Three wins from four to end year for United LadiesAfter a battling start to the season which saw United Ladies struggle to convert good performances into points, the Lady Cumbrians hit a purple patch to end the year with three wins from their last four games.
Fresh from a first win of the season at Academy Juniors at the end of September, United welcomed local rivals Penrith AFC Ladies to Creighton in their first game of October. Following a tough trip to Frenchfields at the start of the season Tracy Gannon’s side put in an excellent performance and were unlucky not to claim something from the game as the visitors ran out to a 2-1 victory.
Penrith took an interval advantage but United came out firing in the second half and got back on terms as talented young striker Imogen Longcake headed home an Emma Blenkinship cross at the near post. Penrith regained the lead from short range late in the game leaving the hosts without time to find a response for a share of the points.
Full of confidence following the performance, United welcomed Academy Juniors in the opening round of the Argyle Sports Kit Cup and progressed in emphatic fashion. An eight minute Blenkinship hat-trick set the tone for the match and the United lead was four when Erin Marley netted her first ever senior goal on 19 minutes before completing her brace just six minutes later.
The debut goal from Marley was matched by Eve Driver within five minutes and Longcake kept her scoring run alive with a five minute brace before Captain Sharina Robinson got in on the action ahead of the interval.
Chelsea Nevison took United's tally into double figures on 58 minutes and Robinson and Nevison both added their second goals either side of a Gillian McGimpsey strike. Driver then competed her brace in the 77th minute before Clare Almond and Cally Martin got their names on the scoresheet to add further gloss as the clock wound down.
Speaking after the game, winger Emma Blenkinship said: “It was an amazing feeling to get my first hat-trick for the club, especially as I rarely make it onto the scoresheet. To get a hat-trick in eight minutes is something I never thought I would be able to do but gives me a massive confidence boost. It was a great team effort on Sunday and I’m proud of the team for the performance. Getting the win is just what we needed to boost confidence throughout the team and get that good positive atmosphere going before a game and after in the changing rooms!”
Defeat to free-scoring Sir Tom Finney Ladies would follow a fortnight later, but Gannon’s side returned to winning ways the following weekend with an excellent 2-0 victory against top of the table Bury Ladies.
With regular ‘keeper Charlotte Cousin unavailable, it was McGimpsey who wore the number one shirt and the stand-in stopper put in an excellent performance to inspire the United victory. Driver opened the scoring to give the hosts an interval advantage and Longcake doubled the lead in the second half to make sure of the points.
Reacting at the final whistle to what was arguably United’s best display of the season to date, manager Tracy Gannon said: “The girls were outstanding today - it was a real team performance. The work rate was exceptional from everyone from the start of the game to the final whistle. Special praise needs to go to Gillian McGimpsey, who stepped up for the team and donned the goalkeepers gloves which only helped inspire the girls to rally together even more.”
Postponements meant United had to wait almost a month before their next action, but assured a winning end to the year by despatching Workington Reds Ladies 1-0 at Creighton. After a tight encounter against their Cumbrian rivals, Longcake broke the deadlock in the 90th minute by firing home from close range to hand the hosts all three points.
The game saw United’s defence pick up a third clean sheet from their final four games of the year and Longcake’s goal meant she kept alive her run of being on the scoresheet in every game the Lady Cumbrians have scored in this season.
United Ladies are grateful for the continued support of Steven Pattison, CUOSC, Hillhouse Computer Solutions, Carlisle United Supporters’ Club London Branch and Les O’Neill who all sponsored matches during a busy run of five home games.
The New Year brings a return to action after a four week Christmas break with the return trip to Workington Reds Ladies to open January. United continue their Argyle Sports Kit Cup campaign on 22 January with a visit to high-flying Sir Tom Finney Ladies whilst Gannon’s side will enter the Cumberland FA Women’s County Cup in February as they seek a third straight appearance in the final.
United are also looking forward to announcing an exciting new partnership very soon.
The Lady Cumbrians still have a range of match, player and match ball sponsorship packages available for the remainder of the 2016/17 season. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.