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FC United Women come from behind to defeat league leaders Stockport County at Broadhurst Park

FC United Women come from behind to defeat league leaders Stockport County at Broadhurst Park

FC United Women returned to league action with a 2-1 win under the Broadhurst Park floodlights against league leaders Stockport County Ladies, on Wednesday evening.

The Reds came in to the game in 3rd place in the table but condemned the visitors to their first league defeat of the season despite going behind early on. A Kirsty Chambers penalty and Cara Fields’ strike did the damage, either side of half time.

The game was United’s second in the Broadhurst Park stadium of the week, having beaten Merseyrail Ladies in the Argyle Cup semi-final on Sunday.

The season-high crowd that was recorded in that game was topped under the Wednesday night lights with an a new 2018/19 record of 218 through the turnstiles. The attendance was also the highest for a women’s team game inside the Broadhurst Park stadium.

The crowd saw Ellie Russell handed her first United start after the defender made her debut on Sunday, with captain Kirsty Chambers also returning to the starting XI from injury.

The atmosphere was evident from the off, but the majority of that crowd were to be disappointed just 10 minutes in, with Jeneyah Webb putting the ball past United ‘keeper Chloe Ainsworth to give the visitors the lead, despite the calls for offside from United’s players.

The offside flag did halt Webb closing in on a second goal, on 26 minutes, with the league leaders continuing to have the better chances with Mapp and John both going close soon after.

However, the Reds made the most of their opportunity to draw level just before the break. Abbie Carrington’s cross struck a hand inside the box with skipper Kirsty Chambers stepping up on her return to the side to slot home, sending the two teams into the break level.

The penalty on the stroke of the interval looked to hand United the momentum and Luke Podmore’s side seized the early initiative in the second 45.

Cara Fields, who was introduced for the Reds at half time in place of Russell, couldn’t have made a more immediate impact. The midfielder found the roof of the net with a strike to give the Reds the lead just three minutes in to the half, after Jess Battle’s original attempt had been stopped.

FC didn’t stop there and continued to play with freedom in an attempt to extend the lead. Abbie Carrington kept Stockport goalkeeper Lauren Blackett on her toes, as she was forced to keep out the left-back’s long-range effort.

Moments earlier, Aimee O’Keeffe had been brought on for Shaunna Jein for the Reds and nearly made a similar off-the-bench impact to Fields, prodding just wide of the goal minutes after coming on.

The Reds made their third and final change of the evening with Corie Mather replacing Kirsty Chambers with just under 15 minutes left to play, the FCUMW skipper looked to have picked up a knock.

From then on, Luke Podmore’s side put up a resilient defensive performance, seeing out the remainder of the game to pick up a big three points towards their potential league title challenge.

Podmore will be hoping his side can kick on and pick up a similar result when Wigan Athletic Ladies are the visitors to Broadhurst Park in the Reds’ next league game, on Sunday (14 April) – 2pm KO. We hope to see you there!

FCUMW Player of the Match: Olivia Greenhalgh – Greenhalgh adapted superbly to a defensive role on the night, putting in a strong performance out of her most natural position. Usually a midfielder, Greenhalgh was key to United’s solid defensive showing that saw the Reds hold on to a narrow lead and pick up a vital three points in the league.

FC United of Manchester Women 2 (1): Ainsworth, Russell, Greenhalgh, Davies, Carrington, Foster, Garner, McCarrick, Jein, Battle, Chambers (c) (Goal (pen) 45+3 mins)

Subs: Jackson, Mather (On for Chambers 76 mins), Loukes, Fields (On for Russell 46 mins) (Goal 48 mins), O’Keeffe (On for Jein 63 mins)

Stockport County Ladies 1 (1): Blackett, Hayes, Butler, Hancock, Connor, John, Jones, Reeves, Mapp, Douglas, Webb (Goal 11 mins)

Subs: Mason, O’Reilly, Limb, Wolstencroft, Stokes

Match stats from Paul Hinson (FC first column):
Goals: 2…..1
Shots: 12…..6
Shots on target: 6…..2
Completed passes: 314…..199
Possession: 61%.....39%

Venue: Broadhurst Park, Lightbowne Road, Moston, Manchester, M40 0FJ
Competition: NWWRL Premier Division
Referee: Daniel Woodhead
Attendance: 218

Report by Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 16:25 Thu 11 Apr 2019
News ID ~ 8348
Last Updated ~ 22:59 Thu 18 Apr 2019