FC United of Manchester FC United of Manchester FC United of Manchester

FC United of Manchester Smaller Text Larger Text

Reds Women battle back to outfox Vixens

Reds Women battle back to outfox Vixens

FC United Women kicked off their defence of the Argyle Cup with a second half rally to beat Northwich Vixens.
The Reds, who’ve made a habit of keeping the fans on tenterhooks in recent matches found the Cheshire side tough to break down before a double change at half time, trailing 0-1, introduced Natasha Richardson, who levelled the scores within two minutes of the restart, and Aimee O’Keefe who notched the second to put FC ahead before Maxine Smith rounded things off with a third goal five minutes before the end.

FC United were deprived of the strike power of Jordon Bailey - injured late in last weekend’s home clash v Wigan Athletic shortly after scoring what proved to be the winner - and Kirsty Chambers who was troubled by a back problem. (Fran Davies taking the captain’s armband for today).

The first clear chance came on 10 minutes with Caitlin Clancy whipping a ball into the goalmouth from the right. Kaylea Cunliffe lunged in but was beaten to the ball by Vixens’ keeper Tracy Bolton who knocked the ball away for a corner. The kick, from the left, fell perfectly for Cunliffe to meet on the volley on the far side of the box but Bolton seemed to read the situation and was well positioned to save.

Northwich had a narrow escape from another FC corner that swung in from the right but glanced to safety off the head of Rachael Deighton on the goal line. The visitors quickly switched to attack. The Reds were caught on the hop when a ball down the right wing found Sorcha Bramhall in the clear with FC offside appeals falling on deaf ears. A low cross was met by Jennifer Jaques who swept a right foot shot into the far corner to give the visitors a surprise lead.

Kate O’Gara looked to strike back quickly for FC United but her looping shot was taken comfortably by Bolton.
Both keepers were kept on their toes. A back pass from FC central defender Chelsea Patient was under-hit to allow Bramhall a sniff of a scoring chance. Fortunately Chloe Ainsworth reacted in time and managed to hack the ball away to safety. Action quickly switched to the other end with Cara Fields getting in a shot that Bolton managed to turn away for a corner, diving to her right. The kick caused Bolton more problems as her first punch at the near post sent the ball skywards but she was able to get it out of the danger area at the second attempt as it dropped back into the goalmouth.

Bolton then dropped to the foot of her right hand post to grab a fierce, low shot/cross from Robyn Hartley, which appeared to have stung her fingers badly enough to warrant a brief stoppage while the Vixens’ keeper received attention from the physio.

However Bolton was quickly back in action and had to be on her toes as FC threw everything at the visitors in search of an equaliser. First of all, she got down onto her knees to parry a shot from Samantha Ball away after the FC midfielder had skipped past a defender to get in a shot. Bolton then looked on in relief as O’Gara let fly from some way out but couldn’t find the target.

The Northwich keeper had a bit of luck when she fumbled a long range effort from Ball but had time to recover and gather the ball. Then just three minutes before the break, Ball fired in a shot after a quick passing interchange with Beth Hayes on the edge of the area which Bolton parried clear.

Reds’ boss Kamran Hussein rang the changes at half time, sending on Natalie Richardson and Aimee O’Keeffe on in place of Hartley and Hayes. The move paid instant dividends as, within two minutes of the restart, Richardson picked up a ball in the visitors’ half, took a couple of strides in towards goal and, with the defenders appearing to stand off, swung her right boot to get in a looping shot from outside the area that Bolton got a hand to but wasn’t able to keep the ball out of the top left corner. 1-1.

O’Keeffe was eager to put her stamp on the game too and showed good control from a ball into the right side of the area to take a touch, turn and shoot. But her right foot effort ended up in the side-netting.

A Cara Fields’ pass found Maxine Smith in a good position to shoot but Bolton was again well-positioned to turn the ball aside allowing full back Sue McGrath to tidy up and clear the ball away from danger.

