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Women beat Curzon to set up final showdown with City

FC United’s women over came a dual semi-final hurdle in Curzon Ashton Ladies and bitter weather conditions on Pitch 1 of the Manchester Creative & Media Academy with a convincing 5-0 victory. Against a strong easterly wind and playing uphill, the Reds took a slender one goal lead into the half time break courtesy of an early Beth Tattersall strike. Playing with the conditions in the second half, FC added a further four without reply as Amy Vyas bagged two, whilst Kirsty Chambers and Hayley O’Hara grabbed one each.

The opening few minutes saw Curzon settling into the conditions better than United as they were playing down the slope with the wind behind; nevertheless on five minutes the Reds created two chances as first Claire O’Reilly fired over the bar before Chambers did likewise in the next attack. The third chance in as many minutes saw Chambers break free down the left, storm into the area and fire low and hard across Kerry Podmore in the Curzon goal. Podmore made a superb block with her feet at the near post which unwittingly deflected into the path of Vyas and Tattersall around the penalty spot with the latter firing United’s 100th competitive goal of the season on seven minutes.

Tattersall blazed United’s next chance over the bar on 31 minutes after a prolonged spell of little goalmouth action from either side as the weather impeded any attempts at flowing football. However FC ended the half on the front foot as first Chambers sprung down the left flank before laying the ball back to Olivia Greenhalgh to strike first time from the edge of the box rattling the cross bar and away to safety. Tattersall exploited space down the right cutting a cross back from the bye line into Vyas on the penalty spot with her back to goal. Vyas cleverly laid the ball back to Gail Pennington who fired from the edge of the area frustratingly just wide of Podmore’s right post. On the stroke of half time Vyas had arguably the best chance since the early goal as she had time and space in the box to pick her spot but blazed a shot over the bar.

As half time whistles blew in both semi finals the games were finely poised with Manchester City leading their clash with Middleton by a single goal also.

Playing with the conditions second half, FC United looked to take a firm grip on the game as early as possible and Chambers was enjoying productive possession down the left squaring across the six-yard box for Tattersall to be denied by a superb Podmore save within minutes of the restart.

An eight-minute spell of FC firepower from the 57th minute effectively ended the contest. First Vyas doubled the red’s lead blocking a Curzon clearance in the area which deflected kindly into her own path leaving her to slot the ball to the right of the advancing Podmore. Just past the hour and FC took a 3-0 lead as Chambers broke the offside trap, bore down on the Curzon goal and blasted her shot past Podmore at the near post. On 65 minutes Vyas bagged her brace and FC’s fourth as she collected the ball off Beth Hayes in centre midfield and outpaced the Curzon defence, charging 30 yards to finish coolly from close range.

As the semi-final entered the last ten minutes Greenhalgh kept the ball in play superbly down by an ice-bound corner flag and delivered a superb deep cross from the left which Hayes connected with on the half volley beyond the far post; a certain fifth goal denied by yet another Podmore save. Podmore once again kept the scoreline at 4-0 on 84 minutes as Maya Germain’s cross found Shellby Wolstencroft eight yards from goal. Wolstencroft’s first time strike was destined to sneak inside the near post only for Podmore’s outstretched leg to deflect the ball outside the upright.

However, Curzon’s keeper could do little to prevent United’s fifth and final goal of the afternoon as the game neared its end. The fresh legs of substitute O’Hara allowed her to outstrip a back peddling defence as she cut in from the right before unleashing a powerful drive across Podmore and into the corner of the net from 15 yards.

On the adjacent pitch, Manchester City also fired four second half goals to dismantle Middleton Athletic 5-1, setting up a League Cup final between the league’s top two teams on 5 May at Salford City’s Moor Lane. A fitting finale to our first campaign, whatever the outcome.

Report by Rob Fullen

Website player of the match: High energy, a consistent supply line, excellent perseverance and a goal makes Kirsty Chambers this weekend’s player of the match.

Teams 24 March 2013: Attendance: 38

FC United of Manchester: 5 (1)
1. Amy Gillingham (Goalkeeper and Captain)
2. Amy Battel (right back)
18. Claire O’Reilly (left back)
4. Francesca Davies (centre half)
5. Broghan Matthews (centre half)
7. Kayleigh Catterall (centre midfield)
14. Gail Pennington (centre midfield)
19. Olivia Greenhalgh (centre midfield)
10. Beth Tattersall (right midfield and goal 7 minutes)
11. Kirsty Chamber (left midfield and goal 62mins)
16. Amy Vyas (centre forward and goals 57 & 65mins)

12. Hayley O’Hara (for No10 77mins and goal 87mins)
3. Adora Yau (for No2 73mins)
17. Beth Hayes (for No14 59mins)
8. Maya Germain (for No11 66mins)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (for No16 75mins)
6. Jade Challender (unused)

Curzon Ashton Ladies: 0 (0)
1. Kerry Podmore (Goalkeeper)
2. Sam Shepard (right back)
17. Anne Beagan (left back)
3. Laura Cummings (centre half)
5. Sarah Haymes (centre half)
14. Emma King (left midfield)
6. Rachel Parkinson (centre midfield)
8. Kim Seddon (centre midfield)
7. Candice Mather (right midfield)
9. Sarah Goulding (centre forward)
11. Holly Espie (centre forward)

3. Andi Bagshaw (for No9 64mins)

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First Posted ~ 21:25 Sat 23 Mar 2013
News ID ~ 4807
Last Updated ~ 15:31 Mon 25 Mar 2013