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Fulham FC Foundation 2 St Nicholas 0
Fulham FC Foundation, of the London & South East Regional League, won a place in the First Round of the SSE Women's FA Cup by defeating FAWPL Division One South West opponents St Nicholas at Surrey Sports Park.
Two first half goals were enough for Fulham and, despite the visitors hitting the woodwork twice, Fulham gave a committed performance throughout to earn their place in Monday's draw.
Playing with the strong breeze in their favour, Fulham dominated the early play, Kirsty Percival drawing a fine early save by Samantha Hollis to tip over a 25-yard shot. The visiting keeper also saved from from Jess Winchester and Megan Lovelock had an effort deflected just wide. Percival's corner deliveries were also causing trouble, with Helen Ogle and Chloe Greer heading over from close range around the 20 minute mark.
St Nicholas created their first threat when Megan Bloomer blocked keeper Lauren Allen's clearance and the rebound drifted close to the Fulham goal. Fulham had a good opening on 34 minutes when Allen's precise clearance sent Ogle clear and her cross just evaded Verity Snow in front of goal.
However. the opener was not long delayed when another hard low Ogle cross escaped keeper Hollis' grasp and left Percival with an easy finish on 37 minutes.
The visitors were unlucky not to equalise immediately when Allen made a good save to deny them after a right wing cross had caused a scramble in front of goal, then Amy Jeffries fired inches wide of the far post on 40 minutes. St Nicholas continued to threaten and Connie Short rattled the bar with a well flighted 25-yard free kick on 43 minutes.
The higher ranked club's misfortune in that five minute spell was compounded by a Fulham second right on the break and it was a wonderful effort by Snow. There seemed little danger as the ball arrived to the experienced striker facing away from goal 20 yards out but an instant control. turn and volley saw an unstoppable shot fly past Hollis.
Fulham started the brighter after the break with efforts from Snow and Ogle both saved by Hollis. Sarah Wentworth's cross caused danger but the resulting shot was blocked for a corner. St Nicholas came back strongly and the Fulham defence had to be alert on several occasions with Short a particular threat. Her free kick on 66 minutes was dropped by keeper Allen and the follow up effort from close range struck the post before bouncing away to safety.
St Nicholas went very close again on 78 minutes when Monica Sharma did well to clear a goalbound effort with the keeper stranded to prevent a nervy last ten minutes. In fact, Fulham played very well to see out the closing stages with a minimum of worry despite the best efforts of the visitors.
Fulham go into Monday's draw where the top ranked teams in the winter pyramid make their bow, reward for a very good team effort, lots of good attacking play and a moment of magic at a crucial time from Snow. St Nicholas worked hard with little good fortune after a testing and unlucky midweek league defeat against Keynsham Town.
Fulham FC Foundation: Lauren Allen, Lauren Armstrong, Chloe Greer, Sarah Wentworth, Monica Sharma, Jade Pilley, Jess Winchester, Helen Ogle, Kirsty Percival, Megan Lovelock, Verity Snow. Subs: Paige Hersey, Tanvie Hans, Rachel Woodland.
St Nicholas: Samantha Hollis, Megan Bloomer, Sarah Doidge, Natalie Coles, Sophie Sweet, Rianne Lewis, Kirsten Prior, Amy Jefferies, Connie Short, Harriet Gillard, Amber Roberts. Sub: Zoe Greener.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Helen Ogle takes on Sophie Sweet
(middle) Natalie Coles slides in to tackle Verity Snow
(bottom) Amy Jefferies gets in a shot past Monica Sharma
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