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Women's Team Season Review 2016/17

Women's Team Season Review 2016/17

Sunday’s 6-4 Argyle Cup final win over Bury Ladies FC capped off what has been a superb fifth season since the formation of the women’s team back in 2012. In a campaign where Luke Podmore took over the reins from long standing manager Lee Sutton midway through the season, the Reds won both the Argyle Cup and the Manchester FA Women’s Cup in superb style to go along with their runners up finish in the North West Women’s Regional League Division 1 South. Not to mention a Women’s FA Cup debut too.

September – After a 2nd place finish in the league in the 2015/16 season along with five wins from six pre-season games, the Reds went into the new campaign in pretty good stead recording a comfortable opening day Broadhurst Park (3G) win over Warrington Wolverines. Olivia Gannon’s close range effort was the first strike of the new season followed swiftly by goals for Chambers and Carrington giving Lee Sutton’s side the perfect start to the season with a 3-0 win. Back to back wins on Merseyside over Liverpool City Ladies Community FC and Liverpool Marshall Feds Reserves in the space of the next seven days gave the Reds the perfect start to the season with three wins from three. They continued the formidable form into the club’s first ever Women’s FA Cup tie, a second round qualifying tie to be exact, beating Bolton Wanderers LFC 2-1 after extra time, on the 3G at Broadhurst Park under the September sunshine. The result courtesy of a superb volley from midfielder Olivia Greenhalgh before a 116th minute winner from Olivia Gannon. FC ended the month top of the league after putting six past Northwich Vixens the following week.

October – After a perfect first month of the season, the Reds kick-started October with a 3-2 derby win at Altrincham LFC. A goal on debut for Nicole Hatcliffe kept up the 100% record ahead of the Women’s FA Cup trip to Teeside the week after as we were drawn at Norton & Stockton Ancients in the Third Qualifying Round. Unfortunately the Reds bowed out of the cup despite a second half Chambers strike losing 2-1 on the day. A disappointing draw at Curzon Ashton in the league followed a week later before the Reds put things right in Lee Sutton’s final game in charge after a four and a half year reign as manager. A 5-1 Argyle Cup 1st Round in over Warrington Wolverines ensured Sutton got the perfect send off with most noticeably a Kirsty Chambers hatrick with Beth Tattersall also scoring on her return from a long term injury. The first game of Jay Astley’s temporary reign as manager saw FC pick up a 2-0 win at Egerton to end the action-packed month.

November – Cancellations/fixture reversals due to the frantic winter weather meant a less hectic month for the squad as Jay Astley continued his interim term in charge with three wins from three in the penultimate month of the year. After putting six past Ellesmere Port Town, the Reds started their Manchester FA Women’s Cup campaign comfortably beating Didsbury LFC 11-0, a game reversed to a home fixture due to the toll of the winter conditions. Shelby Wolstencroft grabbed four with Jade Parker getting a hatrick of her own on a wet afternoon in Moston. FC then recorded a 13-0 win over Liverpool City Ladies Community FC in the league to take the months tally to thirty scored conceding just the one in only three games.

December – With the Christmas break fast approaching, the girls eased past Liverpool Marshall Feds Reserves 4-0 on another chilly afternoon at Broadhurst. This was followed a week later by a huge top of the table clash with Merseyrail Bootle, a game in which the Reds unfortunately came out second best in losing 5-1 to the eventual champions. With the loss being Jay Astley’s final game of his short interim spell, former Preston North End Women manager Luke Podmore took over on a long term basis. His reign got off to the perfect start too with a 2-0 win at Northwich Vixens, Chelsea Patient heading home the first goal of the new era with Beth Tattersall adding a late second in the final game before the Winter break.

