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Flying start to season as FC's women hit Oldham for six

The second competitive season for FC’s women got underway in a tough opening league fixture at Broadhurst against major rivals from last season, AFC Oldham Ladies. After a goalless first half, where defences and keepers were largely on top, all the scoring took place in the second 45 minutes as Lizzie Evans fired a hatrick on her competitive debut supplemented by goals from Kirsty Chambers, Shellby Wolstencroft and industrious debutant Jade Parker. These were interspersed by two Oldham strikes by AFC’s impressive forward Katie Priestly. The 6-2 scoreline perhaps doesn’t accurately reflect the game, as for long periods the teams were very evenly matched and even at this early stage of the season this result could prove vital in FC’s bid for promotion.

Late summer sunshine heralded the start of the new campaign and the afternoon began early with the continuation of FC’s community weekend, as coaching activities for local youngsters hosted by Moston Juniors and our own Adam Jones were in full swing shortly after 1pm. The ‘North Manchester Football Tour Stand’ was resplendently bedecked in green and gold, Moston Branch’s tea urn was doing a roaring trade, programme demand outstripped supply, makeshift pitch repairs were completed and sanctioned by referee Kevin Moore and the new FA Respect barrier and Newton Heath Branch banner made their debuts. The teams emerged onto the transformed Broadhurst Pitch 3 Arena in front of a healthy 91 crowd and FC got the game underway.

It was AFC who started the brightest as a lofted through ball found Priestly who dissected the new centre half combination of Fran Davies and Chelsea Patient, with the latter putting in an impressive well timed challenge being fouled in the process.

FC’s swift repost through Charlie Evans down the right saw the ball arrive with Wolstencroft who laid it back to Beth Hayes on the edge of the box to curl her effort too close to Sam Fraser in the Oldham goal. Chambers was next to test Fraser on five minutes and the keeper did well to hold a fierce drive from the left but FC kept the pressure up and within two minutes had efforts on target from Chambers once more and a far-post header by Kaya Janny. AFC Oldham defended stoutly and cleared their lines well looking to catch FC on the counter-attack.

On the quarter hour Priestly was almost in again as a clever free kick from just inside her own half from Oldham’s Lorna Brown beat the defence and under pressure, the Oldham forward lobbed new keeper Mary Priestner with the ball dropping just wide of FC’s right-hand post.

Both teams cancelled each other out for much of the remaining first half with chances few and far between as the game entered a disjointed spell until FC finally found some rhythm as half time approached. Chambers forced another excellent save from Fraser on 40 minutes, Parker fired an effort wide, Amy Battel steered a header goalward from a Chambers corner and perhaps the closest FC came to scoring was when a cross-cum-shot from the left by Chambers produced an acrobatic goal line clearance from Steph Juszczyszyn under pressure from Wolstencroft and it remained goalless at the break.

Oldham got the second half underway but it was FC who looked the brightest maintaining the momentum they had secured going into the break and on 49 minutes the breakthrough came. Good work through the midfield saw Parker feed Battel who was marauding from full back down the right wing before swinging a cross to the far post for Chambers to square into the six yard box leaving the keeper stranded and Lizzie Evans had the simple task of tapping home for her debut goal and United’s first of the game.

However, the lead lasted just three minutes as AFC Oldham broke through the middle and Priestly fired over Priestner from the edge of the area with the FC keeper getting fingertips to the drive but unable to keep the ball from nestling into the back of the net.

Just before the hour and FC were back in front. Good work in the midfield by Lizzie Evans and Janny released Parker who, riding two challenges, surged into the box and slotted the ball to Wolstencroft who fired across the six yard box causing mass panic in the Oldham backline. Parker took full advantage, swivelling and firing the loose ball high into the roof of the net from six yards to restore the Reds’ lead.

Three goals in five minutes effectively ended the contest, as Chambers scored direct from a free kick wide on the right; her shot catching the Oldham backline and keeper unawares as it sailed into the back of the net on 70 minutes. Just two minutes later and Lizzie Evans had her second of the game as she latched onto a clever through ball by Hannah White and slotted her shot past the advancing Fraser. After good interplay between Chambers and Gail Pennington down the left, the latter’s cross was headed inconclusively high into the air inside the 18 yard box by an Oldham defender. Lizzie Evans was the first to react, volleying the ball inside the post from 12 yards to seal her hatrick and giving FC a 5-1 lead on 75 minutes.

As to be expected in a game between two close rivals, Oldham never gave up and Priestly bagged her brace and Oldham’s second 12 minutes from time, pouncing on indecision between Patient and Priestner to toe poke home from close range.

United had the final say in the scoring stakes in the 83rd minute as their sixth of the afternoon was superbly chipped over Fraser from fully 25 yards by Wolstencroft who almost bagged her second in the 90th minute coming within inches of connecting with a superb Pennington delivery. Deep in stoppage time, Chambers once again found Fraser equal to her shot and referee Moore brought proceedings to a close moments later.

Plenty of positives for the new look FC squad to take from their opening day encounter against very tough opponents and also plenty to work on as the season progresses.

Report by Rob Fullen.

Website player of the match: Jade Parker.
Moston Juniors’ choice of player of the match: Jade Parker

Teams 8 September 2013: Attendance: 91

FC United of Manchester Women: 6(0)
1. Mary Priestner (Goalkeeper)
2. Amy Battel (right back)
8. Adora Yau (left back)
5. Fran Davies (centre half)
3. Chelsea Patient (centre half)
7. Beth Hayes (centre midfield)
9. Jade Parker (centre midfield and 1 goal 59mins)
12. Kaya Janny (centre midfield)
11. Kirsty Chambers (left midfield, Captain and goal 70mins)
16. Charlie Evans (right midfield)
17. Shellby Wolstencroft (centre forward and 1 goal, 83mins)

4. Gail Pennington (for No7 25mins)
6. Tasha Rowe (for No15 86mins)
14. Hannah White (for No12 61mins)
15. Lizzie Evans (for No8 33mins and goals, 49, 72 and 75mins)
18. Andi Bagshaw (for No16 77mins)

AFC Oldham Ladies: 2 (0)
1. Sam Fraser
12. Sophie Barton
4. Lorna Brown
8. Leigh Carnell
5. Lesley English (Captain)
14. Katie Priestly
3. Steph Juszczyszyn
6. Shirley Boulton
15. Rachael McHugh
17. Rebbecca Jones
10. Rachel Lawton

9. Cisa Wood (for No10 23mins)
7. Joe Pickering (not used)
11. Kerry Cummings (not used)
16. Evie Brooks-Banks (for No15 23mins)

Roll on Roll Off changes:
No10 on for No16 61mins
No15 on for No17 61mins
No17 on for No15 70mins

FCUM match stats courtesy of Aiden at Constructive Coding:
Shots on target 16
Shots off target 9
Corners 9
Goal kicks 7
Free kicks 12
Off Sides 2
Possession 69%

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First Posted ~ 17:02 Sun 8 Sep 2013
News ID ~ 5068
Last Updated ~ 20:37 Sun 8 Sep 2013