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Match Details   

2.00pm Sunday 20th August 2017


Cumberland Sports Ground, Thomas Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 2BD

Crewe Alexandra Ladies FC 1 - 3FC United of Manchester

Attendance: N/K

Match Report

FC United Women made it eight wins out of eight in pre-season on Sunday following a potent 3-1 win at Women’s Premier League 1 side Crewe Alexandra Ladies FC.

Striker Jess Battle was once again on the score sheet not once but twice with an impressive brace along with skipper Kirsty Chambers who found the net either side of Battle’s strikes. The hosts only consolation was a late penalty put past Jackson in goal but it was otherwise a perfect day for the Reds at the Cumberland Arena.

United travelled to a sun-soaked Crewe off the back of seven previous wins in pre-season with the first actually coming against yesterday’s opponents back in July at Broadhurst Park. A 1-0 win on that day meant Luke Podmore and his side went into the game brewing with confidence.

Despite FC’s ruthless touch in front of goal throughout the course of pre-season, it was their defensive abilities that were to be tested first by the Women’s Premier League side yesterday. New signing Gemma Jackson was called into action early on, producing a fine top corner save to deny a fierce strike from the edge of the box. And she was well in touch with her defence too, with Abbie Carrington and Francesca Davies making strong tackles early on to help cut out the threat of an early lead for the hosts.

Having absorbed Crewe’s early pressure in the first ten minutes, it was actually the Reds who came closest to taking the lead with captain Kirsty Chambers’ trying her luck from wide out on her left. Despite the keeper being well beaten, her shot only clipped the outside of the far post and stayed out.

Even though Chambers’ shot didn’t find the net, it appeared the catalyst in finding FC’s opener. With the Reds continuing to mount the pressure on the Premier League side, Jess Battle twice came close forcing two superb saves from the Crewe keeper. Donelan also nearly opened the scoring after good work out on the left but her shot was well caught by the keeper.

But it was Battle once again that found the net for FC, having pin-balled around the box the ball found the inform striker who took one touch to set herself before firing a strike, low across the keeper and into the far corner to break the deadlock on 21 minutes.

And it was that goal that asserted the Reds’ dominance on the game. In the lead up to half time, United had multiple chances to make it two. Carrington connected well with a corner which was inches from doubling the lead before Fran Sullivan’s rebound was blocked. In the following minutes, Sullivan again was in the action having a deflected shot from inside of the box, crash the base of the post and come out.

Crewe themselves then hit the woodwork with a good header on the stroke of half time as they pushed for an equaliser but after another good save from Jackson to tip a shot over the bar and strong defensive play from Chelsea Patient, the Reds went into the break with the lead.

FC carried their momentum into the second half with it clear to see the determination to get a goal early in the half. As she most notably did throughout the second half, Olivia Greenhalgh continued to cut open the Crewe defence with a variety of incisive through balls with the first coming in the 46th minute as she found Kirsty Chambers, who latched onto it before firing a swerving shot which was parried by the well-tested Alexandra keeper.

The Reds’ pressure only continued and the good football just kept flowing as a well worked move left midfielder Fran Sullivan with a chance to make it two on the edge of the box, but her driven shot fell wide of the near post. However it was just four minutes later that FC did double the lead, tireless work from Donelan down the left found Chambers in the box who turned before expertly placing the ball past the keeper and into the net to keep up her goal-scoring form heading into the new season.

From then on in, FC didn’t look back and repeatedly went close to a third. First Battle and Schickhoff combined well to work an opening but the latter’s shot was easily caught by the keeper and then Chambers and Donelan’s exquisite interchange down the left found Shepherd at the back post who just fired over. But eventually the pressure told and the Reds found the third. An incisive cross along the floor from Chambers out on the left found Jess Battle who prodded home her second of the game on 62 minutes.
That was the goal that all but sealed another positive pre-season result for the Reds and just after it Luke Podmore made his changes for the day bringing on Beth Tattersall for Chelsea Patient before Mia Holden replaced Ella Schickhoff on 64 and 67 minutes respectively.
And it was Tattersall that was straight into the action using her acceleration down the right to win FC a corner before putting a miss-cued shot just over the bar from the resulting set piece.
Despite the solid showing from the Reds, a miss-timed Mel Shepherd challenge inside the box gave the hosts the chance to pull one back from the spot which they gratefully took, beating Gemma Jackson in goal to her right making it 3-1 on 83 minutes, earning a consolation for the Premier League side.
But it was FC who saw the game out comfortably to make it two wins from two against the WPL 1 side in Crewe Alexandra LFC over the course of the summer and eight out of eight for pre-season all together. The Reds play their final match of the pre-season campaign hosting Doncaster Belles Development Squad on Sunday at Broadhurst Park before the competitive season gets underway the following season as we welcome local rivals Altrincham LFC to Broadhurst Park for our SSE Women’s FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round tie.
FC Player of the game: Despite it being it being very difficult to pick one after a faultless performance from the whole squad on Sunday, midfielder Olivia Greenhalgh takes the accolade this week. A strong, determined and incisive performance from our no.19 on the day made her virtually unplayable at times. Sitting in a holding midfield two with Fran Sullivan, Greenhalgh thrived on the freedom in the middle of the pitch consistently showing the vision to pick out tremendous through balls to the forward line as well as dropping back and winning the ball for the Reds when they were out of possession!

FC United of Manchester

1) Gemma Jackson
5) Chelsea Patient (Off for no.6 67mins)
2) Francesca Davies
3) Abbie Carrington
19) Olivia Greenhalgh
7) Fran Sullivan
16) Mel Shepherd
14) Anya Donelan
11) Kirsty Chambers (c) (Goal 52 mins)
9) Jess Battle (Goal 21,62 mins)
20) Ella Schickhoff (Off for no.10 63mins)


6) Mia Holden (On for no.20 67mins)
10) Beth Tattersall

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