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FC United Women marked International Women’s Day by turning in a great all-round team performance to preserve their unbeaten league record in the North West Women’s Regional League and consolidate their position at the top of the table with six different players on target to defeat a Mossley Hill side that has often proved difficult to break down in previous meetings.

Early strikes from Kirsty Chambers and Maxine Smith set United on the way with a 2-0 half time lead. The visitors were given a lifeline early in the second half with a penalty award but Rachel Davison’s spot-kick was blasted wide. Davison did find the target on a couple of occasions in the second half but, with Jordon Bailey, Beth Hayes, Natalie Richardson and finally Caitlin Clancy all finding the net for FC United, the points remained out of reach of the Merseysiders.

The Reds wasted no time in laying siege to the opposition goal. Chambers, as she often does, led the way, racing onto a ball from Cara Fields played wide to the left wing and whipping in a dangerous low ball that passed untouched just wide of the far post. That was quickly followed up by Chelsea Patient who found herself in an unaccustomed position at inside right to go through and shoot into the near side netting. Jordon Bailey then angled in a shot from the right of the area that was blocked by the legs of keeper Dani Camp. Before the danger could be cleared, the ball fell to Smith who whipped a shot over the bar.

However the deadlock was broken on 11 minutes when FC were awarded a free kick about 25 yards out. The kick was directly in front of goal but the Mossley Hill defensive wall looked to have the goal adequately protected ... until Chambers stepped up and fired over both wall and keeper into the net. The lead was doubled two minutes later with Chambers involved again. This time whipping over a low cross from the left into the goalmouth with Smith racing into just the right spot to finish from close range.

Fields took a pass from Kate O’Gara outside the area to the left of the goal but worked herself an angle to fire in right footed and rattle the frame of the goal with a shot against the far post.

Bailey looked to have got herself a clear run to goal until being bundled down from behind by Mossley Hill’s Amber Lashley, earning a yellow card that could be considered lenient.

Just two minutes into the second half, Mossley Hill had a chance to get back into the game when the referee awarded a penalty for handball against Patient, which looked like a case of ball-to-hand as she looked to block a cross from Ellie Doyle. Davison stepped up but fired wide to the right of Chloe Ainsworth’s goal.

And the squandered chance was punished further four minutes later. Abbie Carrington won the ball in her own half and sent it downfield. Defender Emma Valentine mis-cued an attempted clearance and the ball ran through for Bailey to hit the target in a seventh consecutive game, making it 3-0.

Carrington was substituted by Beth Hayes not long afterwards after suffering a clash of heads with an opponent. In the meantime though Smith had chance to make it four but was thwarted by a fine save from camp, diving to her right to parry the ball away.

Corie Mather had also entered the fray in place of Jess McCarrick and was soon involved with a pass downfield that sent Hayes through on goal. Despite being forced slightly wide by Camp coming out to might her, Hayes finished with a sliding left foot shot over the keeper.

Two minutes later, Mossley Hill managed to get themselves on the scoresheet. Davison, finding no support for a run down the right, tried her luck from a narrow angled out wide but managed to place her shot perfectly out of reach of Ainsworth to go in just under the crossbar.
But the four goal advantage was restored on 19 minutes as a Chambers pass found Natalie Richardson in space on the left edge of the area to loft a shot over the keeper making it 5-1.

Davison chalked up her own and Mossley Hill’s second of the afternoon with a run from deep taking her through the FC United back line and round Ainsworth to the right to score.

Although the match still seemed out of their reach, the visitors made a considerable effort to at least dent FC’s goal difference. Sammy Rhodes put in a cross from the right that saw Katie Bennett flash a header wide across goal but injuring herself in the process leading to her being withdrawn. Shortly afterwards, her replacement Millie Lloyd managed to get a shot in round Fran Davies but not with enough power to trouble keeper Ainsworth.

The scoring was rounded off with a minute remaining with Chambers putting Caitlin Clancy through to roll the ball into the net to the right of the keeper. However there was still time for one more effort in injury time as Chambers threw off left back Catherine King on the left side of the box but Camp managed to block the shot with her body.

Report by Phil Bradbury

FC Player of the game: Kirsty Chambers - almost impossible decision given that this is arguably the most complete team performance of the season so far. However Kirsty played a real captain’s part in leading the team and her early contribution in scoring and making respectively the first two goals was instrumental in setting the tone for the afternoon.

North West Women’s Regional League
Teams Sunday 8th March 2020: Attendance: 73

FC United of Manchester Women: 6 (2)
1. Chloe Ainsworth
2. Fran Davies
20. Kate O’Gara
24. Abbie Carrington
5. Chelsea Patient
6. Cara Fields
17. Jess McCarrick
8. Maxine Smith (Goal 13 minutes)
25. Natalie Richardson (Goal 64 minutes)
10. Jordon Bailey (Goal 51 minutes)
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt) (Goal 11 minutes)
7. Corie Mather (for No17, 53 minutes)
23. Beth Hayes (for No24, 57 minutes) (Goal 59 minutes)
22. Caitlin Clancy (for No10, 66 minutes) (Goal 89 minutes)
4. Samantha Ball
9. Kaylea Cunliffe

Mossley Hill Athletic LFC 2 (0)
1. Dani Camp
2. Amy Fisher
3. Catherine King
4. Emma Valentine
5. Danielle Loughlin
6. Michelle Hunt (Capt)
7. Ellie Doyle
15. Katie Bennett
12. Amber Lashley (Yellow card 45+3 minutes)
10. Rachel Davison (Goal 61 & 76 minutes)
11. Sammy Rhodes
8. Megan Whitfield (for No2, 42 minutes)
14. Millie Lloyd (for No15, 84 minutes)
9. Sam Cawley

Referee: Laura Bowater
Venue: Broadhurst Park 3G
Video footage & historical stats: Neil Boothman
Matchday photography: Mark Lee

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First Posted ~ 13:12 Wed 18 Mar 2020
News ID ~ 8672
Last Updated ~ 13:12 Wed 18 Mar 2020