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FC United Women round off perfect week with victory over Wigan Athletic

FC United Women round off perfect week with victory over Wigan Athletic

FC United Women made it two league wins in the space of four days with a 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic Ladies at Broadhurst Park.

A Jess Battle hat-trick and a superb Yvette Loukes strike ensured the Reds followed on from their win in midweek with another well-earned three points on home soil.

United put in an above par performance in midweek with manager Luke Podmore rotating the team that started on Wednesday night, match-winner Cara Fields was back in from the start, along with Yvette Loukes and Aimee O’Keeffe, the latter playing against her former club for the first time.

In his programme notes ahead of the game, Podmore insisted his players needed to “concentrate to the maximum for the full 90 minutes” and he couldn’t have asked for any more with his side taking the lead after just six minutes.

Abbie Carrington pitched a ball into the path of Jess Battle who made no mistake in going around the out-rushing goalkeeper before finishing into an empty net.

It was the perfect start that got even better on 13 minutes for FC, with Battle again displaying her impressive short game to double the lead. A team move that started at the back worked its way to Laura Garner who slid in Battle with the striker expertly stroking her shot into the bottom corner.

The Reds then had to work harder for their openings in the period that followed, with Wigan’s defence proving a sterner test. Captain Kirsty Chambers thought she’d extended the lead, only for the offside flag to rule out her effort that found its way into the far corner on 26 minutes.

O’Keeffe had been in fine form of late for FC and was looking to keep it up against her old team, her ball to Battle was smothered by the ‘keeper moments before the pair linked up again only for O’Keeffe’s attempt to be marred by a heavy touch.

FC’s number 15, playing in a deeper role for the afternoon, was then alert to intercept a loose Wigan pass along the back-line before her shot crashed back off the base of the post.

With the Reds having their lead held at two, it took a piece of individual brilliance to find the opening, courtesy of Yvette Loukes. The striker touched down a bouncing ball before half-volleying over the goalkeeper on the turn, from the edge of the box.

The description does the goal no justice, but it will certainly be up there as a ‘Goal of the Season’ contender when the Reds’ campaign comes to a close next month.

Loukes’ effort helped send United into the break with a comfortable lead and there was to be no notable comeback in this one at Broadhurst Park, as the Reds extended their advantage less than ten minutes into the second 45 and all-but put the game out of reach.

With Abbie Carrington’s through-ball rolling towards the corner flag, Kirsty Chambers showed pace to steady it and then great awareness to pick out Jess Battle in the box, who had acres of space and plenty of time to tap in and stretch the lead on the scorecard to 4-0.

With a backlog of fixtures to be played in the coming weeks’ season ‘run in’, Luke Podmore began to freshen up the side with a number of substitutions. Shaunna Jein, Corie Mather and Ellie Russell were all introduced for FC.

Shortly after, Laura Garner’s free-kick was in driving range from a central area but her attempt at a first FC goal was denied by the goalkeeper.

In the closing stages, it was Jess McCarrick’s footwork that caught the eye; the midfielder drove past multiple Wigan players before leaving the goalkeeper on the floor with a neat piece of skill, only for her eventual shot to be blocked by the covering defender.

Substitute Corie Mather found the side-netting with a late attempt whilst Chloe Ainsworth pulled off a double of saves to help save United from a potential late hazard in the day’s proceedings and preserve what had looked like a relatively straight-forward clean sheet to that point.

Shortly after, referee Stephen Hughes called time on the encounter with United taking another three points into the clubhouse after an impressive display in-front of 89 fans on Broadhurst Park’s 3G, on a bitter mid-April afternoon.

At the time of writing, United’s next fixture will be a trip to Poolfoot Farm Sports & Leisure Complex as our NWWRL Premier Division campaign continues at Fleetwood Town Wrens on Wednesday 17 April 2019 – 6.30pm kick-off.

However, we are still waiting for confirmation on both the date and kick-off time as both could still be pushed back. Stay tuned to our social media platforms (@FCUnitedWomen) in the next 24 hours for full confirmation of details.

FCUMW Player of the Match: Jess McCarrick: United’s number 17 continued to exploit the space throughout the afternoon, driving forward and linking up with teammates nicely in possession. From both defence and midfield, McCarrick was a creative threat that nearly had her afternoon topped off with a fine solo effort in the closing stages of the game, but for a last-ditch block to divert her goal-bound attempt.

FC United of Manchester 4 (3): Ainsworth, McCarrick, Davies, Carrington, Loukes (Goal 43 mins), Greenhalgh, Fields, Chambers (c), Garner, O’Keeffe, Battle (Goals 5, 13, 54 mins)

Subs: Jackson (GK), Russell (On for Fields 76 mins), Jein (On for Carrington 61 mins), Mather (On for Chambers 61 mins), O’Gara

Wigan Athletic Ladies 0 (0): Linford, Johnson, Lea, Beach, Powell, Jones, Bloor, Yeldrem, Hamer, Atherton, Fraser (Yellow card 73 mins)

Subs: Cassar, Walton, Nathaniel

Match stats provided by Paul Hinson (FC first column):
Goals: 4…..0
Shots: 18…..8
Shots on target: 8…..4
Completed passes: 377…..203
Possession: 65%.....35%

Venue: Broadhurst Park 3G, Lightbowne Road, Moston, Manchester, M40 0FJ
Competition: NWWRL Premier Division
Referee: Stephen Hughes
Assistant Referees: Daniel Hamlin, Danny Woodhead
Attendance: 89

Report by Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 21:50 Sun 14 Apr 2019
News ID ~ 8351
Last Updated ~ 10:21 Tue 23 Apr 2019