January – Fresh from the break the Reds pushed the accelerator and began flying under new manger Luke Podmore. Prolific striker Jess Battle was brought in from Fylde Ladies FC becoming Podmore’s first major signing. The Reds started 2017 with a 1-0 derby win over Altrincham LFC courtesy of a 2nd half Jess McCarrick strike before knocking Blackpool LFC out of the Argyle Cup on their home ground with a comprehensive 4-1 win with Battle netting on her FC debut. A week later, the striker grabbed her first FC hat-trick in a feisty 6-1 win at Stockport County Blues.

February – As the squad continued to adapt to Podmore’s regime heading into February, the impressive results continued to flow. A superb 8-0 win at Broadhurst Park (3G) over Egerton LFC early in the month was the Women’s team’s 100th game since its establishment back in 2012. Captain Chambers fittingly netted her 98th, 99th, 100th and 101st goals for the club in the match. The team took the momentum into two successive quarter finals first beating eventual NWWRL Division 1 North champions Sir Tom Finney LFC 3-2 away from home in the Argyle Cup with another Jess Battle hat-trick before putting Leigh RMI to the sword in the corresponding round of the Manchester FA Women’s Cup with another Chambers hat-trick beating the hosts 7-1. The win didn’t just book our place in the last four of the competition, due to the withdrawal of our semi final opponents, Middleton Athletic LFC; we were awarded a bye into the 2017 Manchester FA Women’s Cup final which would be played at Brookburn Road in late April.

March – Despite the lack of fixtures, March possessed some huge games in terms of how the season would come to a close. First up, the Reds edged past Wigan Athletic LFC in an entertaining Argyle Cup Semi-Final at Broadhurst Park (3G) by two goals to one. Chloe Wild’s 89th minute strike sent us to the May final after Fran Davies had earlier levelled with the visitors taking a very early lead. One week on and a 9-0 win over Moston Brook LFC in a mid-season friendly at Broadhurst Park (3G) set us up nicely for the season’s run in. The second top of the table clash of the season with Merseyrail Bootle brought an end to March with the Reds in their all Blue change-strip losing 1-0 to the hosts despite being arguably the much better team on the day.

April – The penultimate month of the season really brought the best of the goal scoring form out of the Reds for 2016/17. After starting with a 4-0 win at Ellesmere Port Town LFC, they put twelve past Stockport County Blues and eleven past Curzon Ashton LFC either side of a double header with Chorltonians LFC. The away fixture saw new signing Jade Boulton make her first FC appearance off the bench in a 4-2 win before the Reds comfortably beat them 8-0 in the retuen fixture just four days later thanks to four each from Jade Parker and Jess Battle to maintain the title challenge. The end of April saw the first of the season’s silverware, lifted by the Reds under the Brookburn Road floodlights. This after a superb 5-1 win over City of Manchester LFC to pick up the 2017 Manchester FA Women’s Cup – the first County Cup in the club’s history! Goals on the night courtesy of two brilliant strikes from Kirsty Chambers and a Man of the Match winning hat-trick from Jade Parker as part of a top notch all round performance. The decorative month came to a close with a 1-1 draw at Warrington Wolverines in our final league game of the season. The draw ensured we finished 2nd in the NWWRL Division 1 South for the 2016/17 season behind Merseyrail Bootle.

May – The final month of the season, so far, has only seen the one game but with it has brought a trophy. A 6-4 win over Bury Ladies FC at the Delta Taxis Stadium in the Argyle Cup final on Sunday with goals from Kirsty Chambers (2), Shelby Wolstencroft (2), Jess Battle and Chloe Wild meant that we are the 2017 Argyle Cup Champions! Double Champions for the season and what a season it has been!

There is a chance to watch the Double winners for one last time this season as we host the British Police Ladies team at Broadhurst Park on the pitch in a post-season friendly, this coming Saturday – 2pm KO! With it being our last game of the 2016/17 season and both pieces of silverware on show, why not get yourself down to our football ground!

By Mikey Partington

First Posted ~ 21:11 Thu 18 May 2017
News ID ~ 7460
Last Updated ~ 20:58 Sun 21 May 2017