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Women's Football News
Radcliffe Olympic produced the result of the round in the F.A.Women's Cup when beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 and defender Sarah Burnham admits there is no pressure on her side when they take on Middlesbrough in the Second Round this Sunday.
The East Midlands League team stunned their opponents, who had been playing Premier League football last season, and Sarah told Women's Soccer Scene: "It was a fantastic team effort, a real team performance. It wasn't an easy game as we were underdogs but we played our best football all season in the first half and maybe that surprised Wolves a bit.
"We led 2-0 at half time but they scored a penalty and we had our backs to the wall in the second half, but we held on and scored the third goal."
It was Sarah who struck the decisive blows in the first half as, despite playing at left back, she scored Radcliffe's first two goals. "I was quite shocked when I scored two goals," smiled Sarah, "but I now have six to my name this season, all from left back - in fact, I'm only one goal behind our leading scorer!
"The first goal came following a goalmouth scramble from a corner, we had two shots blocked on the line and the ball came back to me, it had to go in that time! Both of my goals came in the first fifteen minutes, the second was after another corner had been cleared and Kate Tinsley returned the ball out wide to Shelley Smith, the Wolves defence seemed to go wandering from her cross and I headed it into the top corner of the net."
Now Radcliffe will be attempting to repeat their giant killing act against another former Premier League club as they make the six hour journey to the North East. "I don't think we would have to travel much further, apart from Cornwall," says Sarah. "We thought we were due a home tie after going to Barnsley and Wolves, but it is going to be one of the biggest games ever for the club.
"We don't really know very much about Middlesbrough but that's the thing about the FA Cup - you get to play new teams. We've got nothing to lose and will do our best, like we did against Wolves."
If Radcliffe are able to keep their Cup run going, they could find themselves against a Premier League team in the Third Round - maybe even Nottingham Forest. "It would be fantastic to play Forest," says Sarah. "We played them in the County Cup Final two years ago and that was a good experience. Everybody wants to play against the best teams and I don't think it's impossible to beat teams at that level on your day - we've got the determination to beat any team. But we have a hard game against Middlesbrough coming up on Sunday and we can't look beyond that."
Despite their good Cup run, Radcliffe are looking at the bigger picture and have wider ambitions for the future. "Our priority is the league," admits Sarah. "We want to be in the Midland Combination next season and playing against a team like Wolves has made us more hungry to win the league.
"We've done well in the last few years but last season was a bit disheartening as Leicester City were in the league and they were much too good for that level, as their record showed. But now there are a number of good teams in the league, such as Friar Lane, Loughborough Dynamo and Clifton, and it is much more open this season.
"We signed a few new players and we are starting to gel well as a team, and that bodes well for us."
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