Five months since their last full competitive outing and following a disjointed yet challenging pre season, FC United’s women began their third campaign with a 4-1 victory over newcomers Reddish North End.
North Reddish Park, bathed in late summer sunshine, saw the reds race into a 3-0 half time lead with two goals from debutant Feiruz Abdullahi sandwiching a header from Shellby Wolstencroft. Abdullahi completed her hatrick early in the second half with North End smashing a consolation late in the game.
The season had started the week before but with the reds’ game against Heyside postponed Reddish had the competitive advantage having thrashed Oldham Athletic 7-1 and they started today’s game on the front foot forcing Mary Priestner into an excellent save as Sarah Duggan evaded the FC defence going one on one with Priestner who parried superbly round the post inside ten minutes.
United settled into the game and soon began to dominate proceedings. Just after the quarter hour the breakthrough came. It was tinged with a strong hint of good fortune and rewarded Abdullahi’s endeavour as she beat the offside trap, chasing down Jess Tonge’s ball over the top; North End’s Number 1 Samaya Keane raced from her area reaching the ball a fraction before the FC attacker but her clearance ricocheted off the forward flying into the unguarded net.
Less than ten minutes later and good combination down the left saw Abdullahi lay the ball back to captain Kirsty Chambers who floated a measured cross into the unmarked Wolstencroft who headed home from six yards.
There was no hint of good fortune on the half hour as the lively Abdullahi once again broke through the high line Reddish were employing and despite two defenders breathing down her neck, slotted home coolly past the advancing Keane.
United started the second half on the front foot with Wolstencroft firing narrowly wide within 30 seconds of the resumption and ten minutes in the reds had their fourth goal as Abdullahi bagged her hatrick connecting at the far post with an unselfish square pass across the six-yard box from Chambers.
At 4-0 to the good the reds could be accused of being less than clinical as chance after chance was spurned and late on Reddish gained some consolation as Tracey Blanchard scored an excellent goal curling her effort beyond Priestner from the edge of United’s area. Referee Jordan Bulmer brought proceedings to an end shortly after as the game turned scrappy and at times bad tempered. United’s third campaign was off to an excellent start against tough, competent opponents.
Report by Rob Fullen
Player of the game: Feiruz Abdullahi – a debut hat-trick for the former Manchester City player and on another day she could have had several more.
Teams 21st September 2014: Attendance: 72
Reddish North End: 1 (0)
1. Samaya Keane
4. Laura Molloy
7. Hanna Wilson (cautioned 76 mins)
8. Gail Redston
6. Becky Bailey (Captain) (Red Card 79 mins)
11. Amy Butterworth
44. Sarah Duggan
20. Ciara Gemzola
5. Natalie Clarke
12. Tracey Blanchard (goal 78 mins)
15. Amelia Garlick
FC United of Manchester women: 4(3)
1. Mary Priestner (Goalkeeper)
4. Aimee Cooke (right back)
5. Chelsea Patient (centre half)
7. Beth Hayes (centre half)
12. Jess Tonge (left back)(cautioned 76 mins)
3. Nicola Carlin (centre midfield)
18. Leah Hartshorne (centre midfield)
16. Charlie Evans (right midfield)
11. Kirsty Chambers (Captain, left midfield)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (centre forward) (goal 25 mins)
14. Feiruz Abdullahi (centre forward) (goals 17, 31, 55 mins)
2. Amy Battel for No4 46 mins
6. Abbie Carrington for No 18 46 mins
15. Katie Mooney for No 16 62 mins
GK. Megan Kenyon (not used)
Referee: Jordan Bulmer
Venue: North Reddish Park.