An update from the Carlisle United Ladies teamHaving ended 2016 on a high with three wins from their last four matches Carlisle United’s Ladies side carried their good form into the new year, facing the elements as well as their opposition to add a further four points from three games to their league tally.
Following victory over Workington Reds Ladies at Creighton in December, United kicked off the new year with the return encounter and were unlucky not to notch a further three points.
Tracy Gannon’s side carried a 1-0 lead into the interval after Imogen Longcake’s strong delivery was directed home in a busy box but the hosts restored parity after the interval as the Lady Cumbrians tried to push on for a second. United applied more pressure late in the game as they went in search of the winner but settled for a well earned point come the final whistle.
The break enforced by Christmas and New Year had stretched to four weeks, and the weather meant it would be another four weeks before United could get back into action. The task ahead to start February was a difficult trip to top of the table Sir Tom Finney Ladies, who had already notched an impressive 70 goals in just thirteen games coming into the encounter.
On the day, however, United more than matched their in form opponents and it was only a ten minute spell in the second half that ensured of the points for the hosts’ title push. Gannon’s side stated brightly and trailed by one at the interval before Finney confirmed the points mid-way through the second half.
The evergreen Longcake contributed a late consolation for the Lady Cumbrians with goalkeeper Charlotte Cousin picking up the Player of the Match award after an excellent performance against the highest scorers in the division. The game also saw impressive debuts for new signings Ciara Bland, Cait Anderson and Holly Currie who all add strong options for United as the season progresses.
Speaking after the final whistle Gannon was upbeat about her side’s performance, despite the defeat: “Today’s score didn’t anywhere near reflect the game and the effort put in by the girls. We had three new players thrown in at the deep end - the girls took the game to the league leaders and we made them work hard. There’s no denying they’re a good team but my girls let them know they were in a game and left everything on the pitch.”
After the strong showing United were back in action at UCLan Sports Arena the following weekend and were able to carry their momentum forwards into an emphatic display against Preston North End Ladies. Gillian McGimpsey set the Lady Cumbrians on their way to the three points as early as the fourth minute and United held their advantage into the interval.
Gannon’s side started equally quickly in the second half as Longcake was on target at the near post with just two minutes on the clock before McGimpsey added the third, heading home a 53rd minute corner. The coup de grace was delivered by Longcake on 73 minutes as her fine form in front of goal continued to complete the 4-0 victory.
Gannon was equally happy following the second trip to UCLan in as many weeks: “The girls did themselves proud today. They were disciplined and worked hard, finishing as strong as they started. We travelled with a full bench of experienced players which allowed us to make strong changes at key times in the match. This enabled us to keep the pressure on Preston for the full game, giving the girls a well deserved win. Congratulations to Gillian [McGimpsey] on her performance which gave her a well deserved Player of the Match award.”
United Ladies start March by welcoming Preston North End Ladies to Creighton for the return fixture, before making the trip to Kendal Town Ladies as their North West Womens Regional League campaign begins to draw towards a conclusion.
March will also see Gannon’s side play for a third straight appearance in the Final of the Cumberland FA Womens County Cup with the draw for the Semi-Finals set to be made this coming Friday evening, 3 March, from 6pm on BBC Radio Cumbria Sport.
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.