Chorltonian Ladies and title-chasing FC United of Manchester produced a thrilling game at Brookburn Road which saw the visitors continue to put the pressure on Merseyrail Bootle at the top of the NWWRFL Division One South with a 4-2 victory.
Chorlts were looking to bounce back from their narrow 2-1 loss away to Warrington Wolverines at the weekend and were boosted by the return of Amy Friel, Lyndsey Turner and Aisha Yallop to the starting line-up but were forced to be without Leanne Joyce and leading goalscorer Jordana Shaw. FC United made just one change as Adora Yau replaced Beth Tattersall
The game started at a lightening quick pace as Shelby Wolstencroft volleyed over a cross from the right hand side after only a minute. In spite of this, Chorlts were quick out the gates to respond themselves and should have led on seven minutes when Aisha Yallop’s header cannoned off the underside of the crossbar from Ellie Caddick’s corner before FC United were twice more called into goal-line clearances from Lyndsey Turner in the ensuing goal mouth scramble. It was a let off for FC United who took full advantage of the reprieve three minutes later when a low corner from Abbie Carrington came straight back to her and her return ball snuck past Chorlts goalkeeper Nat Callaghan off the inside of the near post. FC United came close to doubling their lead on 14 minutes from another corner but were twice denied by superb blocks from the Chorlts backline.
The home side were powerless to prevent FC United doubling their lead on 22 minutes when Chorlts conceded possession at the edge of their own penalty area with the loose ball falling straight to Chloe Wild whose first time effort flew into the top corner; a terrific strike. Chorlts didn’t give up and almost produced an immediate response as Yallop and Jami Hodges first time passes combined to play in the impressive Jo Malcomson who saw her header turned round the post by goalkeeper Amy Gillingham. Chorlts went close again from a set piece when Caddick’s inswinging corner clipped the outside of the post. Chorlts were dealt a further blow when Ellie Caddick was forced off with a recurrance of her hamstring injury with Sarah Cuthbert replacing her.
On 31 minutes Chorlts felt they should have had a penalty when the tenacious Debbie Price’s through ball released Malcomson one-on-one and appeared to be barged off the ball by Gillingham in the FC goal. However it was the visitors who earned themselves a penalty on 42 minutes when Wolstencroft was tripped by Lyndsey Turner on the touchline after the FC United forward had done well to evade a sliding tackle from Elizabeth Livesey. Olivia Greenhalgh took full advantage and drilled a confident penalty inside the left hand post to give FC United a commanding 3- 0 half time lead.
Not deterred by the scoreline however it was Chorlts who almost pulled a goal back two minutes after half time when Hodges made a superb run down the line, finding Yallop with her cross who in turn played in Price but she shinned her effort towards goal. Chorlts found their way back into the game on 51 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for handball by Adora Yau; up stepped Captain Shauna Edmondson who drilled a powerful effort into the same corner as Greenhalgh had in the first half. Three minutes it later it should have been 4-1 as a terrific cross from Chloe Wild found Wolstencroft unmarked at the far post but she headed straight into the hands of Callaghan.
Chorlts continued to press for another goal and almost half the deficit when Edmondson fired over from a narrow angle. They eventually found their goal just after the hour mark when a flick on from Price found Yallop at the edge of the area who turned and fired a superb effort into bottom corner inside the far post.
The final 25 minutes of the game saw an open game albeit with few clear cut chances as FC United replaced an attacker with a defender as they sought to defend their lead. Chorlts continued to pile bodies forward but it was Callaghan who was called into action five minutes from time when she did well to turn a low effort round the post destined for the bottom corner.
Four minutes of stoppage time were awarded by the referee and they too lived up to the previous 90 as Wild added her second with a sensational strike despite a clear handball in the build up before finishing superbly to lash her effort over Callaghan from the right hand side, The drama wasn’t over as Chorlts substitute Helen McTague saw a red card for her part in the home sides protestations to the awarding of the goal. However the handball and emotional outburst that followed failed to overshadow a terrific game of football and a great advert for the women’s game.
The victory for Luke Podmore’s side kept the pressure on league leaders who were also in action winning 2-0 away to Warrington Wolverines to ensure that the top two remained as-they-were courtesy of goals from Rachel Atherton and Kaisha Sohl. It’s a case of deja-vu for all four teams this weekend as the two teams reverse fixtures with Chorlts heading to Broadhurst Park on Sunday whilst Bootle host the Wolverines.
In the Premier Division, Manchester Stingers eased any relegation fears with a comfortable 3-0 home win against Accrington Ladies & Girls thanks to a brace from Nicola Armstrong and Bet Langford.
Chorltonian Ladies XI: Callagham (GK), Friel, Livesey, Malcomson, Turner, Taylor, Edmondson, Caddick, Price, Hodges, Yallop. Subs: Cuthbert, McFadyen, McTague. Sub Not Used: Windle.
Goalscorers: Shaun Edmondson (51p), Aisha Yallop (64).
Chorlts Player of the Match: Shauna Edmondson.
Red Card: Helen McTague (90)
FC United of Manchester Women XI: Gillingham (GK), Davies, Carrington, Greenhalgh, McWhirter, Marsh, McCarrick, Yau, Wolstencroft, Wild, Battle. Subs: Boulton, Patient. Subs Not Used: Tattersall, Vyas, Dolan.
Goalscorers: Abbie Carrington (10), Chloe Wild (22), Olivia Greenhalgh (42p), Chloe Wild (90).
FC United Player of the Match: Jess McCarrick