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FC's Women in second league defeat on Merseyside

Sandwiching last week’s fantastic home victory over Ellesmere Port have been two consecutive away defeats on Merseyside. After an opening game 6-2 defeat to Woolton, Sunday saw FC’s Women succumb to a 2-0 defeat to Merseyrail Bootle LFC.

A goal midway through the first half from Alice Whorton and a deflected effort, with minutes of the game remaining, from substitute Leanne Cunningham, was enough to leave the reds empty handed on their travels. With several squad members unavailable for selection, FC were defensively depleted for their first encounter with the Bootle side. The closure of the M62 led to some players arriving very late for the pre-match warm-up and perhaps contributed to the nervy start made on the pitch. FC struggled to get hold of the ball in the opening minutes, but then settled and began playing the ball out to the wings on what was a very wide pitch.

Captain Kirsty Chambers and Beth Hayes worked well together in the first period. Chambers made a decisive run down the left wing, placing the ball in the box for Lucy Bonner who just struck wide of the post. Merseyrail made a quick reply, with Chloe Williams forced to make a hasty save. The lack of communication and unfamiliarity between FC’s back four resulted in confusion on too frequent a basis and presented the first Bootle corner. Williams gathered comfortably from the corner and FC made a quick break. Chambers fired off a shot, but didn’t trouble the Bootle keeper Danni Platt, who saved comfortably.

From early in the game, and throughout the 90 minutes, FC relied heavily on the defensive skills of the newly-returned Fran Davies, who unquestionably kept FC in the game and prevented a heavier defeat. The busy Bonner stole the ball from the Bootle defence, and the resulting tackle won a free kick for FC. Chambers stepped up to take the shot which tested, but didn’t beat the Bootle keeper – the first of several impressive saves made by Platt during the game.

With just over 20 minutes gone, Williams was increasingly playing the sweeper role and coming off her line to support the defence. This, combined with the ongoing lack of communication, inevitably resulted in Bootle’s first goal. The ball was played over the top between Georgie Tindell and Davies, with a great finish by Whorton lobbing over FC’s stopper.

Undaunted, United responded with a spell of good play and put pressure on the home side, with Davies continuing to be influential and Bonner continually seeking to beat the impressive Bootle keeper. The first half came to a close with Hayes off the pitch with a cut lip after a mistimed tackle, and FC went in at the whistle to regroup.

Two early second-half substitutions (Beth Tattersall for Charlie Evans, Shellby Wolstencroft for Aimee Cooke) freshened things up and FC looked stronger on the attack. Both sides pressed hard and had chances, with both keepers kept busy. Even a third pair of fresh legs (Hannah Dobie for Hayes) on 69 mins failed to give FC the edge they needed to level the score.

With just minutes left, after a battling half, the ball again split the FC back four and Williams came out to challenge striker Cunningham. Summing up FC’s day, the parried shot deflected back off the Bootle player and straight into the net past the despairing Williams.

With just one win from the first three games, FC’s experience at the regional level is proving a tough test and the squad need to find some consistency and confidence.

With a County Cup fixture next Sunday against old foes, Beechfield United, at Broadhurst Park and the next league game at home also, Lee Sutton’s team should be able to draw on home advantage to get back to winning ways, so come down to Broadhurst Park and lend your support!

Report compiled by Kate Ramsey and friends

FC Player of the game: Fran Davies – simply immense in defence!

Teams 11 October 2015: Attendance: 45

FC United of Manchester Women: 0 (0)
1. Chloe Williams
3. Georgie Tindell
4. Aimee Cooke
2. Fran Davies
18. Leah Hartshorne
17. Beth Scholey
8. Adora Yau
7. Beth Hayes
16. Charlie Evans
11. Kirsty Chambers (Captain)
6. Lucy Bonner
1. Mary Priestner (not used)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (for No4 55mins)
10. Beth Tattersall (for No16 50mins)
15. Hannah Dobie (for No7 69mins)

Merseyrail Bootle: 2 (1)
31. Danni Platt
22. Amanda Parker
3. Lauren Williams
4. Tess Littler
5. Rachel Atherton
6. Jess Muirhead
17. Alice Whorton (Goal 22mins)
2. Devon Riley
9. Alicia Hardacre
10. Siobhan Cliff
11. Ellisha Busby
1. Kathryn Bradley
8. Jess Hindley
16. Gemma Lancaster
18. Leanne Cunningham (Goal 85mins)
27. Meghan Westerside

Referee: Paul Mitchell
Venue: New Bucks Park, Bootle, Liverpool

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First Posted ~ 08:57 Tue 13 Oct 2015
News ID ~ 6437
Last Updated ~ 08:58 Tue 13 Oct 2015