2 - 1
Bolton Wanderers Ladies FC
FC’s Women’s FA Cup Delight with thrilling Extra Time Victory over Bolton Wanderers.
In their first ever FA Cup Tie, the Women’s team rounded off a fantastic Cup weekend for FC United of Manchester. After Margy’s men mauled Ossett Town 7-1 in Yorkshire on Saturday it was the Women’s turn to earn a place in Monday’s draw and they duly obliged with a late late show in Sunday’s sun bathed Broadhurst Park clash against Bolton Wanderers; winning 2-1 after extra time.
In football parlance OG usually means Own Goal but on Sunday the initials represented the ultimate match winners; Olivia Greenhalgh gave the reds a deserved lead with twenty five minutes to go only for Bolton to equalise on 80 minutes through Rachael Whitelegg. As the spectre of penalties loomed Olivia Gannon turned and fired the winner in the 115th minute sending the 167 crowd into ecstasy.
Bolton, a league higher than FC United, looked to settle the quickest after both sides had chances in the first 5 minutes. The visitors earned an early corner after Whitelegg’s speculative effort was deflected wide. United cleared well launching a break through Shellby Wolstencroft and the reds built a head of steam resulting in the busy number 9 winning a free kick 20 yards from goal. The striker curled her set piece towards the top corner of Brittany Jackson’s goal and the keeper leapt well to keep the ball out on 12 minutes.
Bolton responded and Emma Schofield crossed superbly for Michelle Kirkman-Ryan who planted her header just wide of Chloe Williams’ goal. An innocuous back pass to Williams was charged down by the dangerous Kirkman-Ryan and the keeper’s rushed clearance cannoned off the Bolton striker and looped just over the FC bar as everyone held a collective breath.
Kirsty Chambers came close to breaking the deadlock as she charged down the left, beat her defender and fired on Jackson’s goal with the keeper tipping the powerful effort just over the bar and from the resulting corner Gannon headed just wide of the far post.
A very even first half ended with a late flurry of half chances for the reds but the visitors defended resolutely and the half ended with no score.
Bolton were on the attack from the restart but FC cleared well and launched themselves forward with Chloe Wild and Jade Parker combining well as the latter centred for Gannon who had the ball in the net but ruled out for offside.
United looked to build on a good start to the half and Chambers shaped a shot from a central position which cannoned off a defender on the edge of the Bolton area but came back to the Captain who feinted to shoot again but instead laid the ball into the path of Greenhalgh who looped her half volley over the despairing stretch of Jackson and into the top corner from 25 yards.
Just minutes later, United had the chance to make the tie comfortable as Chambers fired in a superb cross from the left that Gannon headed past the keeper but just off the inside of the post and along the goal line for Jackson to clear.
Bolton pressed forward as the game approached the last ten minutes and progressive full back Gabby Yates earned the visitors a corner which she floated to the back post where Williams made a great point blank save only for Whitelegg to stab home the loose ball from close range. A nervy end to the half saw Bolton float a free kick deep into United’s area deep into stoppage time as Williams claimed well prompting referee Michael Johnson to signal the end of regulation proceedings.
The first period of extra time was intense as neither side wanted to give any ground and the home side shaded things as Chelsea Patient released Wild who just lost out in a ball chase with Jackson quickly off her line to smother the danger.
Two minutes into the second period of extra time substitute Allisha Marsh used her fresh legs to good effect driving at the Bolton defence earning a free kick 30 yards from goal. Audaciously, Greenhalgh shaped for goal and Jackson watched her effort drift harmlessly wide.
Bolton responded well and applied concerted pressure on FC’s defence as the magnificent back four held their shape and discipline to repel the visitors at each time of asking. With seven minutes to go yet another long throw deep into the FC area by substitute Chloe Fell saw the ball strike Fran Davies’ hand but despite vigorous appeals the referee adjudged the contact unavoidable and FC cleared their lines.
A combination of Wild and Parker released a very tired Jess McCarrick on an overlap down the right. As the ball rolled agonisingly towards the bye line, somehow McCarrick found the legs to chase it down and cut a fantastic pass back into the six yard area where Gannon showed superb strength to hold the ball with her back to goal on the edge of the 6 yard area. Shielding the ball the striker turned deftly, wrong footed the defence and keeper and slotted home into the bottom corner sparking ecstatic celebrations on and off the pitch with just five minutes remaining.
In a match where both sides played their part proving a credit to the women’s game, United held firm to the final whistle and ensured a historic victory to end a memorable FA Cup weekend for the club.
Next Sunday the Women are back at Broadhurst as they return to league action, hosting Northwich Vixens for the first time. Get yourselves to our football ground and help the team maintain their perfect start.
Report by Rob Fullen
FC Player of the game: Impossible Ask – At times during the 120 minutes all players could have made an equal claim; from back to front, from the bench and from the sidelines the performance was everything positive about team sport and proved a show of strength and togetherness amongst all connected with the Women’s Team; An honour to witness on a historic afternoon.
Teams 18th September 2016: Attendance: 167
FC United of Manchester Women: 2 (1)
1. Chloe Williams
17. Jess McCarrick
2. Fran Davies
5. Chelsea Patient
3. Abbie Carrington
4. Olivia Greenhalgh (Goal 65mins)
16. Jade Parker
10. Chloe Wild
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft
12. Olivia Gannon (Goal 115mins)(yellow card)
8. Adora Yau (not used)
15. Allisha Marsh (for No11 100mins)
18. Leah Hartshorne (not used)
19. Morgan McWhirter (not used)
20. Beth Scholey (for No9 78mins)
Bolton Wanderers LFC: 1 (0)
1. Brittany Jackson
2. Charlotte Walsh (red card 116th minute)
3. Gabby Yates
4. Rachael Whitelegg (Goal 80mins)
6. Nic Hamilton
7. Shelley James
8. Ruby Howard
9. Michelle Kirkman-Ryan
15. Hayley Langford
11. Emma Schofield
14. Katie Miller (Capt)
5. Andrea Reece (not used)
10. Carmen Troiano (for No8 85mins)(yellow card 90+2)
12. Katie Winder (for No11 70mins)
17. Chloe Fell (for No15 110mins)
Referee: Michael Johnson
Asst Ref: Sarah McManus
Asst Ref: Jonny Grupman
Venue: Broadhurst Park, Moston, Manchester, M40