MATCH REPORT | West Women 3-4 FC United – West Didsbury & Chorlton AFC

MATCH REPORT | West Women 3-4 FC United

Photo Credit: Mark Lee

West Women bowed out of the Manchester FA Women’s Challenge Cup at the semi-final stage for the second straight season in a thrilling encounter against FC United.

On the back of their 10-0 win over Wythenshawe Amatuers on Thursday evening West were able to welcome back Leah Fish, Hannah Mitchell and Chloe Spencer back into the starting line-up but were without Orla Conlon, Vicky Frisby and the continued absence of Amy Friel. There were places amongst the substitutes for teenagers Abi Littler and new arrival Paige Chalmers

The game started with a terrific tempo that failed to yield throughout the encounter but was disrupted in the opening stages as Chloe Spencer received a bloody nose following a hard struck volley to the face before FC United lost their captain Kirsty Chambers to a knee injury.

The opening stages were evenly matched until the visitors took the lead on 14 minutes as Kate O’Gara’s through ball released Aimee O’Keefe who finished coolly as she rounded Fish before stroking into the West goal.  West responded admirably to falling behind as three consecutively well struck corners from Ellie Caddick caused trouble in the FC United penalty area with Katy Wilman seeing a close range effort cleared off the line after the initial effort had struck the inside of the post.

West’s pressure was rewarded on 21 minutes as FC United saw their own goal kick come straight back to them with Rachael Dunlop flicking the ball onto Elizabeth Livesey whose first time effort lobbed over the FC United goalkeeper Chloe Ainsworth to bring the scores level. West went in search of the lead as Sophie Bracegirdle hit the side netting with an effort followed Spencer firing an effort over the bar.

The visitors retook the lead with a quick counter attacking move as Shaunna Jein released Jess Battle down the right, Wilman’s challenge got caught in the turf, allowing the forward to cross into the un-marked O’Keefe who made no mistake from close range to restore the FC lead; albeit arguably against the run of play.

FC United doubled their lead in the third minute of first half stoppage time as a corner resulted in a goal mouth scramble and Jess McCarrick reacted quickest to the loose ball and rifled it into the roof of the net to give the travelling team a half time 3-1 lead.

It took just four minutes of the second half for West to make amends as Livesey halved the deficit with a fine individual goal as she held off the United defence from a throw-in before slotting her effort under Ainsowrth for her 12th goal in the competition. On 58 minutes West came close to levelling as Ellie Caddick struck the sweetest of free kicks off the crossbar with Bracegirdle unable to make contact with the rebound and divert it home.

West levelled on 66 minutes as Chloe Spencer, this time hit the crossbar, with Livesey following in to head home on the line and make it a hat-trick in every round of the competition this season and draw West level.

The home side might have won it on 84 minutes as Hannah Mitchell won the ball deep inside West’s half, beating her marker before rolling it into the path of Spencer; the West midfielder did superbly to let the ball run across her body before finding Dunlop with a pass who in turn played in Livesey whose shot was only partially blocked by Ainsworth with Francesca Davies denying a fourth with a full stretch diving challenge.

However, it was heartbreak for West as FC found the winner with defender Emily Marsh suddenly finding herself in too much space as she raced through the West half before coolly slotting under the West goalkeeper on 86 minutes to ensure FC United returned to the Manchester Challenge Cup final for a third straight season.


Team: Fish, Caddick, Wilman, Edmondson, Bracegirdle, Hodges, Mitchell, Kerr, Spencer, Dunlop, Livesey. Subs: Chalmers, Lomas. Subs Not Used: Littler, Jefferson.