4 - 0
Stockport County Blues
A well disciplined Stockport side visited Broadhurst on Sunday with a clear plan to restrict the hitherto rampant reds from building another double figure score line. With United going 1 up with a floated Kirsty Chambers goal inside the first minute it looked like the Blues’ plan was flawed?
However despite conceding so early and being content to defend solidly for the remaining 90 minutes, Stockport, having just 18% possession all afternoon, proved difficult to breakdown with their keeper Francesca Singleton in exceptional form. Following her three match suspension, it was the returning Jess Battle who found the key to the lock registering a hatrick, her third of the season that gave the reds a modest and hard earned 4-0 victory taking them top of the league.
From the kick off United worked the ball down the left with Battle finding Chambers and her floated cross-cum-shot deceived Singleton in the Stockport goal and sailed into the net at the far post to open the scoring after just 23 seconds. Within minutes Singleton denied Nicole Hatcliffe and last week’s double hatrick heroine Fran Sullivan, with excellent saves but in the sixth minute could do nothing about Battle’s controlled drive from 12 yards from a Chambers corner.
The remainder of the half was all about solid defending and excellent goalkeeping by Stockport as the reds enjoyed complete dominance of possession and chances with the visitors offering little going forward. United’s dominance and shear persistence paid off in the first minute of first half stoppage time after Singleton had denied Cara Fields strike from distance with an acrobatic save at the expense of a corner. Fran Davies met the corner with a goal bound header that was scrambled away to the edge of the area where Chambers controlled and slid a pass into Battle who squeezed her shot beyond the dive of Singleton and into the bottom corner.
United started the second half on the front foot with Sullivan forcing yet another fine save from Singleton and from the corner heading over the bar with the keeper beaten. Just before the hour Battle grabbed her third and FC’s fourth of the afternoon which came following a rare Stockport foray forward; Chambers tracked back into her own half, broke up the Blue’s attack and surged back over half way playing the ball incisively into the feet of Battle who with her back to goal, turned and wriggled her way through a couple of challenges to see her initial effort well smothered by Singleton. The striker maintained her composure and as the loose ball squirmed free, slotted home into the empty net from 8 yards.
Fields came close to adding to the tally as did Sullivan, once more denied by Singleton. Jesses McCarrick and Battle combined well on several occasions with the former flicking a shot just past the post and as the game entered its last 10 min Chelsea Patient headed over from a corner.
Inside the last 5 minutes Stockport found their solitary striker Beth Brookes with a long pass forward. The ball bounced up awkwardly and Davies headed back towards Gemma Jackson with Brookes sensing an opportunity to get there ahead of the FC keeper who did well to smother the threat allowing Davies to bring the ball away from danger. In the last minute Beth Tattersall delivered a great cross with Singleton punching clear as McCarrick closed in.
A good test of patience and perseverance for the reds that will no doubt stand them in good stead with challenging home games against the league’s other one hundred percenters West Didsbury & Chorlton and Curzon Ashton looming on 29th October and 5th November respectively.
Before all that however, next Sunday, 22nd October, United begin their defence of the Argyle (league) cup welcoming Penrith AFC to Broadhurst Park as the two sides meet for the first time. This will be no ordinary cup tie as the women will be playing the game inside the main stadium for the first time in a competitive fixture. Kick-off is 2pm and is one not to be missed; keep an eye on the website this week for full details: www.fc-utd.co.uk
Report by Rob Fullen
FC Player of the game: Jess McCarrick – with Stockport showing little attacking intent Jess raided regularly from her defensive berth with direct incision and dynamic skill into the massed ranks of blue shirts linking well with Jess Battle in particular.
Teams 15th October 2017: Attendance: 111
FC United of Manchester Women: 4 (3)
1. Gemma Jackson
2. Fran Davies
17. Jess McCarrick
12. Fliss Winters
18. Cara Fields
7. Fran Sullivan
8. Rebecca Foster
16. Yvette Loukes
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt) (Goal 1 min)
15. Nicole Hatcliffe
9. Jess Battle (Goals 6, 45+1, 59 min)
4. Olivia Greenhalgh (for No15 60 mins)
5. Chelsea Patient (for No12 69 mins)
6. Mia Holden (for No8 64 mins)
10. Beth Tattersall (for No16 64 mins)
14. Amy Vyas (not used)
Roll on Roll Off:
Off No9 on No15 73 mins
Off No7 on No8 76 mins
Off No11 on No16 78 mins
Stockport County Blues: 0 (0)
1. Francesca Singleton
2. Leah Ashworth
3. Holly Brady
4. Emma Armstrong
5. Louise Pearson
6. Lauren Digby (Capt)
7. Amy Donohue
8. Imogen Elbourn
10. Amy Broadhurst
11. Megan Armstrong
15. Dani Bazzina
9. Beth Brookes (for No11 16 mins)
14. Rachel Brown (not used)
17. Vicky Brown (not used)
Referee: Leon Hurst
Asst Referee: Leigh Barnes (Yellow & Orange Flag)
Asst Referee: John Hampson (Yellow Flag)
Venue: Broadhurst Park 3G, Lightbowne Road, Moston, Manchester M40
Official photography by Samantha Coates
Film Footage from Neil Boo
Match Stats by Paul Hinson from: click here
FC United stats first column:
Shots on target: 21...........1
Shots off target: 25...........1
Completed Passes: 501.........112