MATCH REPORT | Stockport County Blues 1-2 West Women
West’s Women eased into the second round of the Argyle Sports Cup with a confident 2-1 win over Stockport County Blues at Lambath Grove.
Following last week’s Manchester Women’s Challenge Cup tie at home to Flixton, Manager Paul Caddick made wholesale changes to the squad with Elizabeth Livesey, Chaneece Reeves and Sophie Bracegirdle restored to the starting line-up. A number of absentee’s saw a make shift defence that included Shauna Edmondson and centre back and Debbie Price at left back.
West were quick out of the starting blocks and created a good chance after less than a minute when the lightning-quick Jami Hodges burst down the left, finding Reeves in the penalty area with a low cross but the West forward’s shot was deflected wide for a corner. Four minutes later West went close again as Livesey fired just over from the edge of the penalty area.
West’s fine start continued as Ellie Caddick picked out Livesey with a terrific pass on 10 minutes with the West number six seeing her effort also deflected into the wide netting. West went close again as Livesey saw a hard effort in the wind only saved at the second attempt before Livesey and Reeves combined at the edge of the area with the latter firing just over from inside the penalty area.
The visitors hard-work was almost undone on 26 minutes when Bethany Brookes managed to get behind the West defence, saw her low effort roll beyond Claire Jefferson towards the goal but Debbie Price was on hand to clear the danger. Four minutes later County went close again when Lauren Digby tried to catch Jefferson off her line but the shot flew wide of the post from 25 yards out. It was a rare moment of exposure for West whose make shift back four martialled the Stockport attack superbly limiting their influence on the game.
West rallied and finished the half strongly as first; Ellie Caddick struck a hard curling free kick off the underside of the crossbar. Price then watched as her 30 yard effort hit the side netting. Following that, the impressive Vicky Kerr saw a looping header saved on the line by the finger- tips of Fran Singleton from a West corner on 43 minutes.
The deadlock was broken a minute later; a superb ball down the channel from Kerr picked out Leigh McFadyen. With the keeper rushing out to clear the ball, the West number nine should terrific bravery and excellent technique to lift the ball high over Singleton and into the Stockport goal. It was no less than West deserved going into the break.
It took just a minute after the restart for West to double their lead as a free flowing move saw Bracegirdle pick out McFadyen with a terrific pass from the wing; McFadyen laid the ball off to Reeves who threaded the ball through the defence for McFadyen to run onto with the West striker doubling her tally tapping into the goal after Singleton had initially made a brave block..
Confidence now flowing, Kerr was again involved in the action as her pass released Bracegirdle who fired just over the bar from 25 yards out. Three minutes later another pass down the right from Kerr fed Reeves but her low effort from a narrow angle flew just beyond the far post.
The chances continued to flow as substitute Nat Callaghan released Bracegirdle with an inch perfect pass down the right on 72 minutes; the winger pulled her cross back to Reeves at the near post but again her effort rolled wide of the foot of the far post.
West came even closer in the later moments of the game as Reeves hard effort was only parried away by Singleton into the path of Callaghan but the West striker struck her effort too cleanly and fired it over the crossbar with the goal at her mercy.
West then suffered a late scare with two minutes remaining as the defence, having completely neutralised the Stockport attack in the second half, was breached from the penalty spot following the referee’s decision to award a spot kick for a foul against Ellie Caddick on Danny Bezzina. Despite the harshness of the award as the West right back had made zero contact with her opponent, Amy Broadhurst stepped up and fired her shot beyond Jefferson to deny West a clean sheet.
Callaghan almost made amends for her earlier miss when her rocket of an effort from 25 yards out cannoned off the underside of the crossbar with the referee blew for times seconds later; a long way short of the added time expected.
However, the goal conceded was a minor bump in a deserved victory for West to make it seven win in a row.
Team: Jefferson, Caddick, Price, Edmondson, O’Neill, Bracegirdle, Hodges, Kerr, Livesey, McFadyen, Reeves. Subs: Callaghan, Hanley. Subs Not Used: Croasdale, Douglas, Clarke.
Goalscorer: McFadyen (2)