FC’s Women no fools with April 1st Victory over Warrington
Without a single game in March and in their first league game since 14th January due to cup fixtures and weather postponements, FC’s Women showed no lack of match sharpness defeating Warrington Wolverines 6-1 in their Easter Sunday fixture.
Leading 2-0 at the break through Kirsty Chambers and Jess Battle (her 50th FC goal in just 30 games), Wendy Booth pulled one back for the hosts early in the second half with United responding with a blistering four goal haul as Battle scored her second Helen Dobson headed a Chambers cross past her own keeper and Fran Sullivan and Chelsea Flanagan sealed the deal with late strikes.
On a cold afternoon with spring sunshine at a premium, United kicked off on a firm yet bobbly surface that proved a significant leveller and not wholly conducive to slick flowing football usually associated with both sides, FC in particular. However, the reds adapted the better exploiting the left flank with a flowing early move featuring Sullivan, Battle and Chambers with the latter being denied a decent cross by a cruel bobble.
United tried down the right as Jess McCarrick forced the game’s first corner on 10 minutes: the ball worked its way to the edge of the Wolverines’ area where Cara Fields was up ended just outside the ‘D’ as she tried to work an opening. Chambers fired the free kick off the wall and it was cleared behind for another corner that Abbie Carrington headed wide of the back post.
Warrington broke from the ensuing goal kick as Sam Hassall raced through on goal; Chelsea Patient made up the ground superbly nicking the ball back towards Gemma Jackson with the FC custodian duly clearing the danger.
United responded well and the breakthrough came just after the quarter hour. Once again the left flank proved the catalyst as Carrington released Chambers who played the ball in field to Sullivan, taking a return pass on the edge of the area, turning her defender and firing unerringly over Kim Griffiths and into the top corner.
Going behind strengthened Warrington’s resolve and they suddenly pressed with more vigour disrupting United’s rhythm and culminating in arguably their best chance of the half as their most threatening player, Nicola Chatterley, found herself in space on the edge of the United area stinging the hands of Jackson who parried the fierce drive around the post for a corner. Carrington cleared the well placed set piece as United resumed their dominance of possession.
Approaching the half hour mark, United bagged their second of the afternoon profiting from patient possession and build up through the pivot of Sullivan who forced the ball wide to Chambers. The Captain swept in a dangerous low cross and Battle gambled at the back post slotting the ball past Griffiths on 29 minutes.
The Chambers / Battle combination almost paid dividends again on 35 minutes as the Captain chipped a delightful ball over the defence for Battle who forced Griffiths into an excellent point blank save. As the half neared its conclusion Sullivan swept in corner flicked on by Patient at the near post with Carrington heading against the underside of the bar as Warrington cleared from their goal line.
The second half saw the home side start with purpose being the quickest to settle and on 50 minutes had a foothold in the game. As the hosts pressed forward, defensive hesitancy was exploited by Chatterley sliding the ball to Wendy Booth who fired her shot over Jackson and into the top corner from 8 yards.
A minute later Cathy Dutton floated a free kick into the United area with Fran Davies and Carrington clearing the ball and despite a good response by the reds it was the Wolverines who almost forced an equaliser on the hour. Once again Warrington pressed high up the pitch and with Jackson stranded Rachel Unsworth lofted a shot towards the open goal striking the upright as Patient covered back to her own goal line. This time the United response was more comprehensive as Chelsea Flanagan worked an opening firing just past the post. Debutant Alice Forshaw drove through midfield feeding Flanagan who in turn played the ball through to Battle with Griffiths smothering the danger initially but seeing the ball squirm from her control leaving Battle to tap into the empty net for her second and FC’s 3rd of the afternoon.
Warrington again broke through Chatterley who played in Unsworth with Carrington sliding in a superb covering tackle to earn a goal kick for her team. Building from the back, United broke once more; Flanagan sliding a clever pass into Chambers who struck the post but was first to the rebound flicking the ball towards the far post with Helen Dobson unfortunate to mis-time her defensive header, wrong footing her keeper as the ball nestled in her own goal.
With ten minutes to go United made it 5 putting the game beyond any doubt. Davies played the ball out of defence to McCarrick who in turn found Flanagan with the striker lofting the ball into the path of Sullivan who looped her shot from the edge of the area, over Griffiths.
Flanagan herself deservedly wrapped up the scoring in stoppage time as Battle cut the ball back into the area with Sullivan letting it run through to Flanagan who showed excellent skill and composure to round Griffiths and find the bottom corner.
The win keeps United four points clear of West Didsbury & Chorlton at the top of the league with seven games left. The consequence of such a disrupted programme is the inevitable fixture pile up with the reds playing two or three times a week between now and the end of the season at the end of April. This Wednesday, 4th April they travel to Northwich to face the Vixens with a 6.30pm KO followed by a trip to Crewe to play the Alex next Sunday at 2pm. Get yourselves to those football grounds as the Women continue to challenge on three fronts.
Report by Rob Fullen
FC Player of the game: Fran Sullivan – the fulcrum providing the fluency between midfield and attack and also getting herself on the score sheet with an excellent strike.
Teams 1st April 2018: Attendance: 52
FC United of Manchester: 6 (2)
1. Gemma Jackson
2. Fran Davies
3. Abbie Carrington
5. Chelsea Patient
17. Jess McCarrick
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
18. Cara Fields
7. Fran Sullivan (Goal 80 mins)
8. Rebecca Foster
11. Kirsty Chambers (Capt) (Goal 16 mins)
9. Jess Battle (Goals 29 & 67 mins)
10. Alice Forshaw (for No17 46 mins) (Debut)
12. Fliss Winters (for No5 75 mins)
13. Chloe Ainsworth (GK) (For No1 79 mins)
14. Jennifer Lomax (for No 3 79 mins)
15. Chelsea Flanagan (for No 8 56 mins) (Goal 90+2 mins)
Roll on Roll Off:
On No8 for No18 65 mins
On No17 for No4 71 mins
Warrington Wolverines: 1 (0)
1. Kim Griffiths
2. Cathy Dutton
36. Danielle Burns
4. Wendy Booth (Goal 50 mins)
5. Helen Dobson (OG 76 mins FC United’s 4th)
6. Laura Parkinson
26. Kate Wild
20. Gail Wilson
10. Nicola Chatterley
11. Rachel Unsworth
15. Sam Hassall
14. Julie Crook
17. Rachel Dickinson
21. Claudia Hutton (for No36 65 mins)
Roll on Roll Off:
On No36 for No20 70 mins
Referee: Steve Watson
Asst Referee: Chloe Ainsworth / Will Kershaw
Asst Referee: N/K
Venue: Grappenhall Village Sports Club, Stockton Lane, Grappenhall, Cheshire WA4 9QB
Official FC photography by Mark Lee & Samantha Coates
Social Media Updates from Mikey Partington
FCUM Stats: Paul Hinson
Match Stats by Paul Hinson from: www.liveteamstats.com
FC United stats first column:
Shots on target: 10...........5
Shots off target: 9.............4
Completed Passes: 423........140