Back in October, Reds Ladies recorded a record 8-1 league win over United Ladies and went into the return at Creighton as strong favourites to complete a league double.
But the Cumbrian derby saw struggling Carlisle put up a brave fight in the Division One North fixture and Reds had to show great patience before grabbing a late winner.
They were camped in Carlisle’s half of the field for the opening half hour but failed to make the break through with several near misses the best they could muster.
Reds’ ‘keeper, Laura Miller, enjoyed a trouble free afternoon and was rarely tested by the Blues attack.
The home side, who have endured their toughest season in the league, were determined to make Reds work for the points and a goalless draw looked the most likely outcome with clear cut chances few and far between.
Then, in the eightieth minute, a stray back pass was collected by the United ‘keeper and referee Christian Backhouse awarded Reds an indirect free kick inside the area. Holly Redmond nudged the ball forward and Linzi Donaldson (inset) hammered home the winner from fifteen yards.
The three important points consolidated 5th position in the table but their two remaining league games will determine where they finish. They have to travel to Preston North End (4th) and Penrith (6th) so a tough couple of games in prospect.
Looking ahead to Reds’ remaining matches, manager Paul Mackenzie said, “There’s six points still up for grabs, and we are capable of getting them, but our decision making will have to be better in the final third than it was against Carlisle if we are to win our last two games.”