by Rob McKay · 15/01/2018
West Women fell to their second league defeat of the campaign as they were narrowly beaten in front of a large crowd of 152 by FC United.
The two sides had dropped just five points between them in the league this season with the winner of the match going someway to determining this season’s league champions. Perhaps because of that the opening stages of the match were tentative albeit full blooded with both sides quick to cancel the other out. With Jami Hodges out injured West Manager Paul Caddick reshuffled the side moving top scorer Elizabeth Livesey into defence joined with Elile Caddick, Jo Turner and Lauren O’Neill who were all returning to the side.
The games first chance of any real description came on 20 minutes when a low Sophie Bracegirdle cross was flicked on towards the near post forcing goalkeeper Gemma Jackson into a smart save to turn the ball round the post. From the resulting corner West went close again in a goal mouth scramble but FC held strong to clear their lines.
West made an early change as Hanifa Douglas replaced Leigh McFadyen and immediately got involved in the action as the nippy striker turned her marker on the goal-line before picking out Chaneece Reeves with a cross over the keeper but the winger couldn’t turn her effort towards goal.
The impressive Shauna Edmondson went closer still as she looped a long range effort just over the bar with the FC goalkeeper beaten. Reeves went closer still to fire one just past the post. Despite having the better of a pulsating first half the two sides went in goalless. However, West were dealt a blow when Caddick was forced off with a toe injury.
The first attack of the second half brought the opening goal as a Beth Tattersall cross wasn’t taken cleanly by Claire Jefferson in the West goal allowing Jess Battle to pounce on the loose ball and give FC United the lead. A further blow saw Lyndsey Turner forced off with a hamstring injury as West were again forced to reshuffle.
Tempers flared as Reeves and Rebecca Foster both saw yellow following an altercation in the penalty area after Reeves had challenged the visiting goalkeeper with the visitors taking an exception to what was deemed a fair challenge by the refree. Neither side was prepared to relinquish even an inch as both sides connected with some big challenges.
The second goal followed on the hour mark as Yvette Loukes produced a first touch of quality worthy of winning a football match that took her past the otherwise impressive Lauren O’Neill before slotting the ball home from 12 yards out.
The contest was put to bed on 70 minutes when substitute Nicole Hatcliffe caught Jefferson off her line and curled an effort over her from the edge of the area to make it 3-0. West continued to chase the game as they looked to bring the score-line in keeping with the closeness of the contest but the visitors successfully sought to kill the game.
Next Sunday, West host GMWFL Division One Champions AFC Urmston Meadowside in the Quarter Final of the Manchester Women’s Cup
Team: Jefferson, Caddick, J.Turner, Livesey, O’Neill, Bracegirdle, Reeves, L.Turner, Kerr, Edmondson, McFadyen. Subs: Douglas, Price, Croasdale, Callaghan, Friel.
Cautioned: Reeves, Attendance: 152
Photo Credit: Mark Lee