FC United of Manchester Women collected their first Manchester FA Women’s Cup with a stunning 5-1 win over City of Manchester Ladies on Friday night at West Didsbury & Chorlton
In front of a terrific crowd of 238 FC United were handed the perfect start when Kirst Chambers curled a right footed effort into the top corner after 24 minutes. However they were pegged back just five minutes later when Vicky Lomas turned into the bottom corner after a low cross from Captain Claire Young inside the area. FC United re-took the lead seven minutes before half time when Jade Parker turned in from close range after a low cross from Chloe Wild along the six yard box evaded the City defence.
The second half was a tight affair as the side from a division above tried to find their way back into the game but it was made safe for FC United on 78 minutes when Jade Parker finished superbly with the outside of her foot.
From there United finished off in style as Parker caught Jo Lawrence off her line with a deft chip before the goal of the night came from Kirsty Chambers with a stunning strike from distance.
Despite the impressive score-line FC United Women’s Manager Luke Podmore hailed the second goal as crucial; “It was quite a close game to be fair.” “We knew that City of Manchester were quite a big side; a physical side and we’ve got a bit of a voodoo against them as we’ve lost the last four times that we’ve played them. It was a tough test for us.”
“When we scored the second; that was a massive goal, to go in at half time [with the lead]. When the third goal went in I felt that we were a little bit more comfortable and we dominated the second half towards the end but fair play to City of Manchester they kept going.”
For Podmore it was his first silverware at the club since taking over from Luke Sutton at the beginning of the season; “It feels amazing. It was the first opportunity to win a trophy, it was a real good occasion and the Manchester County Cup is something that’s evaded the women’s team for a long time. I’m really happy for the girls as they put the hard work in; it’s not done from the side-lines.”
Podmore praised his players since his arrival which had seem them push (now Champions) Merseyrail Bootle all the way to the final weekend of the season: “They’ve all been amazing. We made quite a few drastic changes and they’ve embraced it very well. I think it was just about making them realise the potential of that team. It’s a really good squad and we’re now beginning to realise that we can compete for trophies. I’m really glad that we’ve pushed Bootle to the end and they’re deserving winners.”
This was FC United’s second season in the NWWRFL since being promoted as Champions of the GMWFL in 2014/15 and Podmore was confident that there was plenty more to come from his side; “I think next season, we need to have a good pre-season, I’ve not worked with them for a pre-season yet, and obviously we will strengthen I’ve got some people lined up coming in. Then, hopefully next year it will be our year and we can realise our potential. If we can go up we know we can compete at the top of the league.”
Podmore’s plans were only part of the overall vision for the club as he outlined their long term strategy; “We want to get promoted and then we want to re-introduce a development squad. Until we get promoted we can’t really introduce a team in the Greater Manchester Women’s League. Then we can have two teams and a real thriving club.”
Asked about the interest in the women’s game, with FC United being one of the women’s grassroots games best supported club, Podmore was positive about the long term prospects; “I think it’s great that people are raising awareness of the women’s game. Anyone who watched our game tonight, it was a cracking game to watch. The game is only growing in England and hopefully FC United can help carry that brand through the leagues.”
FC United concluded their season with a 1-1 draw away to Warrington Wolverines who lead through Wendy Booth before Beth Tattersall levelled before half time. Elsewhere Merseyrail Bootle secured the title with a 7-0 win over bottom club Liverpool City Community Ladies.
In the Premier Division, a poor weekend for City of Manchester was confirmed with a 6-3 defeat away to MSB Woolton which confirming their relegation to the First Division. Meanwhile Manchester Stingers concluded their 8th game in 4 weeks with a 2-0 home defeat to an impressive Blackburn Communty side.
FC United team: Amy Gillingham, Fran Davies, Morgan McWhirter, Adora Yau, Olivia Greenhalgh, Jess McCarrick, Beth Tattersall, Kirsty Chambers, Chloe Wild, Jess Battle, Shellby Wolstencroft
Subs: Abbie Carrington, Mia Holden, Amy Vyas, Jade Parker, Allisha Marsh.
Goalscorers: Kirsty Chambers (2), Jade Parker (3)
City of Manchester team: Jo Lawrence, Faye Dunlop, Jodie Hancock, Emily Croasdale, Claire Young, Pheonix Chow, Aisha Mundell, Natasha Herity, Rachel Dunlop, Vicky Lomas, Natalie Robinson
Subs: Siobhan Hilditch, Fionnulla Andrew, Jennifer Mutch, Jennifer Ritson, Amy Anning
Goalscorer: Vicky Lomas
Header Photo Credit: Mark Lee