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FC United Women pick up midweek win against Fleetwood Town Wrens at Highbury

FC United Women pick up midweek win against Fleetwood Town Wrens at Highbury

FC United Women put in another solid performance to get all three points on the road at Fleetwood Town Wrens LFC, on Wednesday evening.

Strikes on the stroke of half time from Olivia Greenhalgh and Rebecca Foster were good enough for a 2-0 win in the game played at Highbury Stadium, the home of Fleetwood Town FC.

Luke Podmore’s side came into the midweek fixture off the back of an impressive 9-0 win over Sir Tom Finney Ladies at the weekend. The FCUMW manager therefore didn’t have too much reason to tweak his side, with only Kate O’Gara coming into the starting XI.

United, in the white away kit for the evening kick-off, looked to be comfortable in their surroundings early on, putting together the first attack of the game as Yvette Loukes’ low shot was gathered by the goalkeeper.

Rebecca Foster then tried her luck, but a speculative drive fell wide of the target moments before Cara Fields’s effort cannoned in off the post but was ruled out as the midfielder was judged to have used a hand in the process.

FC ten stepped the attacks up a notch and went the closest yet to the elusive opener. Kirsty Chambers’ over-the-top ball in the left channel found Jess Battle who beat the last defender before seeing her effort stopped by the ‘keeper.

Yvette Loukes then became the provider for Chambers, but the FCUMW skipper couldn’t quite meet with the former’s cross in the air.

FC’s no.3 Abbie Carrington received the first yellow card of the game after an accumulation of fouls; a free-kick that led to the hosts’ first shot of the game as the free-kick was fired over Ainsworth’s bar.

Olivia Greenhalgh’s powerful attempt then whistled just past the far post, and in hindsight, she may have been teeing up for a special opener. The midfielder unleashed a strike from around 25-yards out that saw United take a much-deserved lead on 40 minutes.

Less than five minutes later, Rebecca Foster took a leaf out of her central midfielder’s book by also finding the far top corner from a distance, giving Luke Podmore’s side a two-goal advantage at the halfway stage.

Greenhalgh was nearly in the goals again straight after the break but her effort, after Carrington’s header wasn’t cleared, was stabbed away from under the crossbar.

Luke Podmore then made his first change of the evening with Jess Battle, who looked to have picked up a knock, being replaced by Aimee O’Keeffe.

The striker was in the centre of the action immediately, having nearly been found by Loukes’ cross, moments before the two linked up again with O’Keeffe finding the net on this occasion but for the raised offside flag.

Pairings were a theme midway through the second-half with Corie Mather picking out Kirsty Chambers in the box twice, after the former replaced Yvette Loukes, but neither opportunity came to anything.

The skipper then arguably had her biggest chance of the game so far, firing over from close range, having taken down an incisive ball from Fields that had beaten the Fleetwood defensive line.

Shaunna Jein was the final player introduced for FC, in place of Carrington, and she saw the Fleetwood ‘keeper on her toes to deny O’Keeffe’s first-time effort.

Tired legs looked to be playing a factor on both sides in the latter stages of the game, but United stayed focused to preserve the clean sheet, the lead and another big three points on the road. Luke Podmore’s side are on their travels again on Sunday (5 May 2019) with a trip to Tranmere Rovers LFC in the NWWRL Premier Division. Further details will be confirmed in due course on our social media platforms (@FCUnitedWomen).

FCUMW Player of the Match: Cara Fields: The midfielder’s fine form of late continued in United’s midweek win on the coast. Fields continued to occupy the space in behind the opposition’s midfield when going forward and was the most prominent at hassling to win the ball back in defence. A dominant performance in midfield from United’s no.6.

Fleetwood Town Wrens LFC: Heaton, Taylor, Hinchcliffe, Gordon, Lee, Gibbins, Oatley, Wilcocks, Newson, Creighton-Levis, Crook

Subs: Latham, Gregory, O’Neill, Smith, Pullen

FC United of Manchester Women: Ainsworth, O’Gara, Davies, Carrington (Booked 24’), Loukes, Greenhalgh (Goal 40’), Foster (Goal 44’), Chambers (c), Garner, Fields, Battle

Subs: Jackson (GK), Jein (On for Carrington 71’), McCarrick, Mather (On for Loukes 64’), O’Keeffe (On for Battle 55’)

Match stats provided by Paul Hinson (FC second column):
Goals: 0-2
Shots: 6-27
Shots on target: 1-8
Completed passes: 234-497
Possession: 32%-68%

Venue: Highbury Stadium, Park Avenue, Fleetwood (FY7 6SP)
Competition: NWWRL Premier Division
Attendance: 127

Report by Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 11:25 Thu 2 May 2019
News ID ~ 8367
Last Updated ~ 11:10 Wed 15 May 2019