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United's women fire seven to go second in the league

FC United’s women hit seven without reply as they took a major step to securing league runners up spot in their very first season. First half goals from Olivia Greenhalgh, Kirsty Chambers and Amy Vyas were followed by four second half strikes from Kayleigh Catterall, Shellby Wolstencroft, Amy Battel and Hayley O’Hara. Seven goals from seven different scorers reflected the Red’s dominance against opponents that had provided much sterner tests in the sides’ previous encounters - a 2-2 draw away in the league last October and a narrow 2-1 victory for FC in the home league cup encounter last month.

A cold, cloudy, breezy afternoon began with a tremendously observed minutes’ applause in memory of Emma McDougall of Blackburn Rovers Ladies, who sadly passed away earlier in the week following a brave battle with cancer. It is at times such as this that the football family knits together to demonstrate solidarity and support and fans played their part, contributing £81 in programme receipts for onward donation to Emma’s family.

AFC Oldham got the game underway and after a cagey couple of minutes FC United earned the game’s first corner which was comfortably cleared. United came straight back pressing high up the pitch and another Chambers corner, this time from the right, caused chaos in a crowded six yard box where Greenhalgh remained composed, fired through the crowd and gave FC a fifth minute lead.

The lead was doubled on ten minutes as Chambers fired a superb left footed free kick from the right, 20 yards from goal, which curled high into the top of the net at the far post. Just a minute later, FC pressure in the midfield saw Beth Tattersall burst through on goal to force an excellent save from Jo Smallwood and the Oldham defence dealt comfortably with the corner through their excellent captain Lesley English. The ball came out to Broghan Matthews on half way with time and space to launch a killer pass back into the danger area but sadly twisted her knee in the process and had to be carried from the field to take no further part. Claire O’Reilly replaced Matthews for her first appearance of 2013, following injury, as the FC defence reshuffled.

On the quarter hour the Red’s effectively ended the game as a contest as Greenhalgh pin pointed a perfect through ball into the path of Vyas whose first shot was parried by Smallwood back into the feet of Vyas who powered her second effort beyond the keeper and two defenders on the line to make the score 3-0.

The remainder of the first half was all United as the Reds dominated possession and Smallwood was kept busy fielding efforts from Beth Hayes, Chambers and Vyas.

FC started the second half where they left off the first, as Vyas burst into the box to see her shot smothered by Smallwood. Intermittent flecks of snow swirled around as Gail Pennington broke from defence and spotted the clever run into the right channel of Wolstencroft who held the ball well before squaring inside for Catterall to run onto, take a touch, round a defender and calmly slot home from 15 yards to make it 4-0 on 50 minutes.

Just past the hour and Wolstencroft grabbed FC’s fifth, firing beyond Smallwood from eight yards after O’Reilly had worked space down the left to provide a good centre. On 80 minutes a corner, resulting from good work down the left by Adora Yau, was swung towards the back post by Chambers. Battel rose highest to head home FC’s sixth from close range.

Number seven came just six minutes from time as Vyas and Hayes combined well in midfield with the latter playing an excellent pass through to O’Hara who turned the Oldham backline and fired an excellent finish beyond Smallwood to wrap up the afternoon’s goal fest and cement FC’s grip on the runners up spot with an unexpectedly comfortable victory. Next up is a third consecutive home game as FC’s women tackle fourth placed Middleton Athletic next Sunday, 3 March.

Report by Rob Fullen
(With grateful thanks to eagle eyed coach Andy Rohman for retrieving the rough draft from Moston Lane after I’d driven off with the folder on the car roof).

Website player of the match: A midfield master class as well as scoring the game’s all important opening goal; this week’s player of the match goes to No19 Olivia Greenhalgh.

Teams 24 February 2013: Attendance: 55

FC United of Manchester Women: 7 (3)
1. Amy Gillingham (Goalkeeper and Captain)
2. Amy Battel (right back and goal 80 minutes)
6. Gail Pennington (left back)
4. Francesca Davies (centre half)
5. Broghan Matthews (centre half)
10. Beth Tattersall (Right Midfield)
19. Olivia Greenhalgh (centre midfield and goal 6mins)
17. Beth Hayes (centre midfield)
7. Kayleigh Catterall (centre midfield and goal 50mins)
11. Kirsty Chambers (left midfield and goal 10mins)
16. Amy Vyas (centre forward and goal 15mins)

12. Hayley O’Hara (for No17 53mins and goal 84mins)
3. Adora Yau (for No11 63mins)
18. Claire O’Reilly (for No5 13mins)
14. Sophie Cummings (Not used)
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (for No 16 48mins and goal 61mins)
Roll on Roll Off substitutions:
On No’s 11, 17 &16 for 10, 7 & 18 69mins
On No 10 for No 19 83mins
On No 7 for No2 89 mins

AFC Oldham Ladies: 0 (0)
1. Jo Smallwood
2. Sophie Barton
3. Rebekka Jones
4. Lorna Brown
5. Lesley English (Captain)
6. Kelly Sessman
8. Leigh Carnell
9. Kelly Sessman
10. Rachel Lawton
14. Rachael McHugh
11. Lisa Wood

7. Jo Pickering

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First Posted ~ 17:19 Mon 25 Feb 2013
News ID ~ 4752
Last Updated ~ 17:19 Mon 25 Feb 2013