Penrith AFC Ladies seriously dented FC United’s title ambitions as well as boosting their own survival hopes after securing an unlikely point in Sundays double header at FC United.
The double header format sees 2 shortened (30 mins each way) matches played on the same afternoon with a short break in between.
So, on Easter Sunday Penrith set out to Manchester with a 15 player squad to face title favourites FC United twice. In baking temperatures, the squad knew they had a long afternoon ahead.
Penrith AFC Ladies 1-6 FC United
Penrith shocked FC United by taking an early lead inside 45 seconds. Striker Lily Gaulton out muscled the United defender and fired past the advancing keeper.
This only seemed to spur United into action. They then piled on the pressure. Sharp passing and interplay tormented the Penrith defence. This lead to attack after attack and, despite Penrith’s best efforts including a string of great save from keeper Hope Lawson , they trailed 1-4 at the break.
Penrith coped a little better in the 2nd half however United extended their lead eventually running out comfortable 1-6 victors.
Penrith : Lawson, Johnston(Falder), Alderson, Han Fawkes, McCormick, Hea Fawkes, Gaulton(English), Buchanan(Jackson), Robinson, Hopton, Campbell
FC United 1-1 Penrith AFC Ladies
With heavy legs Penrith approached this game with a degree of trepidation. Players had already expended a significant amount of energy in the opening game.
FC United were again dominating possession however Penrith had adjusted their formation to tighten up the midfield area.
Once again it was Penrith who struck first. On 9 mins Striker Jodie English caused confusion in the FC united defence and Sharina Robinson burst through from midfield to fire past the advancing keeper.
FC United again attempted to respond however Penrith remained more organised and compact this time, and begun to soak up the pressure. Influential keeper Michelle Jones helped marshal the Penrith defence as well as making several important saves.
FC United did eventually equalise just before the half time break after their striker created herself some space in the area and fired low into the net.
Into the 2nd half FC United piled on the pressure as they sought the vital 3 points they required for their title challenge. Wave after wave of attacks came on the Penrith goal but Penrith remained disciplined and soaked up the pressure. As the clock ticked FC United’s frustration was building as time and again their attacking play came to nothing.
In the closing stages Penrith were literally “dead on their feet” with several players suffering with cramp as they endured a further 7 minutes of stoppage time. Somehow, against the odds, they hung on for the most unlikely of draws and a hard earned point that could turn out to be so vital to their survival hopes.
Penrith : Jones, Alderson, Han Fawkes (Falder), Jackson, McCormick, Hopton (Hea Fawkes), Gaulton, English (Johnston) Buchanan, Campbell.