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Following last week’s pre season 6-2 defeat at the hands of higher placed Chorley LFC at Broadhurst Park, FC’s women found themselves playing opposition from the same level in the pyramid, defeating Haslingden Ladies 6-1 at Fearns Leisure Centre, Bacup on Sunday afternoon.
Five goals from last season’s leading scorer Feiruz Abdullahi and one from newcomer Lucy Bonner provided an emphatic response to last week’s defeat, although the scoreline was not a true reflection of the game as a whole. Haslingden more than played their part in an entertaining match and on another day their striker, Jay Clegg had several chances to bag more than the one she scored for the hosts in the first half.
Haslingden got the game underway and the first quarter hour saw both teams largely cancelling each other out. FC’s stand in keeper, Olivia Gannon, cleared long for captain Kirsty Chambers to control and slot a pass through to Abdullahi who calmly rounded keeper Lauren Bracewell to slot home her first of the afternoon on 17 minutes.
The next clear chance for United fell to Leah Hartshorne who picked up a Shellby Wolstencroft cut-back on the edge of the Haslingden area and fired a shot goalward resulting in an excellent save by Bracewell. On the half hour Abdullahi had her brace and doubled the FC lead after latching onto a clever ball over the top from Wolstencroft and firing across the keeper into the far corner of the net.
Haslingden striker, Jay Clegg, had two chances in quick succession, the second of which saw her turn well on the edge of FC’s box despatching a low drive beyond the despairing dive of Gannon to halve the deficit on 35 minutes.
Both sides created chances in the latter stages of the first period but no more goals were added before half time with defences on top. The returning Fran Davies and newcomer Georgie Tindell were proving a robust centre half partnership for United.
Abdullahi had two good chances early in the second half skewing her first wide of Bracewell’s right post and after taking a return pass from Bonner was denied her hatrick by an excellent close quarter save from the Haslingden keeper. Clegg forced an excellent save from United’s second stand-in keeper, the diminutive Wolstencroft who leapt like a salmon to palm away a looping effort bound for the top corner of her goal.
On 70 minutes Abdullahi finally had her hatrick, restoring United’s two goal cushion as she broke beyond the Haslingden back line; her shot producing another excellent save from Bracewell only for the striker to anticipate the rebound to score from close range and a tight angle.
Five minutes later, excellent work by Charlie Evans and Aimee Cooke led to goal machine, Abdullahi sending two defenders the wrong way on the edge of the area and curling her shot past Bracewell for her and FC’s fourth of the afternoon. This strike in particular seemed to deflate the hosts and with five minutes remaining scorer became provider after Abdullahi latched onto a quickly taken throw by Evans, charged into the area and fired a low hard cross into the six yard area where Bonner tapped home from close range.
Abdullahi herself wrapped up the scoring three minutes from time in predatory fashion as she tapped home a loose ball from a yard out after Bracewell could only parry a fierce drive from Chambers.
Report by Rob Fullen
Player of the game: Feiruz Abdullahi - goal scorer and provider backed by a very strong all round display from all her team mates.
Teams 2 August 2015: Attendance: 35
FC United of Manchester Women: 6 (2)
1. Olivia Gannon (Goalkeeper)
4. Aimee Cooke (right back)
5. Fran Davies (centre half)
2. Georgie Tindell (centre half)
12. Jess Tonge (left back)
8. Adora Yau (centre midfield)
7. Beth Hayes (centre midfield)
18. Leah Hartshorne (centre midfield)
11. Kirsty Chambers (Captain, left midfield)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (centre forward 1st half, Goal keeper 2nd)
14. Feiruz Abdullahi (centre forward)
6. Shauna Ward (for No 8 46mins)
10. Lucy Bonner (for No1 46mins) (Goal 85 minutes)
16. Charlie Evans (for No 11 46 mins)
Roll on Roll off:
On No8 for No18 68mins
On No11 for No7 80mins
Haslingden LFC: 1 (1)
Team sheet not available
Referee: Andrew Warwick
Venue: Fearns Leisure Centre, Staxsteds, Bacup, Lancs