Crewe win exciting cup tie
NW Premier League leaders Crewe were the opposition in the First Round of the NWW League Cup competition writes Richard Mallinson.
The draw could not have been worse in that Crewe are the highest ranked team in the competition and they are also the most southerly based team.
United were forced to make several changes from the previous weeks fixture but this didn’t show as United started the brighter of the two sides and had the first real chance of the game on 3 minutes when Philippa Harmison was released by Kerri Mallinson; Harmison’s effort beat the Crewe keeper but unfortunately went just wide.
United had to reshuffle on 5 minutes when Emma Morton was withdrawn through injury and was replaced by Becky Adam.
United continued to press and created opportunities and at the other end of the park made a good job of containing their higher division opponents.
The home side played some nice football but a resilient United battled hard and probably shaded the first half. Luck has not been on United’s side this season and this was again the case on 30 minutes when United cleared a Crewe corner and a speculative shot from 25 yards deflected off a United player, which wrong footed keeper Rosy Ryan, and trickled into the United net.
The remainder of the first half was end to end with United unlucky not to level the scores.
Half Time: Crewe Alexandra Ladies 1 Carlisle United Ladies 0
United came out on top in the second half and played with a dynamic rhythm and enthusiasm. Following a couple of half chances, United were rewarded and levelled the game when Harmison took on two Crewe players before smashing the ball into the top corner from 30 yards.
United thoroughly deserved their equaliser and the gulf of league positions between the sides was certainly not evident. United were dealt a blow on 50 minutes when centre back Gillian McGimpsey was withdrawn with a calf injury.
United continued to battle and sampled a couple of formations as the cup gave the opportunity to experiment. The home side continued to battle and re-took the lead on 65 minutes. Crewe were able to reintroduce further fresh legs and continued to push and they scored a third goal on 85 minutes.
United were unlucky not to pull a goal back through a couple of chances however it was the Premier League side who were to have the final say when a defensive lapse allowed the home side to score a fourth in injury time.
The Crewe staff were very complimentary towards the Carlisle side who they said had improved tenfold since last years’ cup tie.
The final score flattered the home side somewhat and at 1-1 it looked like Carlisle could maybe pull off a first round shock. Unfortunately, losing a couple of players to injury meant that Crewe were able to use their replacements later in the game but Carlisle have a lot to be proud of and they pushed the home side all the way; the game was certainly closer than the scoreline suggests and the home side will be glad to see the back of Carlisle.
United now go into the NW Regional Plate where they have been drawn at home to Leigh RMI; this game will be played on 26 January.
Next week sees United on the road again, this time travelling to face Stockport County. United will be looking for revenge following the opening day defeat at Creighton.
United: Ryan, Smith, Owen, Mallin, McGimpsey (Ullyart), Waller, Morton (Adam), Mallinson, Robinson, White, Harmison.