End of season update from the Ladies teamAfter suffering the loss of their kit, equipment and training facilities during the December floods, United returned to action at the end of January looking to gain momentum to push on into the second half of the season.
Despite further weather disruption to the fixture list making these efforts difficult, Tracy Gannon’s side were still able to progress with a positive 4-1 win at Haslingden to start the new year. Defeat at Leigh RMI followed but the team would then put in arguably their best performance of the season with the trip to title favourites Preston North End Women Development.
Hosts Preston had won eleven of their twelve league fixtures going into the game against United, but it was Tracy Gannon’s side who belied their league position to take an early lead as Lorrena Walker broke and slotted cooly past the North End goalkeeper. It was a youthful United side with Erin Marley handed her first start following a number of strong appearances off the bench and Clare Almond also making her first league start for the club partnering Jess Hawkins in the middle of the pitch.
North End asserted their title credentials after the break and soon restored parity from the penalty spot, but it would be another of United’s young guns who would have the biggest influence in the outcome of the match. The introduction of Chelsea Nevison gave the visitors a renewed energy and it was Nevison herself who secured all three points, firing home from the edge of the area to hand United their best result of the season.
The weather meant it would be another fortnight before United were next in action, this time with a long trip to Stockport for a double-header of fixtures enforced by the backlog created over the preceding months. The Lady Cumbrians came away from the afternoon with a creditable pair of 1-1 draws after two tough games.
Chelsie Browbank opened the day’s scoring on the Stockport Sports Village 3G surface before the hosts restored parity to split the points in the first of the afternoon’s matches. The second game of the day was a reversal of the first, with Stockport taking the lead and United coming from behind to earn their draw through an excellent long-range effort from Captain Sharina Robinson.
Tracy Gannon’s side made it four games unbeaten the following weekend and booked themselves a second successive Women’s County Cup Final berth with victory over Kendal Town Ladies at Creighton. The prolific Browbank was again on the scoresheet with Walker adding the second in a 2-0 victory.
The Easter Sunday visit of Bury Ladies brought no goals for either side, a third draw in as many league games for United, but the visit of Middleton Athletic to kick-start April saw the exact opposite with the nets rippling twelve times across a double-header of action.
At the end of the pair of games it was honours even, with Athletic taking the first of the day’s games 4-2 before United responded excellently to reverse the scoreline in the second game of the afternoon. Philippa Harmison and Clare Almond were on target for United in the early game with Cally Martin supporting a Gillian McGimpsey hat-trick in the second.
It was complete role-reversal for McGimpsey the following weekend, however, with United’s hat-trick hero suddenly turning goalkeeper to cover for the injured Clare Edmondson for the trip to title hopefuls CMB Ladies. The Lady Cumbrians fell to a narrow defeat on the day despite taking an early lead through Kate Simpson and putting in a performance reminiscent of their heroics at Preston earlier in the year.
The return fixture the following weekend brought the same scoreline despite another battling performance from United, with Browbank adding another to her tally for the season. The story of the day was once again youth, however, as Megan Paisley put in a Player of the Match performance at the heart of defence in just her second game for the Club.
Keen to convert their good performances into points United made the trip to Bury Ladies brimming with confidence, and this paid dividends straight from kick-off as Robinson hit home a Browbank cross to open the scoring with less than two minutes on the clock. Simpson added a second from close range for her second in just three games before Almond made it three for the visitors. The fourth soon followed and came via McGimpsey who seamlessly completed her transition from stand-in ‘keeper back to full time striker to hand United a 4-1 half time lead. Consolidation was the story of the second half with Gannon’s side taking an excellent three points back north to start a busy last fortnight of the campaign.
A narrow defeat to Kendal Town was followed by another competitive game against Preston North End Women Development, with United unable to complete a double over the Lancashire outfit who clinched the league title with victory at Creighton.
Whilst the Lady Cumbrians were unable to overcome Workington Reds Lades in the Women’s County Cup Final in an unlucky 1-0 defeat at Gillford Park, United did finish the league season on a high against the same opponents. Sharina Robinson, Stacey Harkness and Gillian McGimpsey were all on target for Gannon’s side in a result which saw the team meet both of their goals for the season with a seventh place finish and higher points tally than last season.
United Ladies would like to thank all those who have supported the team both at matches and through sponsorship this season. A special thanks in particular to CUSC London Branch, Alan Irving, System People and Jamie Grubb for their home match sponsorships and all the below supporters of this season’s Player Sponsorship scheme. If you’d like more information on sponsoring the Lady Cumbrians next season please get in contact with them via Twitter, @CUFCLADIES, or Facebook where you can also keep right up to date with the team’s results and news.
End of season award winners
Managers Player - Emma Blenkinship
Players Player - Gillian McGimpsey
League Man of Match Player - Chelsie Browbank
Supporters Player of the Season - Clare Almond
Tracy Gannon (manager) - sponsored by Ian Jardine
Jordan Carrigan (coach) - sponsored by CUSC London Branch
Sharina Robinson - sponsored by Ali & Helen Ross
Clare Edmondson - sponsored by Simon Clarkson
Rebecca Adam - sponsored by Jamie Grubb
Emma Blenkinship - sponsored by Route A66 Supporters’ Travel
Sarah Brennan - sponsored by Pawfection Luxury Cattery
Cally Martin - sponsored by Silloth FC
Katie Simpson - sponsored by Whitehaven Sports Centre
Laura Owen - sponsored by Gary Owen
Melissa Mallin - sponsored by Jeff Heron Roofing Contractor
Chelsie Browbank - sponsored by Jamie Grubb
Lorrena Walker - sponsored by Maryport Bodywork
Gillian McGimpsey - sponsored by Telford’s Citroen
All other players are available to sponsor - for more information contact Tracy on 07979 753 040.