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Another Kirsty late strike rescues a point for Reds’ women

Another Kirsty late strike rescues a point for Reds’ women

A depleted FC United women’s team brought a dramatic end to 2019 with a hard earned point after recovering from going 0-2 down against a side we can expect to be challenging with us for the league title in the new year. For the second away game in a row, it was a late strike from the captain, Kirsty Chambers that rescued a draw and preserved the unbeaten league record for her side when it looked like the game was lost.

The Reds went into the game with just 11 fit and available players owing to a combination of injury, illness and work commitments. However Chambers was quickly on the attack in pursuit of a ball played out wide by Kaylea Cunliffe. The FC skipper turned full back Katie Nuttall to get in a shot but keeper Hannah Holloway stooped to save it at the foot of the near post.

The home side’s first chance came from a corner.

Samantha Ball’s attempted defensive header fell for Beth Ragdale to get in a shot that deflected off Fran Davies to Seren Redmond, whose header was well saved by Chloe Ainsworth. Within a minute though, a long ball was sent forward that Jordon Bailey attempted to control and send goalwards in one touch but the ball spun away from goal.
Crewe took the lead on 19 minutes. Nuttall swung in a cross from the right and Jess Dawson was first to meet the ball with a header that, despite getting a hand on it, Ainsworth was unable to keep out of the net.

FC’s goal came under further threat as a long ball downfield was allowed to bounce forcing Ainsworth to react quickly and smother the ball away from striker Amanda Fallon. The home side then doubled their lead with Dawson turning provider with a ball hoisted in from the left, Redmond met it with a looping header on the run that eluded Ainsworth’s despairing leap to make it 2-0.

FC looked to strike back quickly. Cunliffe was blocked on a run forward with the ball breaking loose for Maxine Smith to get in a shot that was comfortably saved. However the Reds were in danger of going further behind as Ainsworth fumbled a low cross sent in from the left but Sorenson came to the rescue to clear away from the in-rushing Fallon.

There was another chance for Crewe as a ball bounced across the area for Meg Booth to get in a shot that was blocked by Davies but ran for Fallon to have a shot that sailed high and wide.

FC finally got on the scoresheet as Cunliffe survived offside appeals to bring down a ball played forward and lay it off for Bailey to swung her right foot at and send a shot looping over the keeper.

There was more work to do in defence as Crewe won a corner. Ragdale’s headed down into the goalmouth where Fallon managed to dig out a shot that Ainsworth saved at point blank range.

Into the second half, FC’s first clear chance saw Cunliffe get in a header to a right wing cross that was blocked on the line by Nuttall. A further opportunity saw Ball’s header back across goal from a corner half cleared by a defender, falling to Cunliffe who shot over.

Chances became hard to come by but Booth managed to get in a right foot shot on the turn that Ainsworth parried and then grabbed at the second attempt. Crewe’s Laura Goom then became the recipient of the game’s only yellow card for a crunching challenge that left Sorenson needing treatment.

The game moved towards injury time with the single goal deficit looking like it would be one too many for FC. Kirsty Chambers, as ever, wasn’t giving up the fight though and got in a tight angled shot from the left that flew untouched across the goalmouth before being put behind by a defender for a corner.

It was another corner in the third minute of injury time that finally saw the breakthrough. The ball was swung into a crowded area but fell for Chambers at the far side who took a touch before powering a left foot shot into the net past a wall of defenders with the keeper probably unsighted. The FC skipper then disappeared under a huddle of delighted team mates.

In a last throw of the dice, Crewe immediately sent on substitute Beth Grice for Redmond but there was no time for the newcomer to have any effect on the result.

The Reds ended the year handily placed in second, five points behind Tranmere but with four games in hand, while this result preserves a five point advantage over third placed Crewe.

FC Women return to action on Sunday 5th January 2020 with the visit of Wigan Athletic. The game kicks off at 2pm in the main stadium at Broadhurst Park.

Report by Phil Bradbury

FC Player of the game: Fran Davies - A sterling and level-headed display at the back under pressure to keep FC in the game and provide the platform for a fightback.

Teams Sunday 15th December 2019: Attendance: 52

Crewe Alexandra Ladies 2 (2)
1. Hannah Holloway
2. Katie Nuttall
3. Kate Evans
14. Laura Goom (yellow card, 82 minutes)
15. Beth Ragdale
6. Loren Cooper
7. Meg Booth
8. Laura Garner
9. Amanda Fallon
20. Seren Redmond (Goal, 24 minutes)
11. Jess Dawson (Goal, 19 minutes)
4. Jess Sheridan
5. Kiera Altintas
12. Emily Bourne
18. Beth Grice (for No20, 90+3 minutes)

FC United of Manchester Women: 2 (1)
1. Chloe Ainsworth
2. Fran Davies
23. Katie Sorenson
4. Samantha Ball
5. Chelsea Patient
6. Cara Fields
22. Caitlin Clancy
8. Maxine Smith
9. Kaylea Cunliffe
10. Jordon Bailey (Goal, 38 minutes)
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt) (Goal, 90+3 minutes)

Referee: Adam Wolstenholme
Venue: Cumberland Sports Arena, Crewe
Official FC photography: Mark Lee & Samantha Coates
Film Footage from Neil Boothman

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First Posted ~ 11:59 Fri 3 Jan 2020
News ID ~ 8603
Last Updated ~ 11:59 Fri 3 Jan 2020