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FC United Women get back to winning ways with victory at Manchester Stingers

FC United Women get back to winning ways with victory at Manchester Stingers

FC United Women returned to winning ways in midweek with a 3-1 win on the road at Manchester Stingers WFC.

The Reds ensured all three points from the NWWRL Premier Division fixture courtesy of a double from Jess Battle and a Kirsty Chambers strike on the stroke of half-time.

After a weekend of Bank Holiday sun, South-West Manchester got its share of the Wednesday evening storm, less than an hour before kick-off at Whalley Range AFC, leaving standing water on the pitch in parts.

Despite this, the referee gave the game the go ahead under the dark skies, with FCUMW manager Luke Podmore opting to name the same starting XI that began the opening game of the weekend’s double-header against Penrith AFC Ladies.

That game ended in a comfortable 6-1 win for United, but after the Reds had been held to a disappointing 1-1 draw in the second, motivation was high for the Wednesday evening clash with Manchester Stingers.

With the determination to get off on the right foot, United jumped into an early lead. Jess Battle forced a defensive error that saw the striker get one-on-one with the ’keeper, before she placed the ball into the corner of the net to give United the advantage.

The Reds looked the better of the two teams in the opening exchanges and may have gone two in-front but for a string of smart saves from Stingers’ goalkeeper Nicola Armstrong keeping out the efforts of Jess Battle and Aimee O’Keeffe.

For all of the Reds’ pressure, it was the hosts who were next on the scoresheet. Aly Hastie capitalised on a defensive error to equalise, against the run of play, just after the half-hour mark.

Stingers then enjoyed their best spell of the game, with United having to defend well to stay level in difficult conditions. Despite this, Cara Fields’ bursting run and shot offered the period’s best opportunity, shortly before the break.

With the sides looking to be going into the break level, a moment of magic from Kirsty Chambers separated the teams once again. The skipper latched on to Jess Battle’s cross, on the run, to volley United back ahead with the last kick of the first 45.

Soon after the interval, Chambers was threatening again and would have had her second of the evening, having found the net once more, had the referee not given offside.

United were denied on that occasion but couldn’t be on 58 minutes. Olivia Greenhalgh’s over-the-top ball was taken down superbly by Battle, before she confidently placed her shot past the ‘keeper to extend the Reds’ lead.

As the game approached the hour mark, Rebecca Foster and Kate O’Gara were introduced for FC in place of Aimee O’Keeffe and Yvette Loukes. Ellie Russell replaced Laura Garner soon after.

The third goal looked to have taken the sting out of the game, with United continuing to dominate the ball. In search of another 2018/19 hat-trick, Jess Battle was first denied by the goalkeeper, before she struck against the post moments later.

Despite being moments away from clinching the game, United were nearly pulled right back into it as a Stingers’ free header from a corner nearly made its way into the top corner, but instead didn’t trouble the target.

From then on it was a case of seeing the game out for the Reds, which they did, with the help of a strong Francesca Davies interception, to get back to winning ways in the league. Next up for the Reds is a return to the Broadhurst Park stadium for the final FCUMW home game of the season as Sir Tom Finney Ladies are the visitors for a NWWRL Premier Division fixture – 2pm kick-off.

FCUMW Player of the Match: Cara Fields – Just like in Sunday’s double-header, Cara’s work-rate and commanding presence on the pitch was key to everything United did. The midfielder looked composed throughout on a difficult surface, playing a key part in the Reds picking up a well-deserved three points from the midweek match.

Manchester Stingers 1 (1): Armstrong, Dillon, Capell, Ruddock, Croasdale, Woodhead, Grundy, Townsend, Hayes, Priestley, Hastie (Goal 33 mins)

Subs: Haywood, Carey

FC United of Manchester Women 3 (2): Ainsworth, McCarrick, Davies, Carrington, Loukes, Greenhalgh, Fields, Chambers (c) (Goal 45 mins), Garner, O’Keeffe, Battle (Goals 13, 58 mins)

Subs: Jackson (GK), Russell (On for Garner 73 mins), Jein, Foster (On for O’Keeffe 58 mins), O’Gara (On for Loukes 64 mins)

Match stats provided by Paul Hinson (FC second column):
Goals: 1-3
Shots: 4-16
Shots on target: 1-11
Completed passes: 160-327
Possession: 33%-67%

Venue: Whalley Range AFC, Kings Road, Whalley Range, Manchester (M21 0XX)
Competition: NWWRL Premier Division
Attendance: 42

Report by Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 17:53 Thu 25 Apr 2019
News ID ~ 8360
Last Updated ~ 17:10 Tue 30 Apr 2019