Battling performance from Lancaster but MMU too strong

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Lancaster put in a passionateperformance. — Photo by by Elliot Westacott

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Lancaster women’s firsts football team played host to Manchester Metropolitan University on Wednesday in their second northern conference fixture of the season. Lancaster were looking to bounce back from a narrow 3-2 defeat against Liverpool Hope in their first game, whilst MMU were in confident mood following a 10-0 hammering of Keele.

Both sides started the game positively and the early exchanges saw the ball moved around briskly despite the extremely boggy and rutted pitch. MMU seemed to settle in their rhythm quicker than the home side, and their dangerous striker was the first to test McTague in the Lancaster goal with a long range effort that was smartly handled.

Lancaster looked dogged when chasing the game but had to wait until the tenth minute for their first sight of goal, Leahey was gifted an opportunity from a weak MMU goal kick, but could only fire over from a tight angle.

Although Lancaster defended doggedly, the MMU side continued to look threatening; this attacking intent paid off when Smith found space in the area and rifled home a stunning strike. Lancaster’s defence reorganized and deployed Lloyd in the sweeper position to counter the movement of the MMU front two. This allowed Lancaster to break up the play more effectively and the wide players benefitted from seeing more of the ball. Thompson swept down the left wing after 32 minutes, nutmegged her marker and played a tremendous through ball which had just too much pace for her teammates to get on to.

However, immediately following this good work, Lancaster were hit by two goals in as many minutes from Johnson and Reid; the first a rasping strike from 20 yards and the second a crisp volley from a right-wing cross. At 3-0 down Lancaster rallied as the half neared its conclusion; Thompson missing a decent chance after a lung bursting run.

Photo by Elliot Westacott

After some wise words from their coach, Lancaster emerged for the second half looking determined to find a route back into the game. MMU were still dangerous on the counter attack and McTague superbly tipped a long-range strike over the bar; the striker had already wheeled away to celebrate.

That save looked even more crucial with 57 minutes played as Murphy struck back for Lancaster; she picked the ball up on the right wing and with the MMU goalkeeper sneaking off her  line, chipped home a sublime finish from 25 yards. However, Lancaster proved that teams are at their most vulnerable after scoring by promptly conceding just 60 seconds later; a poor clearance allowing an MMU substitute to poke in from close range.

Lancaster continued to attack for the remainder of the tie and commanding defending from Bird and Lloyd kept MMU from adding a fifth. Despite a late barrage MMU held firm to claim a 4-1 victory that their composed possession football merited. Despite the result there is much to be positive about ahead of Lancaster’s next game against Salford. The possession football played will be rewarded on better surfaces, and all of the players showed the required spirit  to pick up some positive results in the rest of the campaign.