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FC United Women take maximum points in first league outing of 2019

FC United Women take maximum points in first league outing of 2019

FC United Women got 2019 underway in the league with a 3-0 home win against Manchester Stingers WFC.

A goal from Jess Battle either side of half-time and a late strike from substitute Aimee O’Keeffe ensured that the Reds picked up maximum points in the first game at Broadhurst Park, in the calendar year.

United got the game going under clear Moston skies, playing for the first time in two weeks following the previous weekend’s postponement. Despite the break from action, the Reds weren’t rusty at all, seizing the early initiative and going ahead inside two minutes. Jess Battle held her line before powering forward and finding the bottom corner of the net for her 28th goal of the 2018/19 season.

Having taken the lead early, Luke Podmore’s side controlled the possession as they marshalled a number of openings with the game approaching the 20th minute mark. Shaunna Jein twice went close from the right with Hannah Dale also testing the Stingers goalkeeper Olivia Fay from range.

On the half-hour mark captain Kirsty Chambers’ curling strike cannoned off the bar after a well-worked short corner, just after former FC United midfielder Beth Hayes replaced Gabriella Yates for Stingers, due to injury.

Jess Battle was then denied by the goalkeeper, after her one-on-one effort was well-read, meaning United would go in to the break with just the one-goal lead despite having a number of good opportunities to add to Battle’s early strike.

In to the second half, manager Luke Podmore made his first change of the afternoon just over ten minutes in, as Sarah Chadwick replaced Shaunna Jein for FC. The substitute was straight in to the action and saw her attempt fly wide of the goal from close range, having been found by Kirsty Chambers, even though the flag had gone up for offside.

Despite a relatively quiet afternoon in goal to that point for United’s Chloe Ainsworth, the goalkeeper showed alertness to spring across the goal and tip a goal-bound strike away from the far top corner, to preserve the Reds’ lead.

Less than 60 seconds later, FCUMW capitalised on the save and went up the other end to double the lead. Just like in the first half, striker Jess Battle raced through on goal and even after having her original effort saved, United’s number nine calmly dispatched the rebound to get her second of the afternoon.

A double change for FC followed shortly after with Corie Mather and Aimee O’Keeffe replacing Kate O’Gara and Kirsty Chambers, on 69 minutes.

Two good pieces of goalkeeping from Fay in the visitors’ goal stopped Hannah Dale and Sarah Chadwick putting an end to the contest with substitute Aimee O’Keeffe then left frustrated after her trio of efforts couldn’t boost the Reds’ lead in the closing stages.

The striker did finally get her goal in the 91st minute. Jess Battle unselfishly rolling the ball across the box to O’Keeffe who swept home to complete the scoring and help United pick up all three points in the Reds’ first league game since the turn of the year.

Next up is another break from league action as we welcome Blackburn Community Sports Club to Broadhurst Park, as we begin our defence of this season’s Argyle Cup on Sunday (10th February). We hope to see you there!

FCUMW Player of the Match: Jess Battle – The striker was a constant threat to the opposition defenders throughout the afternoon, scoring another brace to take her tally up to 29 for the season, in all competitions. Battle then notched up another assist after setting up strike partner Aimee O’Keeffe in stoppage time, which rounded off another award-worthy performance from the Reds’ top scorer.

FC United of Manchester Women 3 (1): Ainsworth, Marsh, Davies, Carrington, Dale, Greenhalgh, Foster, Jein, Battle (Goals 2, 66 mins), Chambers (c)

Subs: Mather (On for O’Gara 69 mins), Chadwick (On for Jein 58 mins), O’Keeffe (On for Chambers 69 mins) (Goal 90+1 mins)

Manchester Stingers WFC 0 (0): Fay, Ruddock, Connell, Ashieti, Capell, Walsh, Dillon, Woodhead, Armstrong, Priestley, Yates

Subs: Grundy, Hayes, Croasdale

Game stats from Paul Hinson (FC first column):
Goals: 3…..0
Shots: 28…..6
Shots on target: 15…..3
Completed passes: 357…..178
Possession: 67%.....33%

Venue: Broadhurst Park, Lightbowne Road, Moston, Manchester, M40 0FJ
Competition: NWWRL Premier Division
Referee: Stephen Hughes
Attendance: 72

Report by Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 20:20 Tue 5 Feb 2019
News ID ~ 8253
Last Updated ~ 11:49 Tue 12 Feb 2019