Carlisle United Ladies booked into the Third Qualifying Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup on Sunday afternoon with a comprehensive victory at Cramlington United.
The Lady Cumbrians had progressed to the Second Qualifying Round with a good win over North East Regional League Premier Division outfit Wallsend BC Ladies to open their season. Jess Hawkins had opened the scoring on 26 minutes in that match with Kerri Mallinson doubling the advantage quarter of an hour later.
The response was swift from the higher-ranked Wallsend side who pulled back to within one just before the interval but the break gave Tracy Gannon’s side time to regroup and United came out of the blocks quickly in the second half.
The two goal advantage was restored just six minutes after the restart as Gillian McGimpsey, who would share the Player of the Match award with Lauren Ullyart, slotted home a Carly Stevenson cross with that goal enough to see the Lady Cumbrians safely into the next round.
Gannon made just two changes for the trip to Cramlington United with Development squad graduate Bea Barber handed her first team debut whilst Carly Stevenson was brought into the starting eleven after coming off the bench in the First Qualifying Round victory. A first team debut would later follow for Sophie Mason as she was introduced in the second half.
United started the game brightly and the deadlock was broken after just nine minutes as Kerri Mallinson met a Gillian McGimpsey cross and hit home a rebound after seeing her initial effort parried by Brooke Hayward in the home nets.
The sides traded efforts as Emma Blenkinship first cut in from the right to feed McGimpsey only for the striker to fire high of the mark, before Donna Auld advanced down the middle for Cramlington on the quarter hour mark. Auld couldn’t get the power on her shot, however, leaving Lauren Ullyart in the United nets to collect easily and from there the visitors began to take control of the half.
Barber was unlucky to see her 24th minute effort just wide of the mark after chipping Hayward following a good ball over the top. Two goals in four minutes from McGimpsey then put the Lady Cumbrians into the driving seat as the striker first broke down the right and fired home from distance before showing she’s equally adept at close range, turning home in a packed area after Melissa Mallin had directed a 29th minute corner goalwards.
Amy Hunter was next to test Hayward but pulled an excellent diving save out of the Cramlington ‘keeper as her effort from outside the area curled towards the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
This was in the 31st minute and three minutes later the hosts almost got themselves back into the contest as a well taken free kick was directed into the box from the right. Ullyart did well to connect with the ball to parry it before Stacey Harkness mopped up at the far post to clear the danger.
A half time downpour soaked the playing surface and Cramlington came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, looking to take advantage of this leveller. Rachel Best broke away from her marker in the 54th minute but couldn’t beat Ullyart and from there, just as they had in the first half, United began to assert control. Mallinson was well placed to add the fourth on the hour after advancing but took too long over her shot and was pressured into firing wide of the mark.
This was just a precursor, however, to a devastating five minute spell which saw United double their lead to six. The first of the goal rush came through Carly Stevenson who, having done good work in the middle of the park for much of the first hour, got her name on the scoresheet drilling home from the edge of the area.
Mallinson then completed her hat-trick with two in the space of four minutes, first breaking through to fire home from close range before converting from the edge of the area into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Far from defeated just yet though Cramlington came back at United and got their deserved consolation on 69 minutes as the ball was hit into the back of the net after Ullyart did well to parry an initial effort. The hosts were enjoying a purple patch but United had fresh legs to call on and, with her job done for the afternoon, Mallinson was withdrawn by Gannon who introduced Mason to the action.
This allowed United to weather the storm and eight minutes from time Emma Blenkinship was unlucky not to add her name to the scoresheet, rattling the crossbar from close range after outpacing her defender. The winger would have a penalty appeal turned down before the coup de grace was delivered in the 85th minute by McGimpsey, who completed her hat-trick striking the ball under Hayward for United’s seventh of the afternoon.
Best tried one last forray into the United half for the hosts as the clock wound down but could only fire wide from range leaving the final whistle to blow and book Gannon’s team into a Third Qualifying Round tie at Newcastle United Women on Sunday 8th October.
Ahead of then United will get their league campaign underway this Sunday afternoon with a trip to Workington Reds Ladies in a 2pm kick-off.
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