender from 20 yards with her well placed shot nestling into the bottom corner just beyond the dive of the unsighted Gillingham.
Following the goal there was no let up from the home side as they looked to kill the game off with Hindley and Perry both going close but United’s defence held firm and Beth Tattersall, released by an excellent through ball from Mia Holden played the ball through to Jess Battle who was beyond the keeper only to be thwarted by an excellent last ditch tackle and a late flag from the Assistant Referee.
Looking for a way back the 10 players of FC earned a free kick midway into Bootle territory which was floated to the back post where Jade Parker headed on goal into the grateful arms of home custodian Shaunie Kennedy.
Another incisive break by a rejuvenated FC saw Jess McCarrick slip a ball into Holden whose clip over the top of Bootle’s defence was latched onto by Parker who under pressure fired into the side netting. Bootle reasserted themselves as the half entered stoppage time and United held firm going into the break.
The break and respite served United well and they started the second half much the better of the two teams winning a corner inside the first couple of minutes floated to the near post by Parker and glancing the head of a defender with a surprised Kennedy reacting and saving well.
Good interplay between Chloe Wild, Battle and Parker resulted in the United number 9 earning and taking yet another corner which found its way towards the edge of the area where Wild looked to shoot but instead set up McCarrick whose through ball, intended for Battle was well intercepted and cleared by the Bootle defence.
The home side seemed intent to soak up any United pressure and increasingly looked to hit FC on the break as the 10 players inevitably tired. A superb cross from the Bootle left led to a superbly executed volley with the outside of her foot from Whorton that curled just past Gillingham’s near post.
United broke well down the left with Wild centring superbly anticipating the arrival of FC substitute Amy Vyas. Vyas duly obliged and her first time shot looped off a covering defenders boot beating the keeper and, almost in slow motion as the FC faithful held their collective breath, struck the inside of the Bootle upright ricocheting into the grateful arms of Kennedy on the goal line.
FC once more, took the game to Bootle and Parker spun in the box and fired a half volley beyond the keeper with a covering defender clearing off the line when a goal looked certain; another head in the hands moment for the FC faithful.
Bootle, having survived two real scares, broke down field and an excellent cross from Lauren Williams was bettered by a well directed header from Perry which was destined for the top corner producing a truly superb one handed flying save from Gillingham.
United fashioned one last half chance as Parker curled a cross into the area destined for substitute Shellby Wolstencroft but was well watched and anticipated by Kennedy who snatched the ball ahead of the United striker.
Bootle managed the game to a 100th minute conclusion and celebrated the final whistle knowing the potential importance of the result. As mentioned earlier though, it’s not over yet and next week, the reds once more travel west to face Ellesmere Port and similar levels of support would be much appreciated, thank you.
Report by Rob Fullen
FC Player of the game: Beth Tattersall – on a difficult afternoon against a good side Beth undertook a dual roll covering in defence as well as providing some blistering bursts of pace down the flanks.
Teams 26th March 2017: Attendance: 122
FC United of Manchester Women: 0 (0)
1. Amy Gillingham
12. Fran Davies
14. Chelsea Patient
16. Abbie Carrington
6. Mia Holden
8. Jess McCarrick
9. Jade Parker
10. Kirsty Chambers (Capt)
11. Beth Tattersall
2. Chloe Wild
17. Jess Battle
3. Allisha Marsh
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
5. Morgan McWhirter (for No16 77 mins)
15. Shellby Wolstencroft (for No17 86 mins)
18. Amy Vyas (for No6 58 mins)
Merseyrail Bootle FC: 1 (1)
1. Shaunie Kennedy
2. Ruth Thomas
3. Lauren Williams
18. Sheree Thompson
5. Kaisha Sohl (Capt)
6. Jess Muirhead
15. Rachel Atherton
8. Jess Hindley
16. Sophie Perry
21. Holly Parkinson
17. Alice Whorton (Goal 22 mins)
7. Jade Thomas (for No17 90+6 mins)
20. Aimee Beach (for No8 90+7 mins)
22. Demi Fischer
14. Tessa Littler (for No21 73 mins)
Referee: Francis Sibley
Asst Referee: William Vaughan (Yellow & Orange flag)
Asst Referee: Steve Sibley (Yellow Flag)
Match stats courtesy of Paul Hinson from clickhere
Home Side First:
Goals: 1 0
Shots On Target: 6 4
Shots Off Target: 5 2
Corners: 2 7
Possession: 52% 48%
Completed Passes: 395 384