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FC United Women in thrilling 2-1 victory over table-toppers Ellesmere Port

Following postponement of their first league game, defeat in the second and last week’s abandonment at Altrincham, FC United’s Women overcame their stuttering start to life in the North West Women’s Regional League with a stunning 2-1 victory over table-topping Ellesmere Port Ladies on Sunday.

In their first competitive fixture at Broadhurst Park, United fell behind to a fourth minute strike from Jess Smith and equalised in the fourth minute of the second half through Captain, Kirsty Chambers. The winner came 13 minutes from time as Olivia Gannon scored from close range to the delight of the 102 supporters bathed in early autumn sunshine.

Like the weather, FC United got off to a good, bright start but the visitors struck early breaking the offside trap for Smith to produce an accomplished finish, lofting her shot over the advancing Chloe Williams from 20 yards inside the first five minutes. On ten minutes, good build up through Chelsea Patient, driving forward from centre half, resulted in a speculative 20-yard effort from Leah Hartshorne sailing harmlessly wide of Lydia Ward’s goal.

Defences were largely on top in a very tight first half with Fran Davies and Patient supported by sweeper keeper Williams thwarting the visitor’s attempts to play through the middle. At the other end, lone striker Lucy Bonner was getting little change out of the Ellesmere Port backline and chances for both teams were at a premium. Smith had her chance to double the lead late on in the half but Williams saved well whilst at the other end Adora Yau forced Ward to catch well under her bar.

United displayed belief and determination as they sensed a way back into the game at the start of the second half and they weren’t to be denied for long. Full back Jess McCarrick broke down the left and played in Chambers who jinked into the area, turned back outside onto her deadly left foot, wrong footing the defence and firing unerringly across Ward and into the net for a much deserved equaliser.

The goal proved a great boost and as the game developed it was United in the ascendancy for large spells as Yau went close and Bonner forced Ward into a good save after riding two strong challenges before getting her shot away. Inside the last 20 minutes Olivia Gannon and Shellby Wolstencroft joined the fray for Bonner and Beth Scholey respectively as United looked for the elusive and ultimately decisive second goal. Gannon centred a dangerous cross into the near post with the bounce deceiving the arriving Hartshorne allowing Ward to smother the danger.

Then, 13 minutes from time, it was Gannon, making her last appearance for the Reds before jetting off for a new life in Australia, who signed off in style profiting from a powerful Chambers strike that Ward could only parry into Gannon’s path with the striker finding the bar with her initial effort but reacting fastest to the rebound, slotting the winner home from a yard out.

A nervous end to the game ensued as Ellesmere Port looked for a way back but United defended resolutely throughout the closing stages and a first league win of the season in their first competitive game at BP was in the bag along with a welcome three points.

The celebrations continued post-match in the function room with the belated 2014/15 awards event for our women’s team and congratulations to supporters branch award winners Kirsty Chambers (Trafford & East Manchester Branches) and Beth Hayes (Newton Heath Branch). Congratulations also to manager’s player of the season, Feiruz Abdullahi and player’s player Amy Battel. The inaugural presentation of the Frankland Cup was made to Adora Yau for her outstanding contribution to the women’s team.

Report by Rob Fullen

FC player of the game: Chelsea Patient – difficult to choose in a game where everyone excelled in a complete team performance. Chelsea led from the back, defended resolutely and surged forward in support of lone striker Lucy Bonner at every opportunity.

Teams 4 October 2015: Attendance: 102

FC United of Manchester Women: 2 (0)
1. Chloe Williams (goalkeeper)
3. Georgie Tindell (right back)
17. Jess McCarrick (left back)
2. Fran Davies (centre half)
5. Chelsea Patient (centre half)
18. Leah Hartshorne (centre midfield)
4. Beth Scholey (centre midfield)
8. Adora Yau (centre midfield)
7. Beth Hayes (right midfield)
11. Kirsty Chambers (left midfield) (captain and goal 49mins)
6. Lucy Bonner (centre forward)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (for No4 76mins)
10. Beth Tattersall (not used)
12. Jess Tonge (for No3 61mins)
14. Olivia Gannon (for No6 69mins) (Goal 77mins)
16. Charlie Evans (not used)

Ellesmere Port Town Ladies: 1 (1)
1. Lydia Ward
6. Linzi Taylor
14. Katie Priest
16. Jenna Mape
2. Amy Jones
10. Kerri Brown
15. Natalie Neary
8. Helen Cann
12. Kirsty Kural
9. Kerri Samson
17. Jess Smith (Goal 4mins)
3. Lauren Stringer (for No2 68mins)
7. Sian Clowes (for No17 50mins)
14. Clare Hannigan (not used)

Match stats courtesy of Paul Hinson, United’s first:
Goals: 2 to 1
Shots on target: 8 to 5
Shots off target: 9 to 2
Corners: 3 to 3
Free kicks: 12 to 9
Possession: 54% to 46%
Pass completion: 430 to 398

Referee: Kevin Moore
Venue: Broadhurst Park, Moston, Manchester, M40

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First Posted ~ 08:53 Tue 6 Oct 2015
News ID ~ 6420
Last Updated ~ 08:55 Tue 6 Oct 2015