Chorltonian Ladies extended their unbeaten run to five games but were denied three points as they were held by a resolute Stockport County Blues side reduced to 10 players for much of the second half.
Chorlts manager Paul Caddick, having fielded just 12 players at Altrincham the previous weekend, was boosted by the returns of Captain Shauna Edmondson and Aisha Yallop to the starting line-up. Natalie Callaghan kept her place in goal in the absence of the injured Claire Jefferson but the bench was boosted by the returns of Hanna Dobie, Leigh McFadyen and Helen McTague.
Chorlts started brightly and almost led early on as Edmondson headed over at the far post from an Ellie Caddick corner. A minute later Jamila Hodges curled an effort just wide of the post from the edge of the area. Caddick’s corners continued to threaten as she hit the crossbar directly from one set piece on 22 minutes trying to take advantage of the keeper off her line.
With a rare reserve of talent on the bench for Chorlts; it was County who were forced into making their only available sub on 23 minutes when Player-Manager Vicky Brown replaced the injured Leah Ashworth. Despite the disruption to their team selection Stockport more than held their own in an end-to-end albeit tight game. Hodges might have put the home side in front but was denied a superb last ditch tackle in front of goal. County might have punished the miss themselves on 34 minutes as Chorlts surrendered possession at the edge of their own area but Megan Armstrong could only fire her hard effort into the hands of Callaghan. Neither side could produce another clear cut effort in the first half to ensure the sides went into the break level.
Further injury woes were to strike Stockport in the second half as Abby Stevenson was forced to leave the game following a head injury in a challenge for the ball with Edmondson. With no further substitutes available County Blues were forced to finish the game with 10 players and Chorlts look to take full advantage with Debbie Price firing just wide on 55 minutes. Three minutes later a wonderful pass from Edmondson cross field pass found Caddick on the right hand, her first touch took her into the penalty area but she couldn’t find the needed second touch to find Yallop in the middle.
The chances continued, and the best fell to Price on 62 minutes as she beat County goalkeeper Imogen Elbourn to the a through ball, rounding her, before laying off to the impressive Carrie Hancock whose chip from the edge of the area was coolly headed off the line by Lauren Digby chasing back to her own goal with Yallop eventually firing the loose ball into the near post side netting.
Chorlts made a double switch as Leigh McFadyen and Jo Malcmonson replaced Leanne Joyce and Price as Caddick looked to push for the winner. It almost had an instant impact as another superb through ball found McFadyen, who almost scored with her first touch, as she fired just wide from the edge of the area. Bad would become worse for County on the injury front as they were temporarily reduced to nine when Emma Armstrong was unable to continue following a challenge on McFadyen.
Chorlts made another change as Helen McTague replaced Hancock and she almost scored with her first touch as she headed wide with a diving header from another whipped in Caddick corner. Chorlts pressure refused to relent and on 72 minutes McFadyen came closer still as her header clipped the crossbar from a header at the near post from an inswinging Caddick corner.
The final 15 minutes became one way traffic as Lyndsey Turner saw her long range effort turned rebound the post by Elbourn on 75 minutes before Malcomson’s pass found Caddick on the right hand side and she fired just over at the near post. There was no respite for County, now restored to 10 players, as Elbourn was again called into action as she saved first from Hodges on the turn before pushing another effort round the post from McFadyen. On 85 minutes they had valid shouts for a penalty turned down as Elizabeth Livesey’s volley looked to have been handled inside the area but the referee waved the appeals down.
There was still time for drama at the other end as County’s Lucy Milward exerted her ever increasing influence in the game firing a good chance over with a minute remaining before seeing an even closer effort role agonisingly wide of the post as Callaghan watched on. However despite a late volley from Livesey that required saving, Chorlts couldn’t find a winner as an exciting tie finished scoreless in the sunshine at Brookburn Road.
Chorltonian Ladies Team: Callaghan (GK), Friel, Turner, Livesey, Joyce, Caddick, Edmondson, Price, Hancock, Hodges, Yallop. Subs: Malcomson, McFadyen, McTague. Subs Not Used: Dobie.
Chorlts Player of the Match: Hodges
Stockport County Blues Team: Elbourn, Ashworth, Donahue, E.Armstrong, Digby, Malone, Milward, Stevenson, Bezinna, M.Armstrong, Brookes. Subs: Brown.
Stockport’s Player of the Match: Malone