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Second half comeback sees FCUMW beat Merseyrail in league clash

Second half comeback sees FCUMW beat Merseyrail in league clash

FC United Women made it two wins from two in this season’s NWWRL Premier Division after beating Merseyrail Ladies 4-1 at Broadhurst Park.

Despite being behind going into half time, the Reds rallied to put up a second half comeback, with a double from Jess Battle and strikes from substitutes Sarah Chadwick and Corie Mather sealing the win for FC.

The Reds went into the game off the back of securing a place in the Third Qualifying Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, last weekend. Luke Podmore made made two changes to the side that started the game at Oughtibridge, Shaunna Jein came into the starting XI along with Kate O’Gara making her FCUMW debut, after signing from Blackburn Rovers LFC in the week.

The game got underway under the cloudy Broadhurst Park skies, with United looking to make it two home wins from two in the league, this season. In the attempt of both sides to dominate the early possession, there was an even start to the clash with neither side having any clear cut chances in the opening minutes.

After a number of attempts made by the visitors to put the early pressure on the Reds, new signing Kate O’Gara was able to power forward down the right wing with her through-ball directed for Jess Battle unfortunately cut out by a defender. United then had to do their best to deal with a number of Merseyrail lobbed passes, Jackson alert enough to smother a number of dangerous-looking attacks.

A neat one-two between Jess McCarrick and Kirsty Chambers put the captain through on the left, but her low driven cross was swiped away and behind for a corner on the 25-minute mark. Moments later, the Reds quickly turned defence into attack and launched the best attack of the game so far. Jackson found Jein out on the left, the defender found an open Olivia Greenhalgh inside the centre circle before she superbly sprayed a ball out to Kate O’Gara on the right. The winger drove forward before firing wide of the near post.

Despite the game looking like it was starting to open up for United, the visitors took the lead. A long ball over the top couldn’t be cleared by the FC defence with Robyn Taylor able to find the net for Merseyrail, from inside the box on 33 minutes.

That wasn’t to be the end of FC’s problems either, the visitors had an opportunity to double their lead in quick succession but the shot from close range was skied over Jackson’s crossbar. The Reds then had to be alert again, a Merseyrail corner pin-balled around the Reds’ box before Chambers had to clear an effort off the line to keep the lead down to one.

The visitors went into the break with the lead and so the Reds made two half-time changes; Mather and Chadwick replacing Malpus and Jein.

The visitors then thought that they’d doubled their lead, in the 48th minute, despite having the ball in the net from a corner the referee ruled it out for a foul in the box.

With the lead still at just one, United took their opportunity to level the score. Jess Battle’s long range effort left the goalkeeper standing before finding the bottom corner to tie the game up on 50 minutes.

The Reds had to work to preserve that lead however, Jackson produced a save right out of the top drawer, tipping the ball onto the post on the stretch before confidently collecting the corner. Minutes later Jackson was alert again to keep out a long range strike, catching well in a central position.

With Jackson keeping FC level at one end, Sarah Chadwick made the most of her chance to put the Reds ahead. A driven through-ball found the forward who powered forward before finishing to give United the lead, on 64 minutes, having been introduced from the bench at half-time.

From then FCUMW continued to take the initiative to the visitors, Fields showed some neat footwork by the byline on the right, before crossing for Jess Battle who nodded wide of the far post. Battle unfortunately couldn’t find the target on that occasion, but Mather could just six minutes later. After being superbly found on the right, the winger held off the defender before finishing inside the post to stretch United’s lead with a little over ten minutes left to play.

Having scored the third goal, Luke Podmore’s side didn’t sit back, going close twice after both Rebecca Foster and Kirsty Chambers had efforts turned away from the goal. Battle’s driven shot was then blocked just moments later with Fields unable to turn the loose ball home.

On 88 minutes Kirsty Chambers found the gap in a tired-looking Merseyrail defence, but a last-ditch tackle on Jess Battle, after the skipper had found her, stopped FC adding to the lead. As the game went into the two minutes of added on time at the end of the half, FCUMW made it 4-1. Chambers and Battle were again both involved with the latter confidently side-footing home her second of the afternoon to complete her fourth successive brace of the season.

For all of United’s good work, the game ended on a sour note for the Reds. Goalscorer Sarah Chadwick was stretchered off after a tackle out on the right.

Seconds after the restart, the referee blew time on a well-fought encounter at Broadhurst Park. The win takes the Reds up to third in the NWWRL Premier Division table with six points, having won both of their league games this season. Next up for Podmore’s side is a Third Qualifying Round tie in the SSE Women’s FA Cup as Bridlington Rovers LFC are the visitors to Broadhurst Park, next Sunday.

FCUMW Player of the Match: Olivia Greenhalgh - For the second time already this season, the midfielder takes the weekly award. Continuous attempts to turn defence into attack with a string of incisive through-balls to the Reds’ forward line were paramount to United’s superb second half comeback.

FC United of Manchester Women: 4 (0)

1. Gemma Jackson
14. Nicole Malpus
2. Fran Davies
12. Shaunna Jein
20. Kate O’Gara (Debut)
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
8. Rebecca Foster
11. Kirsty Chambers (c)
17. Jess McCarrick
6. Cara Fields
9. Jess Battle (Goals 50, 90 mins)

Subs:

19. Chloe Ainsworth (GK)
5. Emily Marsh
7. Corie Mather (On for No14 46 mins) (Goals 77 mins)
16. Sarah Chadwick (On for No12 46 mins) (Goal 64 mins)
10. Hannah Dale

Merseyrail Ladies: 1 (1)

1. Jess Muirhead
2. Ruth Thomas
3. Tammie Cunningham
4. Gemma Lancaster
5. Kaisha Sohl
6. Shelley James
14. Tessa Littler
19. Holly Parkinson
16. Sophie Perry
10. Rachel Atherton
11. Robyn Taylor (Goal 33 mins)

Subs:

20. Oleta La Cruz
21. Kayleigh Davies
22. Megan Brodie
15. Georgia Mills
8. Georgia Hill

Match stats from Paul Hinson (FC first column):

Goals: 4.....1
Shots on target: 5.....7
Shots off target: 6.....5
Completed passes: 370.....181
Possession: 67%.....33%

Venue: Broadhurst Park, Lightbowne Road, Moston, M40 0FJ
Competition: NWWRL Premier Division
Referee: Steve Darlow
Attendance: 121

Report by Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 18:47 Sun 30 Sep 2018
News ID ~ 8069
Last Updated ~ 22:14 Thu 4 Oct 2018