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Ahead of Sunday’s return to competitive action in the Women’s FA Cup, FC United Women were looking for a testing game last weekend against higher league opposition and certainly got it. Visitors Huddersfield Town, two division higher than FC, came away with a 3-0 win courtesy of a Laura Elford hat-trick (to add to four she scored the previous week against Bradford City).

However the game wasn’t without positives for the Reds, not least in another inspired performance from keeper Chloe Ainsworth and a much improved second half when, after trailing 2-0 at the break, the home defence, and Ainsworth in particular, held the Terriers out apart from a somewhat debatable penalty award.

Elford gave an early indication of what to expect with an early burst through and shot across goal from the right of the area and, only minutes later, opened her account with a shot drilled in from roughly the same spot.

FC found chances, and indeed possession, harder to come by than they’ve become used to. Jade Parker though almost managed to take advantage of uncertainty between defender and keeper to steal the ball and nudge it across the area but her shot was well blocked by Terriers’ defender Griffiths chasing back.

On 18 minutes Elford doubled her team’s and her own tally, converting a low cross after a good run to the byline by Mallin.

Ainsworth beat out a fierce shot from Mallin to prevent Huddersfield increasing their lead. FC then had a half chance when Cunliffe found Jade Parker in space down the right. Parker found her route blocked by covering defenders but the ball wasn’t cleared and broke for Chambers to fire a shot that the keeper Davies was able to get behind.

In first half injury time Ainsworth made a fine fingertip save to Elford’s low shot, diving low to her right.

FC began the second half with purpose and Natalie Richardson came close to reducing the arrears in the opening minutes of the second half with a shot direct from a free kick that grazed the crossbar. The lively Jordan Bailey also saw a shot from the right clip the bar on its way over. However on the hour mark FC half-cleared from a corner but the ball was quickly fired back into the area resulting in a penalty award against Clancy for handball, which seemed harsh given the fact that the FC player had little time to react as the ball struck her and didn’t appear to have moved her hands to the ball. Nevertheless Elford took the opportunity to complete her hat-trick from the spot.

Ainsworth continued to be kept busy, needing to save a downward header from a corner and then react to stop the ball going into the net from a left wing cross via a deflection off Chelsea Patient. However her best save was probably the one from Town’s Lucy Sowerby who hit a fierce shot from the edge of the area to which Ainsworth reacted superbly, diving to her left to turn the ball away one-handed for a corner.

Ainsworth’s day still wasn’t done though as she was called on to block a low shot from the left at her near post but could only deflect the ball across goal. However Patient was on hand to repay the earlier favour and sweep the ball clear off the line.

Report by Phil Bradbury

FC Player of the game: Chloe Ainsworth - another outstanding performance in goal with the Reds under the cosh for much of the game.

Pre-season friendly at Broadhurst Park 3G
Sunday 30th August 2020: Attendance: 74


FC United of Manchester Women: 0 (0)
1. Chloe Ainsworth
20. Kate O’Gara
3. Emily Marsh
4. Caitlin Clancy
5. Chelsea Patient
6. Cara Fields
25. Natalie Richardson
8. Maxine Smith
9. Kaylea Cunliffe
18. Jade Parker
11. Kirsty Chambers (C)
10. Jordon Bailey (for no18, half time)
7. Corie Mather
23. Beth Hayes
(for nos8&9, 65 minutes)
15. Laura Hart (for no4, 71 minutes)
16. Robyn Hartley
24. Allisha Marsh
(for no3&11, 76 minutes)
14. Rebecca Cork (for no3, 86 minutes)

Huddersfield Town 3 (2)
33. Bethan Davies
17. Emma Samways
3. Beth Ibbotson
4. Kate Mallin
5. Vicky Abbott
6. Lauren Griffiths
7. Katie Nutter
8. Charley Evans
12. Ella Harris
10. Laura Elford (Goal 6, 18 & 60 minutes[pen])
11. Brittany Sanderson
2. Beth Stanfield (for no5)
20. Hannah Smith (for no6)
9. Sarah Danby (for no12)
14. Lucy Sowerby (for no17)

Referee: M Brannigan
Linesmen: R Andrew & P Roberts
Match day photographs by Mark Lee

First Posted ~ 08:57 Fri 4 Sep 2020
News ID ~ 8766
Last Updated ~ 16:00 Fri 19 Feb 2021