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C & K Basildon 3 West Ham Utd 3
(West Ham won 4-3 on penalties)
West Ham United earned an FA Women's Cup Third Round tie with WSL2 team Watford by winning a penalty shootout against South East Combination opponents C & K Basildon at Harlow Town.
After sharing six goals in an even 120 minutes of great intensity, four Hammers players were faultless from the spot and keeper Jessica Parlane saved the fifth Basildon effort to seal the win.
After four fruitless attempts to stage the tie, a 3G surface ensured the outcome would finally be settled. West Ham started the better and took the lead on eleven minutes when a Cherrelle Albert corner from the right was headed home powerfully by Emily Masters. Skipper Stacey Little nearly added a second when set up by Albert then Hannah Gowland was denied by C & K keeper Mel Kinsalla as the Premier League club dominated.
It was 25 minutes before C & K had a shot but they levelled on the half hour when the Hammers defence failed to clear a corner and Karissa Rodney was able to shoot home from close range. C & K dominated the rest of the half, Zoe Rushen shooting just over and Rodney going close with the last kick before the break.
The second period was notable for both teams taking then losing the lead within a minute as an absorbing contest hung in the balance. C & K gained the lead when a defensive slip let in Rodney for her second on 53 minutes but Kelley Blanchflower levelled within a minute, forcing home a loose ball at the far post.
West Ham then had their best spell of the match and Kinsalla made three fine saves to keep C & K level. She dived to her right to keep out Albert's close range effort then was up quickly to tip Blanchflower's powerful follow up over the bar. Sarah McCrea was finding good space on the left wing and her crosses were causing problems. However it was Gowland who put the Hammers back in front. After having one effort well saved, a super 25 yard strike gave Kinsalla no chance. However, within 30 seconds, C & K were level again when Steph Stephanou was fouled and skipper Jenny Brown-Wealls scored from the penalty spot on 78 minutes.
Neither side looked like sealing the tie in normal time and chances were rare in the first period of extra time as well. Sara Sinclair had a shot just wide and Kinsalla saved well from Gowland as the teams traded opportunities.
A most unfortunate injury to West Ham's Gowland necessitated a lengthy stoppage and C & K finished the stronger, nearly grabbing the winner with the final touch. A Brown-Wealls free kick was headed on by Claire Lacey and Sinclair hit a close range volley inches over.
After such a closely fought encounter, the penalty shootout was one neither team deserved to lose. West Ham kept their nerve with McCrea, Lindsey Morgan, Albert and sub Lily Mellors all converting in style. C & K missed their fourth kick, then Parlane dived low to her left to turn away the fifth effort and ensure the Hammers' progress.
Both teams played neat, passing football and alternated periods of dominance and attempts on goal. It was easy to see why C & K Basildon are riding high in their first ever season at Combination level as they matched their opponents in all aspects of the game. However, it was the Premier League team who finally progressed to host Watford next Sunday.
C & K Basildon: Mel Kinsalla, Charlotte Hopwood, Claire Lacey, Jenny Brown-Wealls, Megan Lawley, Amy Nash, Carly Eagles, Zoe Rushen, Steph Stephanou, Karissa Rodney, Sara Sinclair. Subs: Robyn Strauss, Nicola Carty, Nicole Farmer, Charlie Dolby.
West Ham United: Jessica Parlane, Vicky King, Lindsey Morgan, Danica Revell, Hayley West, Emily Masters, Kelley Blanchflower, Stacey Little, Cherrelle Albert, Hannah Gowland, Sarah McCrea. Subs: Zoe Lipley-Hinton, Lily Mellors, Sophie Read, Abbie Solly.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Karissa Rodney pokes home the first equaliser for C & K Basildon
(middle) Cherelle Albert is tackled by Charlotte Hopwood
(bottom) Sarah McCrea, Kelly Blanchflower and Claire Lacey go head to head
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