United Ladies notch first win of seasonAfter a tough start to the season United Ladies found their form in front on goal with their trip to Academy Juniors, hitting home eight for reply of just one to climb to sixth in the table.
The Lady Cumbrians started the season against Cumbrian rivals Kendal Town Ladies and notched the first point for their league tally with a two all draw. They had to do it the hard way as well, battling back from two nil down with 20 minutes to go, showing real character at the beginning of the campaign.
A Stacey Harkness free kick was United’s first goal of the season with Imogen Longcake restoring parity and United having a chance to win the game as the clock wound down.
Longcake is one of a number of young graduates into the United first team this season. New ‘keeper Charlotte Cousin replaces the retiring Clare Edmondson whilst Eve Driver and Chelsea Nevison join Longcake in adding firepower to the squad going forwards.
The young Lady Cumbrians side suffered their first setback of the season in their first away game at Penrith, dropping to a four goal defeat despite an excellent performance in particular from Cousin.
A spirited second half fightback was not enough to prevent defeat by the same number at Bury Girls & Ladies but the learning from these two fixtures set United up well for their fourth league game of the season on the road at Bolton-based Academy Juniors.
It was the perfect start for Tracy Gannon’s side as Longcake fired home after eight minutes, and the lead was two just three minutes later as Driver chipped the ball over the top to the advancing Emma Blenkinship who made no mistake finding the back of the net from close range.
United were looking dangerous on every attack with the double threat of Longcake and Blenkinship causing the home defence all sorts of problems. Twice in the space of four minutes mid-way through the half the former was denied in a one-on-one situation with the latter unable to direct the parried efforts home.
The United lead did become three in the middle of this spell, however, as Captain Sharina Robinson tried her luck from range and found the back of the net for her first of the season.
Three-nil was the interval advantage but this became four just two minutes after the restart as Longcake found the target from the edge of the area. She could have had her hat-trick in the 50th minute, doing well under pressure to swivel and get her shot away only to see it drift just high of the goal.
The hosts were playing with the advantage of a gusting wind in the second half and did get one back on 51 minutes as a speculative effort was caught and sailed over the head of Cousin in the United nets.
This was a mere interlude to the accomplished United attacking performance, however, and after Blenkinship had put her diving header from a Georgia Smethurst delivery just wide on the hour mark, new signing Laura Webster was unlucky not to cap her debut with a goal, narrowly unable to find the target from range.
There was something of an inevitability about the fifth when it came in the 66th minute as Robinson placed her second of the game into the top right corner with aplomb. With a brief first half downpour now a distant memory this goal opened the floodgates for United and having been central to much of the offensive prowess in the second half Smethurst got her name on the scoresheet in the 71st minute with a well hit effort from a central position. Her tally was two just three minutes later as the ball was taken first time and nestled in the back of the net.
Seven goals with fifteen minutes to go but United weren’t satisfied just yet. Robinson was next to try for her hat-trick as she fired in from the left only to see her effort tipped wide by the fingertips of the busy Academy Juniors ‘keeper.
Smethurst was unable to quite find the accuracy she had with her first two goals in the 81st minute as the ball skimmed the top of the bar and away to safety, but having been frustrated for much of the afternoon following her early goal it was Blenkinship who delivered the coup de grace with a cool finish seven minutes from time to take the United tally to eight.
Manager Tracy Gannon reflected on the performance following the final whistle: “It’s always good to get the first win under the belt but what was more pleasing was the girls’ performance and the goals coming from defensive, midfield and forward units. With tough challenges still ahead its important to stick to our goals and continue to play attractive football which will hopefully bring the points.”
United Ladies are grateful for the continued support of Alan Irving who was match sponsor for the opening day visit of Kendal to Creighton.
The Lady Cumbrians are looking for sponsors for the 16/17 season with a range of match, player and match ball packages available to suit all budgets. For more information please email email@example.com.
Don’t forget that you can keep right up to date with the team’s latest news by following them on Twitter, @CUFCLADIES, and liking them on Facebook, /CarlisleUnitedLadiesFC.