History repeats as Reds go through.
A little bit of club history saw FC United Women repeat the men’s 5-2 FA Cup win of 10 years ago over Norton & Stockton Ancients at Station Road in the women’s version of the competition. And in similar style to the game a decade ago, the Reds had to ride out a spirited comeback from the home side in the second half.
Jordon Bailey was again the key to the victory with two goals and an assist although the brilliantly threaded pass from Reds captain Kirsty Chambers to set up Maxine Smith for the goal that made it 4-0 was also something special.
It was a bright beginning from the home side as Georgia Owens brought a fine block save from Ainsworth in goal. Ancients’ skipper Bianca Owens managed to get clear to a ball down the inside-left channel but was pursued by Patient who managed to stay goal-side of her opponent before clearing the danger with a well-timed sliding tackle.
But FC struck back to put their opponents on the ropes with a well-worked goal. Jordon Bailey made her way down the left and, despite finding her way blocked, managed to work herself space to send a ball inside to Fields who laid it across to Mather, free on the right, to find the net with a powerful shot helped by a slight deflection.
The Reds seized the initiative and further chances followed. Fields, busy as ever in midfield, picked out Chambers with a trademark through pass. Chambers managed to cut inside but fired a right foot shot just wide of the near post. Chambers then turned provider with a ball to put Bailey in sight of goal. Her way was blocked by a defender but the ball ran for Fields to get in a shot that was saved by keeper Podzivte.
Minutes later though, Podzivte found herself stranded out of her goal allowing Bailey to win the ball with a stiff tackle that the referee saw no problem with and go past the stricken keeper to score in the unguarded net.
The home side were mostly restricted to shooting from distance. Thompson hit a fierce drive but Ainsworth positioned herself well to get behind it. Then Bianca Owens found space on the left, looked up and curled in a shot that flew just above the top far corner.
The Ancients were almost gifted a way back into the game when Patient under-played a back pass allowing Coyle the chance to take the ball round Ainsworth on the right of the area but her tight-angled shot hit the outside of the post allowing a doubtless somewhat relieved Patient to clear the danger.
Chambers led another Reds’ raid on the left, reaching the byline before sending a ball to the far side of the area onto which Mather connected with a fierce volley that Podzivte managed to get across to and divert for a corner off her thigh. The resulting corner was half cleared allowing Fields to run onto the ball at the edge of the box and fire just wide of the left hand post.
Although FC were the dominant side in the first half, the Ancients had shown enough to suggest they could still offer a threat if there was any complacency. This was amply demonstrated in the opening minutes of the second period as their busiest player Coyle lofted in a cross from the right that just eluded Bianca Owens and bounced to safety.
And within a minute of that escape, the Reds extended their lead to 3-0 as a quick passing move downfield ended with Bailey seizing her chance to go for goal from some 25 yards out and send a right foot shot looping over the keeper.
Bailey was denied a hat-trick shortly afterwards after holding off the challenge of Bell and taking the ball past Georgia Owens to fire in a shot that was well blocked by Podzivte. However possibly the best play of the match saw the Reds go 4-0 up as Chambers, on the left, threaded a tremendous pass behind the defence to pick out Smith who finished with a first time angled shot on the run from beyond the far post.
The situation called for drastic action from the hosts’ boss Chris Burton who made a triple substitution in the wake of the fourth goal and it clearly had an effect as two goals in fairly quick succession halved the deficit. A long ball found Williams on the left of the box who raced in to meet it on the bounce and lift a shot on the run over Ainsworth. Five minutes later Coyle won the ball in the FC United half and lofted it into the area where Reed showed great skill to bring it down with her first touch and fire into the net with her second.
Having already sent on Jade Parker for Smith, Reds’ assistant manager Hugh Ferguson (taking charge in the absence of Kamran Hussain) further rung the changes by sending on Hanna Wilson for Allisha Marsh. Although knocked somewhat out of their stride, FC managed to hold their opponents at bay. A chance came to settle the nerves when a ball from Chambers gave Parker the chance to run clear on goal, but a heavy touch saw the ball roll harmlessly to the keeper.
However Parker made better use of her next chance when Bailey got deep into the area on the left and did well to hold off a couple of challenges before angling the ball back to the top of the area where Parker met it and fired a first time shot to the left of the wrong-footed keeper, making the score 5-2 with eight minutes remaining.
No way back for Norton & Stockton after that though. FC United now go through to the 3rd Qualifying Round and a home tie against Chorley, scheduled for Sunday November 1st at Broadhurst Park. In the meantime though, the team return to league action with a short trip to long standing rivals West Didsbury & Chorlton at Brookburn Road next Sunday October 25th.
Report by Phil Bradbury
FC Player of the game: Jordon Bailey - although every player on the team put in a shift, it has to be said that Jordon’s contributions had the most significant impact on the final result.
FA Women’s Cup 2nd Qualifying round at Norton Sports Complex, Stockton-on-Tees.
Teams Sunday 18th October 2020: Attendance: 100
Norton & Stockton Ancients: 2 (0)
1. Domwyka Podzivte
2. Ash Coyle
12. Evie Thompson
14. Chelsea Bell
5. Sophie Tierney
6. Georgia Owens
7. Sian Williams (Goal, 66 minutes)
8. Maddy Atkinson
9. Shannon Reed (Goal, 71 minutes)
10. Bianca Owens (C)
11. Lily Patrick
3. Heather Johnson
4. Katie McGuire
15. Kate McSorley
(for no6, no8 & no 11, 60 minutes)
FC United of Manchester Women: 5 (2)
1. Chloe Ainsworth
14. Rebecca Cork
3. Emily Marsh
4. Allisha Marsh
5. Chelsea Patient
6. Cara Fields
7. Corie Mather (Goal, 14 minutes)
8. Maxine Smith (Goal, 59 minutes)
20. Kate O’Gara
10. Jordon Bailey (Goal, 24 & 50 minutes)
11. Kirsty Chambers (C)
17. Jade Parker (for no8, 67 minutes) (Goal, 82 minutes)
2. Hanna Wilson (for no4, 72 minutes)
9. Kaylea Cunliffe (for no20, 85 minutes)
Referee: Jack Arrowsmith
Match day photographs by Mark Lee