All square in exciting game
An exciting game at Creighton finished all square with both teams scoring in added time to share the spoils, Richard Mallinson writes.
United lined up with a 4-4-2 formation and started brightly creating chances in the opening quarter of an hour through Chelsie Browbank and Phillipa Harmison.
The visitors grew into the game and looked strong from set pieces which caused the United defence some problems.
Leigh took the lead on the half hour when a defensive error was punished as the forward smashed past stand in keeper Rosy Ryan.
Leigh continued to press and were unable to increase their advantage as the resilient Ryan made two excellent saves.
United changed to a 4-5-1 formation which steadied the ship and the United wingers worked hard to create openings. Their efforts were rewarded on 40 minutes when a defence splitting through-ball from Kerri Mallinson released Browbank who finished smartly from 15 yards.
Half Time: Carlisle United Ladies 1 - 1 Leigh RMI Ladies
The second half began and the visitors continued to look strong from set pieces. United countered this with their swift counter attacking play creating openings but they were unable to capitalise.
The visitors took the lead on 55 minutes when their captain headed in from a corner with a powerful header which gave the United keeper no chance.
Going behind seemed to rejuvenate Carlisle who continued to work tirelessly. The introduction of Kathryn Kelly on 60 minutes provided an extra injection of pace and it was Kelly who levelled on 65 minutes when she latched onto a through-ball, cut inside and smashed the ball into the Leigh net from 20 yards.
At this stage there looked like there was only going to be one winner as United introduced further fresh legs and continued to test the visiting defence.
United were rocked in the 90th minute when a Leigh corner was half cleared and the ball bounced up and hit captain Sharina Robinson’s hand; the referee pointed to the spot. Keeper Ryan got a hand to the resultant spot kick however the ball trickled into the net giving the visitors the lead in stoppage time.
The home side dug in despite the dubious penalty and continued to work hard just as they had all afternoon; some battling play from Robinson, Mallinson and Kelly resulted in the ball being threaded through to top scorer Philippa Harmison who took her player on and finished from the edge of the box in the 93rd minute.
From the kick off, United regained the ball and despite her persistence Mallinson was unable to win the game for United thanks to a last gasp tackle from a Leigh defender.
An exciting game saw United work for the whole game and gain a well deserved point. After 8 games, United still sit in Sixth position; this has exceeded the expectations set at the beginning of the season.
The attitude and work ethic of the group is growing and new players are being developed. Next week, United travel to in form Manchester City which will prove to be another stern test.
United: Ryan, Smith (Waller), Grieve (Martin), Mallin, Adam, Browbank, Robinson, Mallinson, Kinsella (Kelly), McGimpsey, Harmison.
Many thanks to the match sponsor System People Limited.
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