FC United’s Women’s team made the trip to the impressive UCLAN Sports complex on the outskirts of Preston to take on North End’s first team in a challenging pre season friendly; losing out 6-0 to their well organised hosts who ply their trade several divisions higher in the women’s football pyramid.
Southport based former captain and goalkeeper Amy “scary vocals??? Gillingham, provided cover between the sticks as her replacement for the coming campaign, Mary, was on wicket keeping duty for her local cricket team.
The Preston team, many who had played in the same team for the past 10 years, settled quickly into their stride maintaining their shape and playing possession football that led to the games first two good chances within five minutes of the kick off. Gillingham was equal to the goal attempts and saw off the danger on both occasions before United had their first chance on seven minutes.
Beth Hayes slotted a delightful ball down the left channel for Captain Kirsty Chamber to fire across goal into the path of debutant striker Yuma Victoriano who fired goal wards only for the Preston keeper to equal Gillingham’s heroics, producing a top class save herself.
Just moments later Preston once again burst through the FC defence and fired across Gillingham who dived agilely to her right to push the ball spectacularly around the post and on the quarter hour they finally broke the deadlock as a ball was fired in low from the right edge of the box. Gillingham brilliantly blocked the initial attempt from point blank range but could only deflect the ball to North End’s No. 10 who steered her shot past Gillingham and Amy Battel on the line from just two yards.
Late in the half Preston once again beat the offside trap and Gillingham came racing from her area to tackle the Preston attacker around 30 yards out. The resultant collision left both players injured and Gillingham had to leave the field with Keele Tournament heroine Shellby Wolstencroft taking the gloves. Her first job was to pick the ball out of the net on 44 minutes as the harshly adjudged resultant free kick was fired over her despairing outstretched hands by the Preston No. 14 to give the hosts a 2-0 lead at the break.
Within seconds of the restart Preston’s impressive No. 3 had crashed a shot against the United bar and the tone was set for the second half that eventually saw the North End players’ superior fitness take its toll with almost total domination of the half. Kirsty Chambers was unfortunate to score an own goal cutting out a dangerous cross on 65 minutes. Preston scored their 4th on 77 minutes as No. 10 lobbed the onrushing Gillingham who had been rehabilitated over the break and thrust back into the fray. Goals 5 and 6 perhaps gave an over flattering look to the score line as No. 9 scored on 89 minutes before No. 15 headed home from a corner in the 90th. Referee Mark Hughes signified the end of the contest immediately following Preston’s final goal.
FC United, with some key players missing and others playing out of position as cover, can take heart from such a significant workout; in what is still early pre-season for the squad. With competitive action not starting until 8 September the management and squad has time to take stock, regroup and prepare for the business of challenging for top honours in the season ahead.
Report by Rob Fullen
Teams 11 August 2013: Attendance: 31
FC United of Manchester Women: 0(0)
1. Amy Gillingham (Goalkeeper)
2. Amy Battel (right back)
8. Maya Germain (left back)
4. Gail Pennington (centre half)
9. Jade Parker (centre half)
7. Beth Hayes (centre midfield)
19. Olivia Greenhalgh (centre midfield)
10. Beth Tattersall (right midfield)
11. Kirsty Chambers (Captain & left midfield)
17. Shellby Wolstencroft (centre forward)
18. Yuma Victoriano (centre forward)
6. Amy Vyas (for No7 21mins)
12. Tasha Rowe (for No18 72mins)
15. Lizzie Evans (for No1 44mins)
16. Charlie Evans (for No8 46mins)
No1 Amy Gillingham off injured and replaced in goal by No 17 Shellby Wolstencroft 44 mins
Roll on Roll off changes:
1. on for No17 46mins
7. on for No4 72mins
17. on for No 10 60mins
10. on for No 17 83mins
Preston North End Ladies 6, (2)
No team information available.