FC’s Women top the table after knocking Northwich for six
With early pace setters, Merseyrail Bootle, in County Cup action, FC United took the opportunity to go top of the league after a convincing 6-0 home victory over Northwich Vixens on Sunday afternoon; maintaining their perfect start to the season.
The Vixens, relegated from the league above at the end of last season have not had the best of starts to the campaign but their work rate and endeavour belied their current form and they restricted United to a two goal lead at the break with goals from the impressive Allisha Marsh and Jade Parker.
The reds made their dominance of play and possession count more tellingly in the second half as Shellby Wolstencroft bagged a brace, Marsh fired her second and Kirsty Chambers wrapped up the scoring inside the last five minutes.
The visitors got the game underway but United were first on the offensive as good interplay between Parker and Marsh down the left resulted in the latter crossing to the near post resulting in a hurried clearance that the winger chased down well earning an early corner. One corner lead to the next and then a third before the resolute Vixens cleared their lines.
The clearance saw Abbey Dowse bearing down on FC’s goal as Chloe Williams was forced into a hurried clearance but recovered sufficiently to gather Dowse’s effort.
A progressive passage of play saw midfielders Olivia Greenhalgh and Mia Holden exchange short passes with Holden lofting her effort onto the roof of Lyndsey Hopley’s net from 30 yards.
Approaching the quarter hour, Marsh chased what looked a lost cause keeping the ball alive on the bye line and earning United’s fourth corner. Parker swept the ball into the 6 yard area where Chelsea Patient headed just wide. The deadlock was finally broken on 17 minutes as Parker lofted a ball towards the back post where Marsh out muscled her defender before driving a half volley into the bottom corner of Hopley’s goal from 12 yards.
The reds looked to build on their lead and in a swift break from the back, Adora Yau freed Marsh down the left and once more she earned a corner for her side. Wolstencroft whipped the set piece into the area and the ball ricocheted away from goal where Yau fired it back in but the crowd of players thwarted her attempt.
Northwich earned some respite and were awarded a free kick 35 yards out which Cathy Dutton fired on target for Williams to dive and hold on well to maintain United’s slender advantage. Eventually however, the home side did double their lead as the coaches urged Wolstencroft and Parker to stay higher up the pitch. The advice paid immediate dividends as Abbie Carrington carried the ball forward, slid a pass to Marsh who crossed to the far post where Parker was on hand to side foot home from 3 yards at the back post.
Despite their best efforts, Northwich defended well and the half ended with Greenhalgh speculating from range with Hopley gathering comfortably.
United, kicking towards Lightbowne Road, started the second half on the front foot with Marsh applying pressure and penetration down the left. From a short goal kick Marsh anticipated well and clipped the ball into the area for Danielle Xenophontos, on after the break for Parker, to tee up Wolstencroft in the ‘D’. The skilful striker took the ball round a defender and saw her shot well saved by Hopley. A minute later however, and from a difficult angle 18 yards from goal, Wolstencroft fired low across Hopley and in at the far post for United’s third.
On the hour Wolstencroft had her second and United’s fourth as good work in midfield resulted in Holden lofting into the stride of FC’s number 9 and with Xenophontos cleverly creating space with a diversionary run, Wolstencroft exploited the opening to loop a half volley over the despairing leap of Hopley.
To cap a memorable afternoon on her first competitive start for United, Marsh latched onto a through ball from Greenhalgh who was caught late with referee Steve Darlow playing an excellent advantage. Marsh showed no hesitation as she drove goalward and fired past substitute keeper, Rebecca Francis-Jones at her near post.
Late substitute, Kirsty Chambers, wrapped up the scoring as the game entered its last few minutes. Good possession from the back as Holden slid the ball into the path of Chambers who stroked the ball unerringly under Francis-Jones for United’s sixth.
To their credit the Vixens remained combative to the final whistle and in the closing minutes were thwarted by a decisive punch from Williams and positive clearance by Fran Davies and United kept their clean sheet and notched their fourth consecutive league victory to see them climb to the top of the table.
The reds hit the road for the next three weeks starting with a short trip to Altrincham, followed by the eagerly anticipated journey North East to Norton & Stockton Ancients in the FA Cup on 9th October (exactly 6 years to the day since FC’s Men travelled the same road in the Club’s most famous FA Cup campaign to date).
The Sunday after, it’s back to league action away at Curzon Ashton before we finally return home to play our first Argyle Cup tie of the season against Warrington Wolverines on 23rd October. Get yourselves to those football grounds and let’s help the Women build on the excellent start to their season.
Report by Rob Fullen
FC Player of the game: Allisha Marsh – On her first competitive start for FC United, the young winger gave an impressive performance with her skill and pace down the left causing problems for the Vixens defence from first whistle to last. Allisha also contributed two goals; her first competitive strikes for FC United. Well played.
Teams 25th September 2016: Attendance: 88
FC United of Manchester Women: 6 (0)
1. Chloe Williams
8. Adora Yau
2. Fran Davies
5. Chelsea Patient (Capt)
3. Abbie Carrington
4. Olivia Greenhalgh
6. Mia Holden
15. Jade Parker (Goal 36 mins)
14. Allisha Marsh (Goals 17 & 83 mins)
20. Shannon Hayes
9. Shellby Wolstencroft (Goals 48 & 60 mins)
11. Kirsty Chambers (for No9 78 mins & Goal 87 mins)
12. Olivia Gannon (not used)
16. Charlie Evans (for No20 46 mins)
18. Leah Hartshorne (not used)
19. Danielle Xenophontos (for No15 46 mins)
Northwich Vixens LFC: 0 (0)
1. Lyndsey Hopley
2. Nikki Ronan
3. Carley Smith
4. Cathy Dutton
5. Jodie Burgess
6. Sue McGrath
7. Kirsty Sherratt
8. Abbey Dowse
9. Janie Anderson
10. Paige Hewitt
17. Dani Fisher
11. Michaela Thompson (not used)
12. (1) Rebecca Francis-Jones (GK) (for No1 78mins)
14. Ella Harvey (not used)
Referee: Steve Darlow
Asst Ref: John Hampson
Asst Ref: Jordan Dennett
Venue: Broadhurst Park, Moston, Manchester, M40