FC United Women began this season’s County Cup defence by booking their place in the semi-finals with a 12-0 win at Sale Ladies FC, on Sunday.
Olivia Greenhalgh’s 19th minute strike was the pick of the goals as Luke Podmore’s side eased through the quarter-final stage of the Manchester FA Women’s Challenge Cup, as they attempt to win the trophy for the third successive season.
With 69 in attendance, the game got underway on a chilly Sunday afternoon at Sale Sports Club. Almost a year to the date of the wet and wintry County Cup QF win at Beechfield United LFC, the conditions were somewhat better as the Reds put together early chances under cloudy skies; Sarah Chadwick miscuing her strike before Jess Battle was well-denied by the hosts’ goalkeeper.
United did get the much-deserved breakthrough on five minutes however, as Chadwick smartly flicked home Rebecca Foster’s low corner from the right.
Moments later, that lead was doubled when Jess Battle swept home a through-ball from the edge of the area before seeing both Corie Mather and Sarah Chadwick superbly denied by an alert Sale goalkeeper.
The home keeper may have had her moments in the opening 15 minutes, but there was no stopping Olivia Greenhalgh’s long-range effort that cannoned in off the bar to give the Reds a three-goal lead.
In the minutes that followed, Corie Mather got on to the scoresheet after finishing at the back post just before Emily Marsh joined her having also prodded home at the back post.
Manager Luke Podmore made sure he utilised the competition’s roll on, roll off policy regarding substitutes all afternoon, making 16 changes across the 90 minutes, Shaunna Jein and Kate O’Gara were the first two to enter the action from the sidelines, replacing Hannah Dale and Kirsty Chambers on 25 minutes.
Sale goalkeeper Charlotte Haywood continued to impress by denying Corie Mather’s low strike but was beaten by both Jess Battle and substitute Shaunna Jein in the moments leading up to half-time as the visiting Reds raced out in to a 7-0 lead at the break.
More changes took place at half-time for FC with Foster and Chadwick returning to the action in place of goal-scorers Greenhalgh and Mather. It was Chadwick who opened the scoring in the half, just like she did in the first 45, finishing off a corner that had come in from the right.
Two goals in three minutes, on the 54th and 56th respectively, saw United make it a double-figure lead at 10-0. Shaunna Jein produced another stunning effort to double her tally for the game before Rebecca Foster’s penalty found the corner despite a touch from the diving goalkeeper.
Before the hour FCUMW had 11 as number 11 Kirsty Chambers saw her effort turned in by a defender following a scramble in the box. Chambers then grabbed her second less than ten minutes later, firing a powerful shot in to the right top corner to complete the scoring and help comfortably send United in to the last four of the competition for the fourth season in a row.
United will await their semi-final opponents when the draw takes place following the conclusion of the other two confirmed quarter-final ties, on Sunday 17th February. Next up for Luke Podmore’s side is a return to league action and a trip to Sir Tom Finney LFC on Sunday (27th January).
FCUMW Player of the Match: Kirsty Chambers – The skipper put in a confident performance on the left wing, posing a constant threat throughout the afternoon with crosses in to the box, before capping off a top performance with two second-half strikes to help ease United in to the last four.
Sale Ladies FC 0 (0): Haywood, Jeffries, Teasdale, Sloane, Holmes, Starling, MacLeod, Crompton, Hargreaves, Aldridge, Hargreaves
FC United of Manchester Women 12 (7): Ainsworth, Marsh (Goal 30 mins), Davies, Carrington, Dale, Mather (Goal 20 mins), Greenhalgh (Goal 19 mins), Foster (Goal (pen) 56 mins), Chambers (c) (Goals 59, 68 mins), Battle (Goals 7, 39 mins), Chadwick (Goals 5,48 mins)
Subs: Jein (On for Dale 25 mins) (Goals 42,54 mins), O’Gara (On for Chambers 25 mins)
Roll on, roll off:
Dale for Foster (42 mins)
Chambers for Chadwick (42 mins)
Foster for Greenhalgh (46 mins)
Chadwick for Mather (46 mins)
Mather for Marsh (52 mins)
Greenhalgh for Carrington (52 mins)
Marsh for Battle (62 mins)
Carrington for Davies (62 mins)
Davies for O’Gara (69 mins)
Battle for Jein (69 mins)
Jein for Dale (78 mins)
O’Gara for Chambers (78 mins)
Dale for Foster (83 mins)
Chambers for Chadwick (83 mins)
Game stats from Paul Hinson (FC second column):
Shots on target: 1…..28
Completed passes: 118…..396
Venue: Sale Sports Club, Claredon Crescent, Sale, M33 2DE
Competition: Manchester FA Women’s Challenge Cup quarter-final
Referee: Leoni Harland
Report by Mikey Partington