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FC United Women win first ever away game in fifth tier after victory at Wigan Athletic

FC United Women win first ever away game in fifth tier after victory at Wigan Athletic

FC United returned to winning ways on Sunday with a 3-1 league victory at Wigan Athletic LFC.

Jess Battle’s late strike had restored United’s two-goal lead, after Kate O’Gara and Rebecca Foster had earlier put the Reds 2-0 up, but for an early second half strike-back from the hosts. The win was FCUMW’s first ever league victory on the road in the NWWRL Premier Division, having been promoted to the fifth tier of women’s football for the first time, this season.

On a chilly mid-November afternoon in Orrell, FCUMW manager Luke Podmore brought Nicole Malpus and Corie Mather in from the side that started last weekend’s Women’s FA Cup loss to Chester-le-Street Town LFC.

Looking to bounce back from that First Round defeat, the Reds couldn’t have got off to a better start. Kate O’Gara turned home Abbie Carrington’s low cross, after just 57 seconds of the game, to get her first goal for the club. From kick-off to the goal, United had complete possession with the hosts yet to touch the ball.

FCUMW continue to press with the early initiative and nearly doubled their lead, ten minutes in to the game. Jess Battle was denied one-on-one shortly before Rebecca Foster struck against the crossbar.

Foster was then involved again, forcing the goalkeeper in to a stretching save but did find the net on 13 minutes. Having been found by Kate O’Gara, the midfielder waited for the defender to go to ground before firing high in to the net, past the goalkeeper.

Smart work at the other end of the pitch then helped the Reds to preserve the lead they had quickly built up. Gemma Jackson showed quick reactions to make a save, with both Emily Marsh and Fran Davies putting in strong interceptions to divert dangerous attacks, mounted by the home side.

Having absorbed a period of the hosts’ pressure, Kate O’Gara flashed a strike past the far left post before turning provider minutes later, but Jess Battle’s connection with the midfielder’s cross was blocked with Corie Mather unable to find the net with the rebound.

As a reward for their hard work in the first half, the Reds went in to the break with a well-earned 2-0 lead at the Dean Trust Academy

However, the hosts were quick to narrow the lead just three minutes in to the second half. A low Wigan cross deflected off the heel of FCUMW’s Emily Marsh and past teammate Gemma Jackson, to cut the lead down to just one.

Wigan then continued their strong start to the half, flashing two strikes wide of the Reds’ goal in quick succession, as they went on the hunt for an equaliser.

United themselves were also looking for a goal, to restore the two-goal lead. On the hour mark, Jess Battle prodded a shot wide of the mark before Rebecca Foster’s attempt was just off target, from range.

As United looked for some breathing room in the game, Podmore made the first two of his three changes, Jess McCarrick and Kirsty Chambers replaced Nicole Malpus and Corie Mather, just after the hour.

Up from the back, it was Fran Davies who was next to go close to adding to the score, glancing Kate O’Gara’s corner from the left wide of the far post. Just a few minutes later, United used their final sub with Hannah Dale replacing Emily Marsh.

The tension continued to rise in the game with both teams desperate to get the next goal. Rebecca Foster was the first player in to the book, receiving a yellow card from the referee, with just under ten minutes left to play.

With five minutes to go, FCUMW striker Jess Battle got the goal that all-but put an end to the contest. The Reds countered following a Wigan overload in attack, with the opportunity falling to United’s number 9 who lobbed the ball over the defender before holding off the challenge and confidently placing it past the goalkeeper.

The referee added on around seven minutes of time to make up for various stoppages but the Reds held on to get back to winning ways and make it two on the bounce in the league. Luke Podmore’s side have a chance to make it three from three in the league, on Sunday (25th November), when they travel to Accrington Girls & Ladies, 2pm KO.

Full game details will be released via our social media platforms (@FCUnitedWomen) in the coming days.

FCUMW Player of the Match: Kate O’Gara - The right winger’s day got off to the perfect start when she opened her FC account less than a minute in, and it continued to get better from there. O’Gara provided the assist for Foster’s first half strike and put in a solid 90-minute display at both ends of the pitch, to help the Reds pick up an important three points.

Wigan Athletic LFC 1 (0): Linford, Burke, Lea, Beach, Bloor, Nathaniel, Jones, Yeddrem (c), Atherton, Threlkeld, Fraser

Subs: Brown, Byrn, Johnson

FC United of Manchester Women 3 (2): Jackson, Malpus, Davies (c), Marsh, Carrington, Greenhalgh, O’Gara (Goal 1 min), Foster (Goal 13 mins), Fields, Mather, Battle (Goal 85 mins)

Subs: Ainsworth (GK), Jein, McCarrick (On for Malpus 61 mins), Dale (On for Marsh 74 mins), Chambers (On for Mather 61 mins)

Match stats from Paul Hinson (FC second column):

Goals: 1.....3
Shots on target: 3.....14
Shots off target: 4.....13
Completed passes: 205.....495
Possession: 29%.....71%

Venue: Dean Trust Academy, Greenhey, Orrell, Wigan, WN5 0DQ
Competition: NWWRL Premier Division
Attendance: 63

Report by Mikey Partington

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First Posted ~ 18:10 Tue 20 Nov 2018
News ID ~ 8162
Last Updated ~ 18:39 Fri 23 Nov 2018