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FC’s Women begin new chapter with a comprehensive FA Cup Victory

FC’s Women begin new chapter with a comprehensive FA Cup VictoryDespite the changes on both the coaching and playing side during the summer, it was very much business as usual as FC United Women got Kamran Hussain’s tenure in charge off to a winning start.
The Reds’ first competitive game of the season produced a 5-0 FA Cup Preliminary Qualifying Round win over Tranmere Rovers.
The final score doesn’t tell the complete story though as FC were made to work hard against a hard-working and stubborn visiting side.
Despite having the bulk of the possession and chances in the first half, only a 23rd minute Kirsty Chambers strike separated the sides at the break. It was midway through the second when the captain struck again – this time from the penalty spot – to open the floodgates.

As she has for much of the previous seven years of FC United Women’s existence, Chambers led from the front. After a 6th minute deflected shot came to naught, Chambers was clipped painfully by a defender’s late challenge but shook off the effects to shoot wide across goal from the left side of the box.

Play quickly went from end to end in an eventful opening period as Jess Battle was twice denied by timely defensive challenges from Tranmere’s Aime Neale. In between Olivia Hulmston was stopped in her tracks by Fran Davies and then FC were given a scare when Charlotte Cloy hit the bar with what looked a speculative effort but had Chloe Ainsworth in the FC United goal scrambling to cover.

And it was shortly after a mazy run by Hulmston into the home side’s area was blocked by Kate O’Gara that FC broke the deadlock. A quick ball downfield found Chambers in space down the inside left channel and the linesman was unmoved by offside appeals as FC’s skipper took the ball round the keeper and found the next via the inside of the far post.

More chances followed with Cara Fields and new signing Maxine Smith combining well in midfield for FC. Smith looked to have put Battle through on the right of the box. Despite appearing to have been tugged back by a defender, the FC number 9 still managed to get in a shot but not with enough power to trouble Aimee King in the Tranmere goal.

Opposite number Ainsworth was then called into action to block Hulmston after a misjudged Fran Davies back pass gave the visitors a momentary sniff of an equaliser. The resultant collision saw a short delay to the game as the FC keeper was attended to by physio Olivia Smith.

There were further chances at either end in the closing minutes of the first half. Maxine Smith’s shot from distance had King stretched to save at the expense of a corner. While Ainsworth had to be similarly on her toes to keep out an effort from Jade Collins in injury time, serving as a timely reminder that Tranmere were still very much in the game.

Charlotte Cloy, Tranmere’s most conspicuous player, had the first effort of the second half with a shot over the bar from outside the area. Chambers also went close twice for FC but Ainsworth continued to be kept busy, firstly to make a hurried clearance as midfielder Kimm Sullivan closed in then to turn away one-handed another effort from Cloy curled in from the left of the area.

The visitors then found themselves struggling to cope with a period of sustained pressure from FC. Despite finding her own opportunities somewhat hard to come by, Jess Battle was a persistent thorn in the side to the Tranmere defence and was barged off the ball by defender Lindsey Smith to earn FC a free kick on the edge of the area but Maxine Smith’s effort failed to breach the defensive wall.

However FC’s Smith continued to bring trouble for the Tranmere defence. Looking to get a ball in from the line on the right of the Tranmere box, Cloy resorted to a spot of all-in wrestling to get Smith off the ball, earning FC a penalty and herself a caution. Chambers took responsibility for the spot kick and sent it high into the top left hand corner, making to 2-0 on 67 minutes.

Chambers was immediately withdrawn in favour of Robyn Hartley and given an ice pack for her injured ankle. The substitute – FC’s fifth debutant – soon made her own presence felt and was involved in the 70th minute move that made it 3-0. Jess Battle chipped a ball into the box from the left, to which Fields needed just the one touch to meet the ball and drill it into the bottom right corner.

Stranger things have happened … but the general feeling was that it was now all over bar the shouting. Nevertheless FC kept coming forward. A move that began with Shauna Jein ended with Maxine Smith putting the ball at the feet of Battle in the area, where she shook off a challenge of Neale, who’d been her shadow for most of the game, and rounded the keeper before finishing with a shot past a defender on the line making it 4-0.

It was just reward for Battle’s perseverance on what appeared to be a hitherto frustrating game for her. And she was further rewarded with six minutes left on the clock as Fields, despite being surrounded by four Tranmere defenders, managed to get a pass out to Hartley who was again the provider for Battle to take the ball round the keeper a second time, making the final score 5-0.

Report by Phil Bradbury
FC Player of the game: Shauna Jein – a tireless box-to-box display in midfield.

Teams 1st September 2019: Attendance: 92

FC United of Manchester: 5 (1)

1. Chloe Ainsworth
2. Fran Davies
5. Chelsea Patient
6. Cara Fields (Goal 70 minutes)
8. Maxine Smith
20. Kate O’Gara
10. Jordon Bailey
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt) (Goals 23 & 67[Pen] minutes)
12. Shauna Jein
18. Olivia Hooper
9. Jess Battle (Goals 76 & 84 minutes)
3. Emily Marsh (for No10, 65 minutes)
4. Samantha Ball (for No18 57 minutes)
7. Corie Mather
16. Robyn Hartley (for No11 68 minutes)

Tranmere Rovers Ladies FC: 0 (0)

1. Aimee King
2. Heledd Roberts
3. Aime Neale
4. Kimm Sullivan
5. Lindsey Smith
6. Jade Collins
7. Jade Thomas
8. Charlotte Cloy (Cautioned, 66 minutes)
9. Olivia Hulmston
10. Elisha Price
11. Faye Jones
12. Alanna Lynch
14. Lucia Molinari (for No9, half-time)
15. Chloe Robinson (for No4, 67 minutes)
16. Danielle Riley (For No10, half-time)

Referee: Laura Bowater

Venue: Broadhurst Park

Official FC photography: Mark Lee & Samantha Coates

Film Footage & Historical Stats from Neil Boothman

FC United stats first column:

Goals: 5..........0
Shots on target: 10...........7
Shots off target: 10...........3
Corners: 7...........0

First Posted ~ 16:04 Mon 2 Sep 2019
News ID ~ 8477
Last Updated ~ 17:00 Fri 19 Feb 2021