FC United Women booked their place in the First Round proper of the SSE Women’s FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history after beating Bridlington Rovers 13-0 at Broadhurst Park.
Seven goals for Jess Battle, two for Aimee O’Keeffe, two penalties for Rebecca Foster and strikes from Kirsty Chambers and Corie Mather ensured the Reds’ place in the hat for Monday’s draw.
The Reds went into the first ever SSE Women’s FA Cup tie inside the Broadhurst Park stadium off the back of two wins from two at the home ground, with United looking to book their place in the First Round proper for the first time in the club’s history. Luke Podmore named a team that saw just one change made from the lineup that began that scintillating second half comeback over Merseyrail Ladies, seven days earlier; Aimee O’Keeffe replacing the injured Sarah Chadwick.
FC started the game just as they did in the second half, a week ago. This game also started as the last one finished with captain Kirsty Chambers connecting with Jess Battle, the striker chose not to shoot instead unselfishly squaring it for her strike partner Aimee O’Keeffe but the striker’s shot was cleared from inside the box. It was the first time that the two played together in three weeks but the partnership was strong in the opening minutes. O’Keeffe dummied a through-ball with Battle instinctively racing on to it before her attempt to round the keeper was smothered.
United were left scratching their heads again, moments later, after Chambers’ low driven corner from the right evaded everyone and despite the best efforts of Fields and Davies to prod it home, the scoreline remained goal-less. Just after, Mather placed a shot wide of the target with O’Keeffe’s lob then just going over the bar as we went past the 15-minute mark.
For all of United’s efforts, they eventually got their reward. On 24 minutes Aimee O’Keeffe’s disguised pass found an open Kirsty Chambers who had time to take a touch before driving home United’s opener, for the afternoon.
The Reds then made it two in quick time. Jess Battle broke the offside trap before racing forward and placing it past the goalkeeper. With that goal the striker broke a club record, scoring in each of her last nine FC appearances, the longest consecutive run put together by any FCUMW player. That was the first of two goals inside a minute as Corie Mather made it a three-goal lead. The winger set herself and found the net to give United a comfortable advantage.
It is fair to say that the floodgates had opened as the Reds made it 4-0 on the half-hour mark. Rebecca Foster showed superb composure to slot in Battle once again who made no mistake, scoring her second of the afternoon. The red, white and black scarves in the Main Stand were swinging as United put one foot in the draw for the First Round proper.
United then put together a trio of attempts in search of a fifth goal of the afternoon, Jess Battle twice had attempts go wide of the goal having been found by Chambers before the striker turned provider playing in Rebecca Foster, who curled an effort wide.
The Reds couldn’t find the target on any of those occasions but did take a five-goal lead into the break after Jess Battle got a SSE Women’s FA Cup hat-trick on 43 minutes. The striker was well-found on the turn by her strike partner O’Keeffe with United’s number 9 finding the net once again to put the Reds in a commanding position going into the break.
FCUMW came out for the second half with the same energy that had seen them take a hefty lead into the break with. It showed as 36 seconds after the restart, Luke Podmore’s side got their sixth. Aimee O’Keeffe beat the goalkeeper to the low cross, turning it home to keep her run going of scoring in each of her three competitive FC appearances.
Moments later, Rebecca Foster had a chance to make it 7-0. Aimee O’Keeffe was brought down in the box, with Foster stepping up to convert from the spot for the second successive FA Cup round.
Straight from the kick-off it was nearly eight for FC. O’Keeffe glanced a well-whipped corner from the right on to the bar before Foster found herself one-on-one in search of another goal, but the goalkeeper did well to produce the save.
The visitors may have been able to stop United extending the lead then but the Reds capitalised on some well-worked opportunities in the following minutes. O’Keeffe powered home her second of the afternoon having showed some good determination to make it 8-0 before another Jess Battle hat-trick over the course of eight minutes saw her make it 11-0 on the 68th minute with Battle getting a double hat-trick in the SSE Women’s FA Cup.
Podmore’s side then consolidated possession for a period in the game with it eventually resulting in a second penalty of the afternoon for the hosts. Jess McCarrick was brought down in the area and the same result followed with Foster going the same way, having stepped up to score her second penalty of the afternoon. Straight after the goal, Foster was replaced by Nicole Malpus as Luke Podmore made his third and final change of the afternoon.
Aimee O’Keeffe then went close to a hat-trick herself, having been found by a low Hannah Dale cross but the keeper did well to deny the striker’s effort. United would get one more goal before the full time whistle however, unselfish play from Kate O’Gara who rolled in Jess Battle for her seventh and final goal of the game.
That was to be all in an emphatic performance from the Reds who advanced to the First Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history. Next up for FCUMW is a return to league action as they make the trip up north to AFC Penrith Ladies, looking to make it three league wins from three this season.
FCUMW Player of the Match: Jess Battle - The striker had the pieces around her but a tireless performance with a display of clinical finishing from our number 9 saw her take her personal tally up to 15 goals for the season, having scored seven on a perfect Sunday for United at Broadhurst Park.
FC United of Manchester Women: 13 (5)
1. Chloe Ainsworth
20. Kate O’Gara
2. Fran Davies
17. Jess McCarrick
7. Corie Mather (Goal 28 mins)
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
8. Rebecca Foster (Goals 53 (pen), 72 (pen) mins)
11. Kirsty Chambers (c) (Goal 24 mins)
6. Cara Fields
9. Jess Battle (Goals 27,30, 43, 60, 61, 68, 85 mins)
15. Aimee O’Keeffe (Goals 46, 58 mins)
19. Gemma Jackson
3. Abbie Carrington
10. Hannah Dale (On for No11 62 mins)
12. Shaunna Jein (On for No4 62 mins)
14. Nicole Malpus (On for No8 73 mins)
Bridlington Rovers LFC: 0 (0)
1. Ebony Stewart
12. Hannah Mitchell
15. Vicky Stonehouse
11. Danielle Kendrick
4. Kennedy Elvin
8. Amy Thompson
6. Jess Coyne
10. Ellie Harding
7. Chamaine Pinder
14. Demi Hanson
9. Amy Ward
2. Jade Newlove
3. Josie Groves
19. Mel Marsden
18. Caroline Cloherty
Match stats from Paul Hinson (FC first column):
Shots on target: 27.....0
Shots off target: 17.....2
Completed passes: 417.....120
Venue: Broadhurst Park, Lightbowne Road, Moston, M40 0FJ
Competition: SSE Women’s FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
Referee: Abbie Hamer
Report by Mikey Partington