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Arlesey Town 2 Peterborough Northern Star 0
Arlesey Town reached the First Round of the FA Women's Cup for the first time with a hard fought win over Peterborough Northern Star at Town's Armadillo Stadium home.
PNS, with their outstanding Cup run to the Third Round last year before falling to Barnet, had plenty of the ball and created a number of chances but it was the South East Combination team, under new manager Martin Sorrell, who took their opportunities and will be in the draw.
After the home team's Kat Hamplova nearly scored from a deep cross in the second minute, it was the East Midlands Regional visitors who made the running. Gee Sturgess had two shots wide, then home keeper Becki Scott made a fine save to deny Donna Nicholls from close range.
Inspirational Arlesey skipper Sarah Tayler was at the heart of all the best work going forward. After a first corner was headed narrowly wide by Emily Whiting, her second delivery was only half cleared and Whiting stabbed the ball home from close range on 20 minutes.
Arlesey nearly added a second when Tayler's shot was deflected into the path of Kirsty Cooper. PNS keeper Sarah Hudson did well to save and Hamplova could not quite force home the rebound at the far post.
Back came the visitors and another good save by Scott foiled Sturgess as her shot appeared to be going in at the far post on 32 minutes. Hamplova hit a volley just over from another corner and Cooper had a lob held by Hudson as Arlesey finished the half well.
The first two minutes of he second half proved crucial. Northern Star's Nicholls ran through the Arlesey defence but no-one could finish her cross . In the next Arlesey attack the ball was laid back to Tayler who crashed home a right foot first time effort from 20 yards which gave Hudson no chance.
Arlesey started to attack with far greater fluency with Ayo Okunuga going close on two occasions, Whiting going on a mazy run through the defence and Tayler brInging a fine save from Hudson with a dipping free kick from wide left. Not that Northern Star were without chances in the final stages. Louisa Burgess set up Sturgess who missed from close in then Nicholls was denied by another good Scott save after outpacing the Arlesey defence once more.
The home side, after six sucessive defeats, played with good spirit and organisation against tricky opponents to record a morale boosting win. The occasion was boosted by the excellent venue and match programme and the winners have matched Arlesey Town men's team by playing in the First Round proper of the Cup.
Arlesey Town: Becki Scott, Emily Whiting, Louise Gash, Kirsty Cooper, Aime Meager, Ayo Okunuga, Mandy Cane-Murnane, Sophia Pidgeon, Louise Grocott, Sarah Tayler, Kat Hamplova. Subs: Alicia Cobb, Jess Purbrick.
Peterborough Northern Star: Sarah Hudson, Hannah Phillimore, Elsje Van Es, Kayla Dortch, Shay Stanford, Jodie Bartle, Louise Burgess, Chanade Henderson, Donna Nicholls, Gee Sturgess, Nina Flory. Subs: Sammy Woodham, Megan Quirke, Louise Wright.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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