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Women's Football News
Goalkeeper Nicki O'Connell was her side's hero as Larkhall Athletic advanced to the Fourth Round of the F.A.Women's Cup with a penalty shootout victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Larkhall - now the last remaining Regional League club in the competition - took a 13th minute lead when Emily Harrington scored with a cross-shot from around 25 yards. The Premier League side hit back strongly but found the Larkhall defence and O'Connell in outstanding form.
Both sides had chances after the break in a pulsating match but Larkhall looked to be holding on under increasing Tottenham pressure until deep into injury time, when a noisy home crowd was silenced as Wendy Martin broke through to coolly slot her shot past the advancing O'Connell.
Tiredness and cramp took over in extra time as neither side could find a breakthrough although in the dying minutes, Jo Ayre made a good save to deny Anna Walby a winner.
In the resulting shootout, Carly Bryant, Walby, Kelly Cripps and Harrington all scored for Larkhall whilst Spurs netted their first three kicks before Martin shot wide and Sam Pittuck's shot was saved by O'Connell, sparking wild scenes of celebration from the Larkhall players.
Larkhall must now travel to Brighton & Hove Albion, who came through an awkward tie against Havant & Waterlooville with a 4-2 victory. Kim Stenning hit a hat-trick and Kim Whitcombe added the other goal to keep the Seagulls' Cup run going.
The only other team left in the Cup from outside the Premier League are Enfield Town, who ended the hopes of MSA Ladies with a 2-0 win. Holly Brandon opened the scoring for Enfield and Beth Demery wrapped up the win with the second from the penalty spot, following a foul on Beth Lovell in the area. Enfield will now be at home to Manchester City.
Sporting Club Albion meanwhile ran out 3-0 winners over Reading FC Women to record one of their best ever results. Ashleigh Neville scored twice and Robyn James also netted from the penalty spot.
This earns Albion a trip to Barnet after the National Division side netted eight without reply past Peterborough Northern Star. Stacey Sowden and Cheryl Williams each bagged doubles and the tally was completed by Danielle Murphy, Jess Trimnell, Emma Davies and Sue Kumaning to end a fine Cup run by the East Midlands League side.
Blackburn Rovers were another team to record a success at the expense of National Division opposition, 3-0 away to Nottingham Forest. Danielle Sheen was on target twice along with Katie Anderton to earn Rovers a short trip to play a local derby tie with Preston North End.
Leeds Utd picked up one of the results of the day, a 6-1 win away to fellow National Division side Watford. Megan Wynne had put Watford in front but a second half goal blitz by Leeds saw Jess Holbrook and Carey Huegett each score twice, with one apiece from Leah Galton and Clare Sykes.
Leeds will face more top flight opposition in the next round in the form of Coventry City, who won their Midlands derby 2-0 against Aston Villa. The home side had an opportunity to take a first half lead but Carly Davies saw her penalty saved by Sky Blues keeper Sue Wood. Milly Durrant broke the deadlock shortly after coming on as a substitute and Coventry sealed the win late on as Kim Farrow's cross was headed in by Kerry Bartlett.
Extra time was needed at Derby County where the home side advanced to the next round with a 4-2 win over West Ham Utd. Michelle Kilmartin gave Derby a first half lead with Kelley Blanchflower equalising early in the second half. The home side then had goalkeeper sent off for handling outside the area and the Hammers looked to be on their way to victory as Gemma Shepherd put them in front. However Emily Jeffery levelled matters once again via a penalty and sent the match into extra time, where Kilmartin netted her second and Cara Newton added a decisive fourth goal.
Derby will be away in the Fourth Round, to Charlton Athletic who overcame a spirited Bradford City side 3-1. After a goalless first half, Courtney Gibson put Charlton ahead but Bradford hit back to equalise from Caroline Omboyi. Emma Beckett then restored Charlton's lead and Fliss Gibbons sewed up the win two minutes from time.
Sunderland meanwhile ran out 8-0 winners over Rotherham Utd to set themselves up with an away tie against Cardiff City. Two first half goals from goal ace Beth Mead, along with strikes from Kelly McDougall, Gemma Wilson and Steph Bannon put the Wearsiders in control at half time. Mead grabbed her hat-trick goal after the break while further strikes from Nicola Devine and Keira Ramshaw completed the tally.
Sheffield FC emerged as 3-1 winners over Portsmouth in a tie between two teams chasing promotion from their respective divisions. Jodie Michalska netted twice and Leanne De Silva the other to give Sheffield a Fourth Round trip to Keynsham Town (see match report).
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