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FC United Women put in strong showing to overcome Brighouse Town for second successive pre-season

FC United Women put in strong showing to overcome Brighouse Town for second successive pre-season

Two first half Jess Battle goals were enough for FC United Women to pick up a comfortable 2-0 win at Brighouse Town LFC, on Sunday afternoon. The striker’s 5th and 6th goals of the Reds’ pre-season campaign ensured that United overcame the FA Women’s National League Division One North side for the second successive year, in pre-season, having also won last year’s fixture 3-1, at Broadhurst Park.

It was FC that got the game underway, with the sunshine beating down on the Yorkshire Payments Stadium, on a glorious afternoon in West Yorkshire. Having played in the new white away kit for the first time last weekend, United returned to Red with the hosts showing off their blue coloured change strip, despite being the home side. As the kits may have suggested, it was United who looked more at home in the opening exchanges. Jess Battle prodded a shot wide of the target having been found in acres of space by strike partner Sarah Chadwick.

If it wasn’t to be that time, it was a matter of minutes later. On the 5th minute mark, Battle got her goal to continue her run of scoring on every matchday of pre-season, so far. A superb over-the-top ball from Emilie Revitt found Battle in-behind, with the striker showing sharp instincts to lob the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper and into the net - the perfect start for the Reds.

It seemed like it could only get better too. As the visitors continued their dominance, the chances continued to flow. Revitt again doing well to recognise the opportunity for a short corner, her pass to McCarrick allowed the latter to pick out Chelsea Patient in the box but the defender’s perfectly timed volley fell just over the crossbar. Shortly after, it was McCarrick who was provider again, finding an open Sarah Chadwick after some neat footwork out on the right, but Chadwick’s shot was wide of the far post.

With the pressure continuing to tell on the hosts, United took the opportunity to double their advantage. Smart work from Rebecca Foster and Sarah Chadwick saw Jess Battle slotted in one-on-one, the striker showed composure to again lift the ball into the net and cap off another fine move made by the Reds.

Two-up inside the first 20 minutes and all seemed to be well for FCUMW until an unfortunate injury to United defender Emilie Revitt, who had otherwise started the game very strongly. With what looks to be a re-occurrence of a previous injury, Revitt now faces some time on the sidelines, just a few weeks after joining the club. We would like to wish Emilie a speedy recovery and hope that her return to the pitch in FC colours is sooner rather than later!

Following the lengthy stoppage, Chambers was introduced for United, in place of Revitt and it was a case of attempting to re-assert the authority that had seen FC comfortably 2-0 up, early on. To do this, the Reds’ required good defensive work down the other end. Chloe Ainsworth was called into action for the first time, comfortably collecting a cross before last-ditch challenges from Fran Davies, Abbie Carrington and Olivia Greenhalgh all helped to preserve FC’s lead.

With that, the first third of play came to an end with the referee signalling for the inaugural drinks break of the day, due to the high temperature in the afternoon. The game was to be played as three 30 minute thirds, with the two sides swapping sides after the break. It may have been the sun bringing the heat at the Yorkshire Payments Stadium, but it was United who continued to bring it on the pitch. After an energetic start to the game, the Reds’ fifth signing of the summer, Sarah Chadwick, crossed for Kirsty Chambers but the winger’s shot was sliced just wide of the right-hand post.

Both sides attempted to retain possession in the game, with chances hard to come by as we passed the 45-minute mark. The Reds did have an opportunity for a third on 47 minutes, however. Having been confirmed as a FC player on Wednesday evening, Sarah Chadwick had two efforts denied; the first blocked by a strong tackle before the striker curled a shot wide of the far post, from the left side of the box.

Manager Luke Podmore started to get the pre-season changes flowing, from this point on. Corie Mather replaced Jess McCarrick moments before Chelsea Patient went close with a goal-bound header after a perfectly whipped cross by Rebecca Foster.

Francesca Davies’ determined work at the other end of the pitch helped to preserve the clean sheet, stopping an impending Brighouse attack three times as the whistle blew for the end of the second period of play.

After the final break, United returned to the pitch with changes taking place once again; Jackson and Jein replacing Ainsworth and Chambers. Whilst Podmore may have had an emphasis on seeing the game out, the chances continued to come in an attacking sense for FC. Jess Battle was denied a first hat-trick of pre-season, after being one-on-one with the Brighouse keeper before Mather’s impressive individual run opened up a potential opportunity that was eventually averted. Just after, Hannah Dale’s long-range chipped effort was well-gathered by the goalkeeper.

As the game went into the last 15 minutes, Chambers returned in place of Carrington with the Reds’ newest signing Hannah Dale making way for Jess McCarrick. Dale was announced as an FC player just after full time, joining from Liverpool FC Women, having played in three of United’s four Sunday’s already in the pre-season schedule.

United maintained control and the concentration needed to maintain the lead with the referee eventually blowing the whistle for full-time on another good workout ahead of the new season, a season that has been brought forward a week earlier than planned due to the Reds recently announced involvement in this year’s Preliminary Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, on Sunday 26th August, when they will face Blackburn Community Sports Club. Before then, all eyes will be on finishing pre-season strongly, with a trip to West Bromwich Albion next weekend before finishing this year’s pre-season schedule with a matchup against Cardiff City Women in Wales, seven days before the season gets underway with that FA Cup tie.

FCUMW Player of the Match - Fran Davies - Despite being tested multiple times at the back, the defensive work and discipline shown by the Reds throughout the game made it seem relatively comfortable on that front, in the end. A central asset to this was centre-back Fran Davies who was alert to the danger all afternoon, often showing determination to win the ball back before displaying a composed head to set United away on the break - a performance worthy of wearing the armband, on the afternoon, from yesterday’s captain.

Brighouse Town LFC 0 (0)

Lineup not known.

FC United of Manchester Women 2 (2)

19. Chloe Ainsworth
5. Chelsea Patient
2. Fran Davies (c)
12. Emilie Revitt
17. Jess McCarrick
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
8. Rebecca Foster
3. Abbie Carrington
10. Hannah Dale
16. Sarah Chadwick
9. Jess Battle (Goals 5,17 mins)
1. Gemma Jackson (For No19 61 mins)
14. Shaunna Jein (For No11 61 mins)
7. Corie Mather (For No17 48 mins)
11. Kirsty Chambers (For No12 25 mins)

Roll on, roll off:

No10 for No17 (70 mins)
No11 for No3 (76 mins)

Venue: Yorkshire Payments Stadium (HD6 2PL)
Official FC photography by Mark Lee
Film footage & historic stats from Neil Boothman
Social media updates by Mikey Partington

Report by Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 15:47 Mon 6 Aug 2018
News ID ~ 7976
Last Updated ~ 18:06 Thu 9 Aug 2018