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Extra time League Cup progress for FC’s Women with 3-1 victory at Cammel Laird

Extra time League Cup progress for FC’s Women with 3-1 victory at Cammel Laird

Despite absolute dominance of possession and chances it took extra time for FC United to finally seal the fate of their hosts, Cammel Laird 1907 LFC, and progress into the quarter finals of the Argyle (League) Cup. The home side led at half time through Hannah Perry with Cara Fields equalising for the reds just after the break. Rebecca Foster and Abbie Carrington scored in the first and second periods of extra time respectively to stave off the lottery of penalties.

The home side sit second in the corresponding division to FC United and were unbeaten in nine going into the cup tie boasting an impressive home record. Those with long enough memories will recall the fortress that is Kirklands stadium from a Tuesday night back in August 2008 when our men suffered a 2-1 defeat to Cammel Laird in the Unibond Prem’.

Regular supporters this season have become accustomed to United’s Women dominating possession and chances and today was no exception (see Pauls Stats at the end of report). However, a combination of a surface not lending itself to flowing football, stubborn but effective home defending and a keeper at the top of her game made the trip to Cammel Laird a difficult encounter.
The home side got the game underway and both sides enjoyed a bright start with Captain Kirsty Chambers coming close, testing keeper Charlotte Perry on her near post; Perry responding well for the first of many times throughout the game and she held the ensuing corner superbly.

United began to control proceedings and a good cross from the right by Beth Tattersall, making her 50th start for the reds, was headed across goal and wide by Jess Battle. On 10 minutes Tattersall found Chambers who played into the feet of Battle, the striker turning well on the edge of the box and firing just wide. After an innocuous free kick by the home side that was well held by Chloe Ainsworth in the FC goal, there followed a spell of chances for United with Tattersall, Battle, Fields and Foster all peppering the home goal.

Midway through the half Chambers tested Perry once more before FC conceded a soft free kick wide right. The delivery was dangerous and Hannah Perry did well to get between two defenders and poked the ball past the on rushing Ainsworth from 17 yards with the effort trickling just inside the post to give the home side a precious lead and something to hold onto; completely against the run of play on 25 minutes.

Undaunted and believing in their undoubted collective ability, United spent the remainder of the half trying to break down the resolute home defence and only once was the FC goal threatened again as Chelsey Hodgin fired a shot just wide form inside the ‘D’. Meanwhile Olivia Greenhalgh and Fran Sullivan came close for the reds with Tattersall crafting arguably the best chance for an equaliser but despite an incisive burst to the bye line her final shot ended in the side netting from a tight angle with the half ebbing away.

Within 30 seconds of the restart, Chambers had forced the half’s first corner delivered by Fran Sullivan with Carrington volleying across goal and just wide. From the ensuing goal kick, Foster retrieved possession and slotted a ball through to Fields who rode a challenge on the edge of the area and lofted a precise shot across and over Charlotte Perry into the top corner for a much deserved equaliser on 47 minutes.

Continued FC pressure forced a series of corners ending with Perry making a good save to deny Sullivan and moments later Greenhalgh played a superb ball into Chambers whose shot sailed just over the bar. United earned a couple of free kicks in quick succession and Laird Ladies defended superbly to keep the scores level; in particular Lucy Carlin was having a superb game at the heart of everything good from a Cammel Laird defensive perspective.
Carlin and her fellow defenders became increasingly important following the dismissal of striker Hodgin on 75 minutes with the home side content to soak up United pressure whilst losing a key attacking option.

United continued to search for the breakthrough and with 10 minutes of the regulation 90 remaining, Chambers broke the off side trap, nutmegged and rounded the keeper on the edge of the box and with the goal gaping a cruel bobble resulted in a double touch by the Captain with her shot ending in the side netting. It felt at this stage like it was going to be ‘one of those days’ but leading by example, a disappointed Chambers kept her head up and United reasserted their dominance with the Captain herself forcing another great save from Perry in the 88th minute. A deciding goal remained elusive and the game ticked into Extra Time.

United continued to press and dominate in all areas of the pitch with the home side seemingly intent on holding out for the lottery of penalties and straight from the beginning of the first period of extra time United were on the attack with McCarrick bursting into the area and squaring to Sullivan whose shot was somehow smothered and cleared by a combination of keeper and defenders.
At last the deserved breakthrough came and uncharacteristically via a fumble from Charlotte Perry as she tried to hold a rasping shot from Foster above her head; the ball squirming through her hands and dropping just over the line to give United a jubilantly celebrated 101st minute lead.

Sensing the game was escaping them, Cammel Laird showed some rare attacking ambition but the back three of Chelsea Patient, Fran Davies and Jennifer Lomax remained alert to any threats as United continued to probe for the killer third goal. Fields went close forcing a good save from Perry and as the game ticked into the final minute of the 120, Battle went for goal with a decisive run and the keeper could only block the shot at her near post with her feet as the ball flicked up and into the middle of the six yard area where Carrington, playing in an advanced position for the final quarter hour, was on hand to slot the ball home from close range, securing a quarter final berth for the defending cup holders.

Next weekend, the Women return to league action with a trip to face Warrington Wolverines where they earned a hard fought point at the end of last season. Get yourself to that football ground and help them convert one point into three.

Report by Rob Fullen

FC Player of the game: Abbie Carrington – defensively superb and able to support the high press all afternoon; ultimately on hand to score FC’s third goal in the 120th minute.

Teams 4th February 2018: Attendance: 73

FC United of Manchester: 3 (0)
1. Chloe Ainsworth
2. Fran Davies
3. Abbie Carrington (Goal 120 mins)
17. Jess McCarrick
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
18. Cara Fields (Goal 47 mins)
7. Fran Sullivan
8. Rebecca Foster (Goal 101 mins)
10. Beth Tattersall
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt)
9. Jess Battle
5. Chelsea Patient (for No 10 46 mins)
6. Mia Holden
12. Amy Vyas (for No7 113 mins)
13. Gemma Jackson (GK)
14. Jennifer Lomax (for No11 106 mins)

Cammel Laird 1907 LFC: 1 (1)

1. Charlotte Perry
13. Phoebe Graham
17. Lucy Carlin
4. Emma Doherty-Jones
5. Joanne Day
6. Kate Anderson
12. Nadine Sword
8. Helen Cann
9. Hannah Perry (Goal 25 mins)
10. Chelsey Hodgin
11. Keri Sampson
2. Steph Oscroft
7. Amy Jones (for No 13 80 mins)
16. Sarah Rees

Referee: Mike Birnie
Asst Referee: Dan Adelman (Red)
Asst Referee: N/K (Yellow)
Venue: Kirklands, St Peter’s Road, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, CH42 1PY
Official FC photography by Mark Lee
Film Footage & Historical Stats from Neil Boo
Social Media Updates from Mikey Partington
FCUM Radio commentary and comment from Ben Hughes

Match Stats by Paul Hinson from: www.liveteamstats.com
FC United stats first column:
Goals: 3.............1
Shots on target: 24...........1
Shots off target: 35...........1
Corners: 14...........0
Completed Passes: 548........157
Possession: 78%.......22%

Neil Boo – Match Facts: The attendance of 73 puts us within a game or so of a supporter milestone as we close in on 10,000 spectators watching the Women’s Team since they formed 5.5 seasons ago.

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First Posted ~ 20:26 Mon 5 Feb 2018
News ID ~ 7770
Last Updated ~ 15:50 Wed 7 Feb 2018