It has been another highly successful season for Carlisle United Ladies who have recorded their highest ever league finishing position, missing out on the league title and promotion by just three points.
Tracy Gannon’s side won 18 of the 26 games they played in all competitions in 2018/19 and notched a half century of points in the North West Women’s Regional League Division One North, losing just twice in the league en route to a second place finish.
The Lady Cumbrians bagged 85 goals across league and cup fixtures, conceding just 38, with Chelsea Norris picking up the team’s golden boot on 21 goals for the campaign.
The season began as ever in Women’s FA Cup action and after progressing in their opening qualifying round tie at Workington Reds Ladies, United exited the road to Wembley at the hands of Bishop Auckland Ladies who were narrow 2-1 winners at Creighton on the first weekend of September.
The Blues started the league campaign in fine form, scoring 18 goals for reply of just five across their opening four fixtures to pick up maximum points in September. The highlight of that month was a 7-1 win over Penwortham Town Ladies in which Carly Stevenson hit the first of what would be six hat-tricks for the United front-line over the course of the season.
A pair of away games in October would turn out to define Gannon’s side’s campaign with 3-0 defeats on the road at then-top of the table outfit Blackpool FC Women and eventual champions Bury FC Women in the space of a fortnight handing United what would turn out to be their only two losses of the league season.
Bouncing straight back, however, the Lady Cumbrians would go on another four game winning run ahead of the Christmas break with this time 20 goals rippling the nets including hat-tricks for Kerri Mallinson at Crosby Ladies and Norris against Leigh RMI Ladies.
The new year got underway with a tricky trip to a Blackburn Community side who had designs of their own on the league title and it took a single Stacey Harkness-Grant effort to break the deadlock in a close encounter. United would exit the Argyle Sports Cup by the odd goal in seven across 120 minutes against Curzon Ashton Ladies but their resilience shone through with a battling 1-1 draw against Bury to close January.
United also gained a point against the other side that denied them back in October, Blackpool, with goals from Mallinson and Norris in a 2-2 draw at Creighton at the end of February, having warmed up for that tie with a 5-0 drubbing of Didsbury Ladies in opening round Argyle Sports Plate action the week prior.
Involvement in the season’s remaining cups would come to an end on consecutive weekends at the end of March with a narrow defeat by the odd goal in three to Workington Reds Ladies in the semi-final of the Women’s County Cup followed by defeat at Stockport County Ladies Blues in Argyle Sports Plate action, but from there the Lady Cumbrians once again showed their fighting spirit and set off on a winning run which would carry them through to the end of the season.
Leigh RMI Ladies were the victims just a week after the Stockport defeat as United ran riot on the road, firing home twelve goals including six from Millie Barker and a hat-trick from Norris. The Blues avenged their Women’s County Cup defeat with a pair of league victories over Workington before closing the campaign with a 4-0 win on their longest away day of the season at Cammell Laird 1907 Ladies.
That final game decided the destination of the team’s golden boot with a four goal haul for Norris moving her onto 21 goals, ahead of Mallinson on 18 for the season.
The top scorers featured in United’s end of season awards, claiming Players’ Player and Manager’s Player of the Season respectively, whilst Club Captain Emma Blenkinship picked up the League Player of the Season award. The commitment of Chelsie Browbank and Amy Boyd throughout the campaign were recognised, meanwhile, with the pair picking up the Clubman of the Season and Special Recognition awards respectively.
Carlisle United Ladies would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported the team this season, most notably primary sponsors Bendles LLP Solicitors for their continued amazing support as well as fellow sponsors Alan Irving, Carlisle Glass Longhorn, CUSC London Branch, D Marks Carpets, Edith Taylor, Hillhouse Computer Solutions, Joseph Dunn, the Lion and Lamb in Wigton, Route A66 West Cumbria Supporters’ Travel, Simon Clarkson, Stevie Reid & Nicole Parker and System People, as well as every member of the Blue army who has supported and followed the team’s progress this season!
The Lady Cumbrians are welcoming new players in all positions to apply to join the club ahead of the new North West Women’s Regional League season which will get underway in September and also have a range of sponsorship opportunities for local businesses and individuals looking to get involved ahead of the new campaign. For more information on either playing or commercial opportunities please email
Don’t forget in the mean time you can keep up to date with United Ladies by following them on social media, @cufcladies.