Played 29, won 22 is how the record looks for 2018 as a whole for Carlisle United Ladies as another year of progress for the Lady Cumbrians draws to a close.
After a remarkable run of twelve wins in fourteen games saw United finish the 17/18 season in a record high league position and hoisting a third Women’s County Cup, the start of the 18/19 season has seen the blues pick up where they left off.
Once again the highlight of the year was victory in the Cumberland FA Women’s County Cup Final, a trophy that has been returned to Brunton Park three times in the last four seasons. The journey in the 17/18 competition began back in February as United negotiated a long and tricky trip to Vickerstown Ladies, progressing thanks to a four nil victory.
A six one win in the Semi-Final in April booked the Lady Cumbrians into a fourth successive Final and it took just one goal to decide the showpiece. Stacey Harkness-Grant hit one of the goals of the year in the 40th minute at Brunton Park to deliver a one nil win and the trophy.
Despite not yielding silverware at the end of it the league was where United’s consistency shone through in 2018, however. Having slipped up on the first weekend of the year the first win of 2018 came against Burscough Dynamo Ladies on 14th January.
The early part of the year was characterised by postponements and the blues played just two more league games before April - a six one win at Leigh RMI Ladies and a five one win at Bolton Wanderers Ladies Reserves.
Once April arrived the matches began flowing and so did the points as United started to climb the table. It was 29 days and six league games into the month before a defeat came around, as part of a double-header with Bury FC Women where United lost the first game by the odd goal in five but bounced back in the second to win by the odd goal in three.
The highlight of a packed month came with a seven two win at Morecambe Ladies Reserves, but just as important were a pair of clean sheets as part of three nil wins against Leigh RMI Ladies and at Preston North End Ladies.
May brought a final trio of games with a three one win over Workington Reds Ladies carrying United up to a record high of third in the North West Women’s Regional League Division One North table and despite falling short in their final game of the league season to second-place side Cammell Laird 1907 Ladies, the campaign was capped by the Women’s County Cup success.
The 18/19 season started with a new approach of development and laying foundations for the future following a number of players moving on, starting families or heading off to University over the summer, but has so far proved equally fruitful for the Lady Cumbrians.
Before the start of the campaign Emma Blenkinship was named the new Club Captain with Ciara Bland appointed as her deputy.
United’s journey in the SSE Women’s FA Cup was shorter in 2018 than it had been in 2017 when the blues went one win short of the first round proper, but the season did get underway with victory on the road to Wembley at Workington Reds Ladies before United were knocked out of the competition at the hands of Bishop Auckland Ladies.
North West Women’s Regional League action has taken centre stage since as the campaign got underway with four wins on the spin. A difficult October brought consecutive defeats at high flying Blackpool FC Women and serial challengers Bury FC Women but United have since bounced back with another four consecutive wins to take the team into the Christmas break well placed, third in the Division One North table.
In those ten games the Lady Cumbrians have scored five goals or more an impressive four times. A seven one win over Penwortham Town Ladies was followed by a five nil result at Preston North End Ladies as the highest margins of victory.
All combined that gives United’s Ladies a record off 22 wins, seven defeats and, remarkably, zero draws in 29 competitive games across the calendar year. The first half of the year to May saw 13 wins in 17 games with 49 goals scored and 28 conceded whilst since the start of the new season in August the blues have won nine of 12 games played, scoring 42 and conceding 21 with five clean sheets across the calendar year as a whole.
With a total of 91 goals scored there have been plenty of names on the scoresheets across the year. Leading the way in the scoring charts though is Kerri Mallinson who has plundered 25 goals, followed by Gillian McGimpsey on 15 and Carly Stevenson on ten.
There's no let up in the action as United look ahead into 2019. The first month of the new year will see the blues commence their campaign the league’s Argyle Sports Kit Cup as well as start their defence of the Cumberland FA Women’s County Cup.
United also have twelve league games remaining to complete their 18/19 programme, starting with a trip to second-placed Blackburn Community Women on 6th January. Curzon Ashton FC Women are the first visitors of the new year to Creighton on 13th January.
Ahead of that the Lady Cumbrians are giving blues fans a chance to get their hands on a pair of Jamie Devitt’s signed and match worn boots, which Jamie has kindly donated to United’s Ladies to help with their ongoing fundraising efforts.
A silent auction is currently open and will close at 9pm on Tuesday 1st January 2019. Fans can submit bids for the boots by sending a direct message to the team’s Facebook or Twitter profiles.
United Ladies games are free to watch and all blues fans are welcome to attend. For up to date fixture information and all the latest news from the Lady Cumbrians don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @CUFCLadies.
All at Carlisle United Ladies would like to wish United fans everywhere a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you for your support in 2018!