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Reds Women hold on against Morecambe to preserve 100% start

Reds Women hold on against Morecambe to preserve 100% startFC United Women made it 3 wins out of 3 in a league season that has hitherto been interrupted by cup commitments but, despite dominating the game for long periods in terms of possession and chances created, FC ended the match hanging on to a precarious 2-1 lead.
Morecambe had previously visited Broadhurst for a Women’s FA Cup tie just three weeks previously. On that occasion, the Shrimpers held FC scoreless up to half time before a second half flurry of goals saw the home side run out 4-1 winners.

The visitors proved similarly stubborn this time around. Although Reds skipper Kirsty Chambers managed to break the deadlock after 12 minutes, the Reds were still held at bay for the most part until Shauna Jein put the ball in the net following a round of frantic goalmouth action to give her team breathing space. However, the Shrimpers’ Robyn Hodkin, who scored with a spectacular effort in the cup game, again caught the FC defence on the hop and halved the deficit, leaving the home fans to face an anxious last third of the game before the three points were wrapped up.
FC United were quick to the task with Maxine Smith picking out Chambers with a long ball out to the left wing.

The Reds’ captain cut into the box, squaring a ball in to Shauna Jein who fired wide. However more chances soon followed with Jordan Bailey’s blocked by the keeper on a mazy run into the area. Fran Davies headed wide across goal from the resulting corner. Aimee O’Keeffe then made her presence felt with a shot on the run fired over. Within moments, O’Keeffe was threatening the visitors’ goal again and looked to have been brought down by Morecambe defender Laura Callis only to have the referee wave away penalty appeals.

Bailey made a driving run towards the Morecambe box that was ended abruptly when she was clipped from behind by Callis – a challenge adjudged by the referee to be worthy of a yellow card. However the resultant free kick saw FC United take an 11th minute lead as Kirsty Chambers sent a dipping shot over the wall and high into the back of the net.
More chances soon followed. O’Keeffe found herself blocked by the keeper at the end of a quick passing move. And there were a couple of opportunities in quick succession for Kate O’Gara who fired over from distance and, only a few minutes later, hit another shot wide across goal from the right. Meanwhile Morecambe found it hard to create any clear chances. Robyn Hodkin – scorer of a long range goal in the Women’s FA Cup meeting – again tried her luck from some way out but was well wide. Not long after, Chloe Ainsworth had to be alert to come off her line and block Shrimpers’ captain Hannah Parling just before the whistle blew on a half that had seen FC boss the game for long periods.

FC were intent on trying to increase their slender advantage and came close when, less than a minute after the restart, Smith fired a shot against the inside of the post which ricocheted to safety. With the half 10 minutes old, Smith’s through ball sent Bailey racing towards the Shrimpers’ bench to put the ball into the net … only to see the goal chalked off as the referee called play back for a free kick when it appeared that he could have played the advantage rule.

On the hour mark, FC doubled the lead when Morecambe keeper Kate McTeague turned aside a long range effort from Smith. Chambers, following in, squared the ball back into the area for Jein to fire a shot in off the legs of the keeper who was scrambling back across to cover.
However any thoughts that this might have meant the game was now over were quickly dispelled. Hodkin, hit a snapshot from wide on the right that gave Ainsworth little chance as it went in off the underside of the bar. The ball took a strange bounce back off the bottom stanchion at the back of the net meaning that some in the ground weren’t immediately aware that it had crossed the line – apparently including the referee, who needed the confirmation of his linesman to award the goal. However video footage has since clearly shown that the goal was legitimate.

This clearly meant more work to do for FC, who felt aggrieved at a couple of officiating decisions; firstly when Shauna Jein cut into the box on the right and sent a ball in, which appeared to strike the hand of a defender but the referee again declined FC appeals for a penalty.

Then Jordan Bailey was again denied a goal after putting the ball into the net for the second time, this time for offside.

Attack was proving the best form of defence as the home side held onto the slender lead as McTeague punched a corner clear and then saved the follow up shot from FC sub Yvette Loukes. The Morecambe keeper was kept busy as a misjudged back pass put her under pressure to clear with Bailey chasing with the ball rebounding for a goal kick off the FC striker.

And there was still no respite for McTeague who, shortly afterwards, was stretched to keep out a long range effort from O’Gara.

Despite the closeness of the scoreline, the Reds managed to finish very much on the front foot as they closed out the win. Further chances saw Jein lay back a Loukes cross for Smith to fire wide. Shortly afterwards, Jein put in a low cross to give Loukes a golden chance in front of goal, but the FC midfielder fired over. Thankfully the miss proved not to be costly.

Report by Phil Bradbury
FC Player of the game: Shauna Jein – covered practically every blade of grass and was involved in most of FC’s best moments.

Teams 27th October 2019: Attendance: 87

FC United of Manchester Women: 2 (1)
1. Chloe Ainsworth
2. Fran Davies
3. Emily Marsh
4. Samantha Ball
5. Chelsea Patient
20. Kate O’Gara
12. Shauna Jein (Goal 59 minutes)
8. Maxine Smith
15. Aimee O’Keeffe
10. Jordon Bailey
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt) (Goal 12 minutes)
14. Yvette Loukes (for No4, 60 minutes)

Morecambe Ladies FC: 1 (0)
1. Kate McTeague
2. Laura Callis
12. Bethany Fisher
3. Sophie Fish
4. Robyn Hodkin (Goal 63 minutes)
5. Emily Hutton
6. Becky Whittingham
7. Hannah Parling (Capt)
14. Katherine Oldfield
15. Amy Cambray
11. Charlotte Higginson
7. Shannon Primrose-Smith (For No12, 78 minutes)

Referee: Leon Hurst
Venue: Broadhurst Park
Official FC photography: Mark Lee & Samantha Coates
Match stats courtesy of Paul Hinson
Film Footage & Historical Stats from Neil Boothman
FC United stats first column:
Goals: 2...........1
Shots on target: 11...........3
Shots off target: 17..........2
Corners: 11...........3

First Posted ~ 14:21 Sat 2 Nov 2019
News ID ~ 8539
Last Updated ~ 17:00 Fri 19 Feb 2021