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Tough start in new league as FC's women lose 6-2 away to Woolton

With their fourth season opening day fixture in higher company postponed last Sunday, the Reds travelled west to Liverpool’s Admiral Park, home of Woolton Ladies FC, for their first competitive game in the North West Women’s Regional League, Division 1 South. On a bright September afternoon, the Reds found themselves one down on 20 seconds and lost stand-in keeper, Olivia Gannon to suspected concussion on 10 minutes going 2-0 down in the process. United had a toe hold in the game, courtesy of Adora Yau, being 3-1 down at the break but Woolton won the second half by the same score line consigning the reds to a record league defeat.

Woolton kicked off and worked the ball down the left for Vickki Fraser who had time and room to stroke a cross to the near post where Steph Banks, got across her defender connecting superbly to volley past Gannon into the far corner of the net on 20 seconds. FC United responded well from the restart with Kirsty Chambers, Feiruz Abdullahi and Chloe Wild providing consistent threat and building momentum.

However, their good work was undone on seven minutes as defensive confusion saw Jess Tonge and Gannon collide on the edge of the area and as the ball squirmed loose Ruth Smith was on hand to slot into an unguarded goal doubling the host’s lead. A prolonged period of treatment for the injured FC custodian resulted in a change of keeper as Shellby Wolstencroft took the gloves for the remainder of the match. Three minutes later and Banks had her second and Woolton’s third as she beat the offside trap to run onto a through ball from Fraser, shooting low and early from 20 yards into the bottom corner giving Wolstencroft no chance.

Good work down the right by Abdullahi saw the striker turn provider cutting the ball back from the bye line for Yau to sweep the ball past Lisa Byrne from seven yards to reduce the deficit on 17 minutes. The game settled down with neither side creating a clear-cut chance as Wild went closest for FC and Banks for Woolton as the score remained 3-1 at the break.

Woolton, well organised in all departments all afternoon, looked to put the game beyond doubt with Smith coming close on two occasions the second of which saw Wolstencroft pull off a phenomenal reaction save pushing a fierce drive onto the underside of her bar with the rebound being cleared away off the line by a covering defender. Smith wasn’t to be denied for much longer and her third chance of the second half was despatched clinically just before the hour. As the Reds pressed forward, Banks exploited room behind the United defence and used her strength to hold off Jess McCarrick, threading a square ball into the area where an unmarked Fraser had time to pick her spot and score past the exposed Wolstencroft.

The introduction of Beth Hayes and Lucy Bonner strengthened United’s shape with the former floating a deceptive cross-cum-shot in from the right beating Byrne at her far post but it was the hosts who had the final say as substitute Lorraine Gabbitas stabbed home from close range with five minutes to go. Despite Wild, Chambers, Bonner and Scholey going close in the final minutes Woolton held on comfortably to see the game out.

Like their male counterparts; FC’s women have made a difficult start in a higher league with lessons needed to be learned quickly and I’m sure, with the calibre in and around the squad, they will be. Next week the Reds travel to Burnage Metro, an unknown quantity, in the Manchester FA County Cup before returning to league action a week later away at Altrincham.

Report by Rob Fullen

FC Player of the game: Beth Scholey - on her first competitive outing for FC United showed bite, skill, strength and determination in the middle of the park and was a threat from set pieces, linking well in attack.

Teams 13 September 2015: Attendance: 26

FC United of Manchester Women: 2 (1)
1. Olivia Gannon (Goal Keeper)
4. Aimee Cooke (right back)
17. Jess McCarrick (centre half)
5. Chelsea Patient (centre half)
12. Jess Tonge (left back)
8. Adora Yau (centre midfield) (Goal 17 mins)
10. Hannah Dobie (centre midfield)
3. Beth Scholey (centre midfield)
11. Kirsty Chambers (Captain - left midfield)
15. Chloe Wild (right midfield)
14. Feiruz Abdullahi (centre forward)
6. Shauna Ward (not used)
7. Beth Hayes (for No14 67mins) (Goal 73mins)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (for No1 10mins)
16. Charlie Evans (not used)
20. Lucy Bonner (for No12 61mins)

Woolton Ladies FC: 6 (3)
1. Lisa Byrne
8. Helen Pagan
4. Dawn Kehoe
2. Lisa Corkill
10. Jayne Tregenza
13. Rachel Carney
19. Vickki Fraser (Goal 71mins)
14. Jade McNicholas
12. Betty Old
7. Ruth Smith (Goals 7, 56mins)
9. Steph Banks (Goals 1, 13mins)
3. Paula Kadiri (for No8 75mins)
5. Lorraine Gabbitas (for No13 66mins) (Goal 85mins)
6. Eylane Keane (not used)
16. Beckie Jacobs (for No12 85mins)

Referee: Dave Chappell
Venue: Admiral Park, Dingle, Liverpool

First Posted ~ 08:58 Mon 14 Sep 2015
News ID ~ 6374
Last Updated ~ 01:47 Tue 16 Feb 2021