Wigan Athletic Ladies
1 - 0
In deepest Billinge, backed by a 50 plus away following, FC’s women battled bravely for over 80 minutes with 10 players following the early dismissal of Jess Battle for an innocuous incident that could be contended as a yellow card offence on any other day but ultimately exited this seasons SSE FA Cup by the only goal of game which Wigan scored on the quarter hour.
Wigan a division higher than the reds, exacted revenge for defeat at the hands of FC in last season’s Argyle Cup semi final when the red’s triumphed 2-1 at Broadhurst Park, started the game brightly with Rachel Ainscow crossing well from the right under pressure; Gemma Jackson diving bravely at the feet of Megan Hornby to deny the home side a potential opener inside the first minute.
United responded well as Kirsty Chambers burst down the left; earning the game’s first corner. Wigan cleared well beyond the back post with Battle regaining possession, taking the ball to the bye line and cutting back to Fran Sullivan whose shot cleared the bar from 12 yards.
With the game just 8 minutes old and both sides holding their own, Battle contested a loose ball in the centre circle and was adjudged to have committed a foul which the referee deemed worthy of her early dismissal and with the red’s struggling with the perceived injustice Wigan looked to press their advantage quickly.
Another soft challenge on a patchy and in places treacherous surface was awarded to the home side just 25 yards from goal and Hornby stepped up and curled her shot over the wall and the despairing leap of Jackson to open the scoring on the quarter hour.
United responded superbly, controlling large parts of the remainder of the half; Yvette Loukes breaking through on more than one occasion with her best chance being well smothered by Jessica Linford after Loukes had latched onto a ball over the top by Abbie Carrington. Just passed the mid- point of the half, Sullivan flicked on a goal kick and Loukes burst between the two Wigan centre halves but under pressure skewed her shot wide of Linford’s goal.
Chambers forced Linford into a good save at one end followed by Jackson saving well from Ainscow at the other as the half neared its conclusion. With just minutes remaining good United approach play saw Chambers released on the left and her fierce shot had Linford well beaten but Wigan were saved by the post and the deflection fell kindly for the hosts allowing them to clear and maintain their slender advantage going into the break.
After the interval Wigan looked much more composed and controlled the early part of the half with better retention of possession and on the hour Luke Podmore introduced Nicole Hatcliffe up front moving Loukes into her more natural right sided berth. This certainly added balance and renewed energy to the red’s attack but it was Wigan who came closest to scoring again as Emma Lysons volleyed over the FC bar from close range after an excellent cross from Hornby. Captain Emma Valentine similarly cleared the bar after connecting well with a corner with just 20 minutes remaining.
Nichol Forster and Fliss Winters were introduced to provide added intensity and impetus up front resulting in United forcing more of the issues as time ebbed frustratingly away. In the final analysis however, Wigan closed the game out well and head into the 3rd Qualifying round at United’s expense.
Although not fully confirmed, United’s Women open their defence of the Manchester FA County Cup next Sunday against Didsbury FC Ladies. Being a home tie we are unable to play at Broadhurst Park due to the men’s game against Tamworth being switched to the Sunday under the conditions of our lease. At the time of writing we are working hard to secure a suitable alternative venue and please look out for details on the website as soon as known. As a result, our scheduled league game away to Warrington Wolverines will be rescheduled for later in the season also. Being an extra home game, (away from home) their will only be a very limited number of programmes produced for the Women’s County Cup tie and these will contain the first Special Token, A, of the season. Thank you to all the supporters who travelled to the Wigan game, your support was much appreciated and fantastic as always.
Report by Rob Fullen
FC Player of the game: Fran Davies, the defence as whole played superbly but Fran showed that additional level of composure under pressure that certainly helped keep the red’s in with a shout right to the very end.
Teams 17th September 2017: Attendance: 72
FC United of Manchester Women: 0 (0)
1. Gemma Jackson
2. Fran Davies
3. Abbie Carrington
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
5. Chelsea Patient
7. Yvette Loukes
8. Rebecca Foster
9. Jess Battle
10. Fran Sullivan
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt )
17. Jess McCarrick
6. Mia Holden
12. Fliss Winters (for No 7 - 72 mins)
15. Nichol Forster (for No 4 - 72 mins)
16. Amy Vyas
18.Nichole Hatcliffe (for No 17 - 60 mins)
Wigan Athletic FC Ladies: 1 (1)
1. Jessica Linford
2. Emma Lysons
3. Emma Valentine (Capt)
4. Nic Hamilton
5. Michelle Hunt
6. Grace Vella
7. Rachel Ainscow
8. Ashley Taylor
9. Eleanor Threlkeld
10. Keia McFadyen
11. Megan Hornby (Goal 15 mins)
12. Samantha Baldwin (for No 5 - 64 mins)
14. Louise Ainscow (for No 4 - 64 mins)
15. Jenna Morgan
GK. Donna Harris
Referee: Michael Powell
Asst 1: Adam Roper (Yellow)
Asst 2: Joshua Pycroft (Yellow & Orange)
Official photography by Mark Lee & Samantha Coates
Film Footage from Neil Boo
Twitter Feed by Mikey Partington
Match Stats by Paul Hinson from: click here
FC United stats first column:
Shots on target: 5...........5
Shots off target: 6...........5
Completed Passes: 252.........218
Historical Stats and Facts from Neil Boo:
Fran Davies goes top of the consecutive appearances chart with her 54th today moving one ahead of Beth Hayes.