A low cross from Clancy on the right appeared to spread panic among Vixens’ defenders. McGrath made a somewhat hesitant looking clearance which fell for Richardson but her shot was over the bar.

However the Reds finally managed to take a deserved lead when Clancy crossed from the right. O’Keeffe met it on the volley, hitting the crossbar, then reacted well as the ball rebounded back to her feet and this time she buried her shot in the net, placing it to the left of the keeper.

Clancy continued to be a thorn in the side of the Vixens. This time a cross whipped in from the right appeared to strike the hand of a defender before rolling away for a corner but, despite FC penalty appeals, there was nothing doing from the referee or either assistant. The kick fell kindly for Ball who put a shot over the bar.

There was no let up for Bolton, the Vixens’ keeper, as she scrambled across goal to save a Richardson shot from outside the area.

Clancy was again involved in the move that led to a third goal for FC to virtually clinch the tie at 3-1. FC’s no. 22 initially appeared to lose out to Vixens’ skipper and central defender Emma Bibby-Cheshire in a race for a ball down the inside right channel. But the Vixens’ player went to ground leaving the ball to run loose, picked up by Clancy who played a short pass inside for Maxine Smith to swing her right foot and curl a shot out of the reach of keeper Bolton.

Moments after the restart, FC keeper Ainsworth snatched the ball with Jaques racing in. The ensuing collision resulted in a brief stoppage as Ainsworth received some treatment for what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
But Tracy Bolton’s work still wasn’t done for the day as FC finished on the attack. O’Keeffe touched a ball back to tee up Richardson for a shot from the edge of the area but Bolton reached up to make the save of the match and touch it over. Then in the final minute, a ball over the top found Clancy in the clear. This time the shot was blocked by the keeper’s knees.

The result puts FC into the last 16 in their bid to land the Argyle Cup for the fourth consecutive season with the next round currently scheduled for Sunday 9th February subject to the resolution of some outstanding postponed ties in the interim period.

In the meantime though, FC United Women’s next game will see a return to the league title race with the visit of Merseyrail Ladies (a change from the advertised fixture) next Sunday, January 19th in the main stadium at Broadhurst Park. Kick off at the usual time of 2pm.

Report by Phil Bradbury
FC Player of the game: Caitlin Clancy - persistent in a frustrating first half and instrumental in setting up FC’s second and third goals after the break.

Teams 12th January 2020: Attendance: 76

FC United of Manchester Women: 3 (0)
1. Chloe Ainsworth
2. Fran Davies (Capt)
20. Kate O’Gara
4. Samantha Ball
5. Chelsea Patient
6. Cara Fields
15. Robyn Hartley
8. Maxine Smith (??Goal 85 minutes)
9. Kaylea Cunliffe
22. Caitlin Clancy
23. Beth Hayes
15. Aimee O’Keeffe (??Goal 72 minutes)
25. Natasha Richardson (??Goal 47 minutes)
(for No16 & No23, half-time)
18. Olivia Hooper (for No9, 69 minutes)
14. Yvette Louise
17. Jess McCarrick

Northwich Vixens 1 (1)
1. Tracy Bolton
2. Sue McGrath
3. Catriona Stobie
4. Rebecca Francis-Jones
5. Emma Bobby-Cheshire (Capt)
6. Abbey Whittingham
7. Paige Hewitt
8. Hollie Durkin
16. Sorcha Bramhall
10. Rachael Deighton
11. Jennifer Jaques (??Goal 15 minutes)
14. Joanne Case (for No7, 70 minutes)
9. Alexandra Heron (for No4, 85 minutes)
12. Kathryn Hulme
15. Xenia Baques-Bachs

Referee: Georgia Lyons
Venue: Broadhurst Park 3G
Official FC photography: Mark Lee & Samantha Coates

Home Email Facebook Reddit

First Posted ~ 12:11 Tue 14 Jan 2020
News ID ~ 8613
Last Updated ~ 12:11 Tue 14 Jan 2020