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Tottenham Hotspur 1 Colchester Utd 2
Tottenham Hotspur could not emulate Mossley Hill, Luton Town, Southampton Saints and Sporting Club Albion in knocking out Premier League opposition in their delayed FA Women's Cup Second Round tie.
Although Spurs took the lead against Colchester United, the Essex club battled back to a hard earned but deserved 2-1 victory at Broxbourne Borough FC. The South East Combination high fliers fought hard to the end but rarely troubled the Colchester defence in the second half after an even and exciting first 45 minutes, marked by two fine goals.
It was Colchester who showed the more incisive attacking in the opening minutes. Kat Parnell sent a long range effort just over and the impressive Hannah Gowland ended a long run with a powerful shot that tested Ebony Cabey-Gooden in the home goal. On 17 minutes Rosi Webb had the first sight of Nikita Runnacles' goal but the Spurs striker shot wide.
Back came Parnell for the U's, firing inches wide after a tricky run from the left. Lily Mellors then sent in a dangerous corner which Cabey-Gooden punched away. Spurs were also moving the ball round very well, using the full width of the pitch releasing Bianca Baptiste and Jenna Schillachi to whip in crosses.
A pacy, end to end half was crowned with two goals. Cabey-Gooden launched a clearance onto the head of Schillachi, whose flick was perfect for the onrushing Sam Pittuck and the former West Ham and Watford player showed a cool head to drive the ball beyond Runnacles' dive into the bottom left corner on 40 minutes. United were only behind for a few minutes as another fine Parnell run and cross was only half cleared to Gowland, who turned and lashed the ball right footed past Cabey-Gooden, only seconds before the half time whistle.
The Premier League team stormed into the second half, playing with the stiff breeze and forcing a series of corners which Parnell delivered expertly, testing the Spurs defence. A strong run by sub Helen Bass was halted by a foul and Zoe Rushen went close from the free kick.
Spurs were under continuous pressure and eventually it told. Another Rushen free kick was fired in low from 25 yards through a crowd and it seemed that Bass got the touch to direct the ball into the bottom right of the goal.
Spurs began to recover, constructing forward moves which relieved the continuous pressure on their goal but Colchester always looked more likely to add to their lead, Parnell being denied by an excellent diving save, Bass and fellow sub Karissa Rodney always threatening further damage. It was a highly impressive second half from United, the defence snuffing out the rare Spurs attacks and the front players working very hard to keep the Spurs defence and midfield from settling on the ball and playing out from the back.
In the League, Tottenham still have a real chance to join Colchester in the Premier League next season, battling with the likes of Enfield Town, Norwich City and MK Dons for promotion. Colchester's reward for their victory is that they will host Newcastle United in the Third Round on February 6th.
Tottenham Hotspur: Ebony Cabey-Gooden, Ebony Heath, Derrie O'Halloran, Ryah Vyse, Robyn Downie, Sam Pittuck, Emma Keyser, Nicola Cable, Jenna Schillachi, Rosi Webb, Bianca Baptiste. Subs: Jess Cheeseman, Kirsten Thomson, Eleni Savva.
Colchester United: Nikita Runnacles, Kat Parnell, Megan Jiggins, Amelia Southgate, Lily Mellors, Sian Fagg, Zoe Rushen, Flo Gamby, Alex Shepherd, Hannah Gowland, Maegan Doyle. Subs: Hayley West, Emily Heaslip, Helen Bass, Karissa Rodney.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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