West Didsbury & Chorlton were denied a historic home final in the Manchester Women’s Cup as they bowed out at the semi-final stages away to FC United.
West almost fell behind in the game’s opening seconds as FC United broke quickly down the left before Jess Battle fired her shot inches wide of the post. However, West recovered and started well with Sophie Bracegirdle clipping the outside of the post from the narrowest of angles just five minutes in.
West struck the woodwork for a second time on 10 minutes when Chaneece Reeves latched onto a loose FC pass and cannoned her effort of the underside of the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.
The game remained an even contest until 25 minutes when FC took the lead slightly against the run of play. A hard shot from Kirsty Chambers rattled the underside of the crossbar with Battle reacted quickest to the rebound as West goalkeeper Claire Jefferson could only watch as the FC strikers effort took a deflection of a West defender to divert it past her.
FC might have doubled their lead on 31 minutes as Chambers saw a low effort strike the outside of the post before Jefferson was called into action to save the rebound. Incredibly, West themselves hit the frame of the goal for the third time in the half when a wonderful free kick from Ellie Caddick picked out Bracegirdle from 40 yards and the West winger saw her effort rebound off the crossbar on 35 minutes.
Despite having matched their opponents all over the field West headed into the break 1-0 down.
The opening stages were end-to-end as both goalkeepers were called into action as Jefferson did well to get down and save a low effort immediately after the restart. Two minutes later Lyndsey Turner forced goalkeeper Gemma Jackson into a save firing on the half-volley.
The second goal was always going to prove crucial and it came on 52 minutes as FC countered from a West corner. Despite having initially seen out the danger, a mix-up between Caddick and Jefferson allowed substitute Chelsea Flannigan to squeeze in and finish coolly into the bottom right hand corner.
West continued to search for a way back into the game as they searched for a goal but it was the home side who looked to exploit the additional space created as West committed players forward. Midfielder Fran Sullivan twice went close for FC but missing the target on both occasions just before the hour mark whilst at the other end West twice called Jackson into action to make low saves to turn efforts round the post.
The game was sealed in the 89th minute as West switched off from a corner allowing Abby Carrington to head home Sullivan’s corner to make it 3-0. A score-line that somewhat reflected harshly on West who despite the result were applauded proudly off by their travelling support including Chairman Glyn Meacher.
West will now welcome FC United to the Prestigious Brookburn Road on Friday 13th April when they face the winners of Manchester Stingers v Curzon Ashton in the final of the Manchester Women’s Cup.