FC United of Manchester
FC United of Manchester
FC United of Manchester
FC United Women have mixed afternoon in double-header against Penrith
FC United Women endured a mixed afternoon in Sunday’s double-header against Penrith AFC Ladies at Broadhurst Park, picking up four points from a possible six available.
The Reds comfortably won the first game 6-1, despite going behind in the opening minute, but couldn’t overturn another early deficit in the second game and were held to a 1-1 draw.
The double-header format is designed by the league to alleviate fixture congestion built up by match postponements and good runs in cup competitions. With both games on Broadhurst Park’s 3G, United played their ‘home’ fixture first.
Manager Luke Podmore made no changes to the starting XI that won 4-0 at home to Wigan Athletic Ladies last weekend.
Unlike that game, United didn’t get off to the preferred start, going 1-0 down inside the first 45 seconds of the day’s opening game.
Typical of Luke Podmore’s side however, the Reds hit back immediately. Abbie Carrington’s long-range strike found the top corner to level the score.
It was then three goals inside the first eight minutes as Olivia Greenhalgh’s effort went through the goalkeeper’s legs and over the line to put FCUMW ahead.
Penrith’s goalkeeper did bounce back moments later to superbly deny Kirsty Chambers at the back post, but she was beaten again on 14 minutes as Jess Battle grabbed her first goal of the afternoon.
FC now looked in full flow with Laura Garner the latest to be presented with a goalscoring opportunity, but her effort was tipped over the bar.
Captain Kirsty Chambers then had the chance to all-but finish the game off from the spot, but her penalty was placed over the bar.
Jess Battle did give FCUMW that breathing room however, just five minutes later, getting on the end of Chambers’ low cross after a brilliant bit of unselfish play from the skipper.
United went into the second half with a comfortable margin, and with eyes set on the day’s second game, Luke Podmore made changes swiftly after the break; Kate O’Gara was the first, on in place of Yvette Loukes.
Laura Garner may have been unlucky to see her shot saved in the first half but did get a deserved first FC goal just past the midway point in the second half. Kirsty Chambers was again central to the action, cutting the ball back for Garner who showed composure to tuck her finish into the near corner on the run.
A double change followed with Ellie Russell and Shuanna Jein introduced for Kirsty Chambers and Aimee O’Keeffe, with Laura Garner then finding the target again, after her shot has cannoned in off the post, to put the Reds 6-1 up.
Shortly after, the referee blew time on the shortened game, with the second kicking-off around half-an-hour later.
Luke Podmore made five changes to the side that started the day’s opening game, with Gemma Jackson, Ellie Russell, Shaunna Jein, Rebecca Foster and Kate O’Gara all in from the start.
This game was now technically an ‘away’ game for FC, with the visitors getting it underway and showing more of the early confidence that got them the lead in the opening game.
On nine minutes, they had the game’s opening goal for the second time of the afternoon, with a clinical finish on the counter-attack.
From then on, United pushed forward in the hope of carrying out a similar comeback to the one seen earlier in the day. However, there was no immediate response on this occasion with another Penrith break creating the closest opening to another goal, after a strike had hit the post.
The Reds continued to grow in the game and created their best move, just after the 20-minute mark. Cara Fields slotted in Kirsty Chambers who was denied by a brave out-rushing save from the visiting ‘keeper.
United may have been unlucky in that passage of play but made the most of the next one. Jess Battle swivelled inside the box to get away from the defender before squeezing her shot past the ‘keeper and into the net.
Having gone into the break level, the day’s final half of football got underway with Laura Garner replacing Olivia Greenhalgh for FC. Aimee O’Keeffe also replaced Kate O’Gara, less than ten minutes into the half.
With the clock ticking down, the Reds pressed urgently for another winner. A diverted Kirsty Chambers cross nearly found Penrith’s net but for the goalkeeper being positioned well to keep it out.
Jess McCarrick continued to cause problems for the visitors, with several driving runs resulting in opportunities around the edge of the box. The first one came courtesy of United’s no.17 herself, with a curled shot being gathered by the goalkeeper, shortly before Laura Garner’s two free-kicks, won by McCarrick in a similar area, couldn’t make the breakthrough late on.
After scoring United’s equaliser, Jess Battle was looking for her second brace of the afternoon, but her low shot trickled just wide of the far post in the closing minutes with the Reds held to a draw in the second game of the afternoon.
FC have an immediate chance to get back to winning ways, with a trip to Manchester Stingers WFC on Wednesday 24 April 2019. The NWWRL Premier Division fixture is a 6.30pm kick-off, with further details to be announced in due course. Stay tuned to our social media platforms (@FCUnitedWomen) for all the details in the coming days.
FCUMW Player of the Day: Cara Fields – The Reds’ midfielder was a standout performer on a mixed afternoon for United. As well as her creative mindset having a role in providing the goals, her leadership and words of motivation from on the pitch continued to spur United forward in search of a late winner in the second game.