Review: FA Cup Second Round

The second round of the Women’s FA Cup was hit with a spate of postponements but there was still plenty of magical stories for us to enjoy.

The biggest tie being played was between Yeovil Town and Southampton FC at the Avenue Stadium in Dorcester. The sides took on each other only sevens days prior in the National League Cup and on that day Marieanne Spacey-Cale‘s side came away with a 2-1 win after extra time.

It took until the 62nd minute for the deadlock to be broken when Alisha Ware finished well when one on one against the Yeovil keeper.

Yeovil’s talismanic captain, Annie Heatherson, knocked it passed the right-back and let loose a superb left-footed shot to take the tie to extra time. 

After a tight thirty minutes, it was settled on penalties when the visitors converted all five of their penalties through Shannon Albuery, Shannon Sievwright, Rachel Panting, Ella Morris and Caitlin Morris. Your heart goes out to Alexis Bussell who was the only player unable to convert her spot-kick.

Saints have already advanced further than last season and will go into the draw feeling like they can beat anyone.

Saints’ neighbours, Southampton Women, also upset the odds with a own dramatic victory against MK Dons on penalties.

The home side went into the last minute of normal time needing to find an equaliser after MK Dons were ahead by a single goal. Step up, Lauren Cheshire. The home side’s skipper provided a special free-kick goal from 35 yards to send the game into extra time and eventually penalities. Former WSL striker, Erin Bloomfield scored the winner and sparked wild celebrations among the home team and their fans.

Photo: @Bilcliff_Photos

Ipswich Town put in a ruthless 6-0 victory away to Chichester City saw yet another tier four side topple a tier three opponent. Their first goal came in the ninth minute when Lindsey Cooper headed in Paige Peake’s corner. Peake converted the Tractor Girl’s second from the penalty spot. Further first half goals from Natasha Thomas and Amanda Crump all but killed the tie off by half time.

Chichester City improved in the second half but were unable to find that goal which might have sparked an unlikely come back. Sophie Peskett scored in the 54th minute and Thomas grabbed her second in the final minutes of the game. Chichester will be disappointed with the result but their boss, Sadie Blakely will know that her side’s main aim this season is to retain their place in the third tier next season.

Photo: @Sheena Booker

Seven places beneath Ipswich Town in the National League South East Division One sit Actonians with on three wins in their eight game so far this season. They pulled off the biggest shock of the round with a 3-1 win against National League South table toppers, Crawley Wasps. This result will be a big disappointment for Crawley Wasps as Paul Walker’s side will have been seeking to equal, if not emulate, last year’s fourth round tie against Arsenal.

While Watford men’s side were busy sacking Quique Sanchez Flores their women’s side were seeing off an every improving Keynsham Town side 3-0. The first goal of the game came in the 63rd minute when Emma Beckett whipped the ball into the box and Katie O’Leary flicked it off the back of her head, into the top corner. The lead was doubled two minutes when Andrea Carid finished after good work from O’Leary. While the win was secured by substitute, Alysha Stojko-Down who beat the defender and finished well from 20 yards out!

Photo: @AW_images

There was late drama when local rivals Derby County entertained Nottingham Forest. The visitors took the lead through Olivia Cook in what was her first goal for the club. They doubled their lead when Lyndsey Harkin picked up the ball on the half-way line and carried it through the Derby half before unleashing a shot from 30 yards out which floatsed over the keepers head and under the cross bar.

Derby pulled one back in the 26th minute to keep themselves in the game when Amy Sims smashed in an effort from just inside the box. Four minutes into the second half, Ellie Gilliatt releases Sophie Domingo and she chips the on-rushing Aguirre to draw the Ewe Rams level. Game on! 

It appeared that the game was going to extra time until a quick throw-in from Sophie Tudor finds Precious Hamilton in the Derby third, she cuts back inside in the box before curling an effort over the keeper and into the bottom right of goal. That goal understandably sparked huge celebrations for Forest and they were able to see out the game and take their place into the next round.

Photo: @NFFCWomen

Despite only being able to field then players due to injuries and illness, Hounslow went into the break in their game against Cardiff City only a goal down. The visitors were able to kill off any hopes of an upset with five second half goals.

It was a tight game between Wolves and AFC Fylde. A single goal from Emily Hollinshead was enough to give Conrad Prendergast‘s side the win and avoid a cup upset against the leaders of the National League Midlands Divison One. After the game Prendergast said “Great feeling to be in the Hat for the FA Cup 3rd round. Even better feeling to watch us play so well today. Our performance levels and quality of the players was terrific.

Like many of other third tier sides today, Gillingham suffered a defeat to fourth tier opposition in the form of Billericay Town. Their winner came when Therese Addison dispossed the defender and managed to put the ball over the keeper. They visitors will have been disappointed to conceed such a preventable goal.

Another fourth tier side who overcame fourth tier opposition was Barnsley, they dumped local rivals Sheffield FC with a comfortable 4-0 win at the Oakweel Academy. Barnsley sit top of the National League Northern Division One, while Sheffield are only off the bottom of the National League North on goal difference so this result might not have been a surprise to many.

The opening goal came after Sophie Bell’s cross found Laura Bartup who and headed in. Kath Smith doubled the lead from the penalty spot. It took until the 80th minute before Barnsley could pick up their third goal and what was Bartup’s second of the match. Bartup blocked the keepers’ attempted clearance and the ball trickled into the net. Sheffield’s disappointment was compounded when good work from Lissa Woodhouse allowed Bartup to pick up her hat-trick.

Unlike the Match of the Day running order, the final game of the day was possibly the most exciting and definitely the best value for money for the spectators. Oxford United took on Plymouth Argyle at Court Place Farm. Nine points separate the sides in the National League South, Argyle sitting third while Oxford occupy sixth place.

Plymouth’s Helen Bleazard broke the deadlock on 14 minutes when her looping free-kick beat Paris Sercombe in the Oxford goal. Then Natasha Knapman doubled the visitors lead with a close range header.

Georgia Timms gave Liam Gilbert’s side hope of a comeback in the 71st minute when she was able to score after a goalmouth scramble. A goal from Gemma Sims brought the match level and that is how it finished after 90 minutes.

A second for Sims gave Oxford the lead for the first time in the game but that advantage was cancelled out by Bleazard’s long range strike to make it 3-3.

As the game entered the 119th minute Argyle snatch the win thanks to a goal from Kayley Lane. A result which was very harsh on Oxford who will have felt that they could have come out of this game deserving a win.

As much as it was disappointing to have games cancelled, we have all this to look forward to next weekend when the postponed ties will be replayed.

Stuart Barker
hellosince71@gmail.com