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FC's Women complete Cup Double in 10 goal thriller on Merseyside

FC's Women complete Cup Double in 10 goal thriller on Merseyside

With the Manchester FA County Cup already in the cabinet and a very creditable runners up spot in the league secured, United’s women made the trip to Bootle FC’s Stadium in a bid to end the season with a double cup haul taking on north league opponents, Bury Girls & Ladies FC, in the Argyle Sports League Cup Final.
In bright sunshine United warmed up in ‘For Mandy’ T-Shirts in an expression of solidarity with Paul (Faz) Farrell and his family and in honour of Paul’s wife Mandy ‘FC United’s Friendliest Bar Maid’ who tragically passed away following an aneurysm whilst on holiday in Benidorm the day before the game.

In a pulsating encounter, United came from behind three times courtesy of two strikes from Captain Kirsty Chambers and a 100th goal in 99 appearances from Shellby Wolstencroft to leave the field at half time all square at 3-3. United won the second half 3-1 with goals from Jess Battle, Chloe Wild and another from Wolstencroft to make the final score 6-4 – a victory and trophy fittingly dedicated to the memory of Mandy Howlett-Farrell.

Channelling their emotion, United made a strong start to the game breaking down the left with good interchange between Jess McCarrick , Olivia Greenhalgh and Chambers who delivered a telling cross that was well cleared downfield. The bounce off the hard unpredictable surface caught Morgan McWhirter unawares and Bury’s speedy striker, Jordan Bailey was swiftly through on goal to open the scoring despite Chloe Williams getting a hand to the strike on 3 minutes.

United responded well as Beth Tattersall surged down the right cutting the ball across to the near post from the bye line where Battle’s half blocked effort flew across goal and just beyond the far post.
Bury pressure earned them a corner on 10 minutes which Fran Davies cleared well setting United on the front foot through Battle and Wolstencroft with keeper Tess Duxbury grabbing the ball in the nick of time to preserve Bury’s lead.

United weren’t to be denied for much longer and just before the quarter hour Chambers levelled things with an unerring strike into the top corner from a difficult angle. No sooner had the United FanZone stopped celebrating Bury found themselves back in front just minutes later courtesy of a floated 40 yard free kick, aided by the breeze, struck by Bury’s Captain and former FC United first-season player Lucy Golding, that sailed over Williams and into the top corner.

Again United responded well with Wolstencroft heading a Chloe Wild corner just wide. The same combination resulted in Wolstencroft volleying just wide before Tattersall saw a fizzing effort well held in the dusty goalmouth by Duxbury.

At the other end Williams made a fine save from Kristeen Ferenczi before Battle headed against Duxbury’s cross bar from a 33rd minute corner; the game very much end to end as United looked to get back on level terms.

On 39 minutes they did just that whilst making another slice of FC United History. A long throw-in down the left was well shielded by Battle who forced her way passed one defender, tricked to the bye line and headed towards goal taking out a second defender with a deft cut back to Wolstencroft who calmly side footed past Duxbury to level things at 2-2 and mark her 100th goal in just 99 appearances for FC United’s Women; Shellby becoming only the second player (after Kirsty Chambers) in the club, man or woman, to achieve this landmark scoring feat.

Again United failed to hold Bury at bay and just three minutes after Wolstencroft’s record breaking strike our former Landlords (Ladies) were back in front as United’s defence were dragged across the pitch as a unit; the ball was played quickly into the space vacated on the Bury left and Golding scored her second with three minutes of the half remaining. Not to be denied for long, United levelled once more in the final minute of a pulsating first half with Jade Parker delivering a teasing cross that was only cleared as far as Chambers who, 25 yards from goal produced another vintage strike to level proceedings at 3-3.

The momentum was now with united and for the first time in the game they took the lead 8 minutes after the restart. Wolstencroft, dropping deeper, slid a sublime pass beyond full back Amy Openshaw and Wild used her exhilarating pace to gather comfortably with time to cross dangerously to the near post as Battle gambled correctly prodding the ball home from close range.
Breathing space was achieved with 20 minutes remaining as Wild made it 5-3 after taking a corner with the Bury defence obligingly clearing back in the direction of the taker and Wild composed herself, improved the angle and curled a superb shot over Duxbury and in at the far post.

Bury’s resistance was further eroded just three minutes later following persistent work down the left and a superb cross from Parker onto the head of the arriving Wolstencroft; the header looping over Duxbury from 12 yards to give United a surely unassailable advantage.

Slight doubts arose on 78 minutes as Bailey took advantage of miscommunication between defence and keeper prodding the ball past Williams to reduce the deficit slightly.

However, United nerves held firm as Bury visibly tired in the closing stages and indeed the reds could have increased their lead with Wolstencroft forcing a great save from Duxbury inside the last couple of minutes. Wild tested the keeper once more deep into stoppage time before referee Ken Jones blew time on a brilliant Final bringing the curtain down on a very successful season for FC United’s Women.

The celebrations began, the presentation was superb and respectful and both sides were a credit to Greater Manchester on Merseyside and a credit to the health of the Women’s game in general.

The competitive season may be at an end but this coming Saturday, 20th May, why not get yourselves down to Broadhurst Park for a 2pm KO where our Double Winners will be hosting the Great Britain Police Ladies Team in a prestigious friendly inside the stadium. The game will be refereed by Rebecca Welch who officiated at Wembley last Saturday in the Women’s FA Cup Final - a fitting way to celebrate the end of a rewarding campaign.

Report by Rob Fullen

FC Player of the game: Shellby Wolstencroft – Scored her 100th then 101st goals for FC United in her 99th appearance; a brilliant record at any level of the beautiful game. Shellby proved a reliable outlet, held the ball up well and her all round contribution helped the team to a fantastic victory.

Teams 14th May 2017: Attendance: 215 (2,832 in total for the season)

FC United of Manchester Women: 6 (3)
1. Chloe Williams
2. Fran Davies
8. Adora Yau
20. Morgan McWhirter
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
17. Jess McCarrick
18. Chloe Wild (Goal 70mins)
10. Beth Tattersall
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt) (Goals 14 & 44mins)
14. Jess Battle (Goal 53mins)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (Goals 39 & 73mins)
3. Abbie Carrington
5. Chelsea Patient (for No 20 56mins)
12. Amy Vyas (for No4 69mins)
15. Jade Parker (for No10 32mins)
19. Allisha Marsh

Bury Girls & Ladies FC: 4 (3)
1. Tess Duxbury
2. Aimee Hall
3. Amy Openshaw
4. Kaitlin Saunderson
5. Jordanna Holgate
15. Becca Dolman
7. Kristeen Ferenczi
8. Kali Habberley
9. Jordan Bailey (Goals 3 & 78mins)
11. Lucy Golding (Capt) (Goals 17 & 42mins)
12. Leah Tibbott
6. Samantha Smith (for No3 60mins)
14. Louisa Ellison (for No7 89mins)
16. Katie Sidwells (for No 2 60mins)

Referee: Ken Jones
Asst Referee: N/K
Asst Referee: N/K
4th Official: N/K

Match stats courtesy of Paul Hinson from click here

FC United First:
Goals: 6 (3) 4 (3)
Shots On Target: 14 6
Shots Off Target: 12 4
Corners: 8 2
Possession: 62.5% 37.5%
Completed Passes: 352 282

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First Posted ~ 09:36 Wed 17 May 2017
News ID ~ 7456
Last Updated ~ 13:15 Wed 17 May 2017