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Crystal Palace Res 3 Tottenham Hotspur Res 2
Crystal Palace Reserves took their place in the last four of the FAWPL Reserve League Cup after a 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur Reserves at Coney Hall FC.
A closely contested match seemed to be comfortably in Palace's command at the break with two Gemma Bryan goals but a very spirited Spurs comeback made for a nervous last quarter of an hour for the home team.
Spurs' Ronnell Humes went close in a bright opening for the visitors but Palace soon took command. Bryan had a shot wide, Spurs keeper Barbara Holman saved well from a dangerous cross but the opening goal was a beauty on 15 minutes. The ball was played out from Palace keeper Chanell Yardley through several team mates to Bryan, who drove a low shot wide of Holman from 20 yards.
Yardley did well to beat away a shot from Dionne Manning and then hold a Shona Chiatate-Samuriwo effort as the visitors sought an immediate equaliser. In fact, thing got worse for Spurs when Jade Davenport got clear on the right and, though her cross was well defended by Natasha Smits under pressure from Nicha Dyett, the ball fell kindly for Bryan to steer the ball home from the edge of the area on 28 minutes.
Chiatate-Samuriwo went close again with a lobbed shot just over Yardley's bar late in the half but Spurs were still two goals in arrears at the break. Starting brightly again, the North Londoners pressed forward without ever finding an opening and were always vulnerable to the pace of Bryan, Dyett and Mary Robinson on the break.
A bad tackle left Spurs' Smits with a nasty ankle injury and unable to continue but the visitors found a lifeline when a left wing cross was well finished by Chiatate-Samuriwo on 62 minutes.
Palace were still dangerous, winning a number of corners and they went close through a Leesa Haydock effort but it was Dyett who extended the lead on 77 minutes despite Spurs' claims that she was offside as she received a through ball.
Spurs quickly reduced the arrears when Humes curled an effort from wide left beyond Yardley to set up an exciting final few minutes. With considerable added time owing to Smits' injury, Spurs pressed hard for an equaliser for most of the remainder of the match.
Moving the ball fluently to create dangerous attacks, Spurs were denied by very sound defending and good handling by Yardley. Ellie Butterwick was close with a lofted cross on 88 minutes, Yardley saved well from sub Katherine Lyons and Palace saw out time with good concentration and hard work for the valuable win.
With Spurs having a 100 per cent record and leading the Southern Division of the FAWPL Reserve League, this was a fine result for Palace who join Bradford City, Blackburn Rovers and the winners of the delayed tie between Cardiff City Ladies and Nottingham Forest in the draw for the FAWPL Reserve League Cup semi finals to be contested early in the New Year.
Crystal Palace Res: Chanell Yardley, Alexia Spokes, Katy Morris, Sarah Jones, Kelsey Zalimeni, Jade Davenport, Leanne Bell, Leesa Haydock, Mary Robinson, Nicha Dyett, Gemma Bryan. Subs: Stephanie Mann, Sophie Bridson, Georgie O'Halloran, Sharna Longville.
Tottenham Hotspur Res: Barbara Holman, Mollie Kmita, Ellie Butterwick, Natasha Smits, Leanne Mabey, Shona Chiatate-Samuriwo, Ronell Humes, Amy Cooper, Riana Soobadoo, Dionne Manning, Emily Masters. Subs: Rene Williams, Katherine Lyons, Davina Smith.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Leanne Bell closes down Amy Cooper
(middle) Mary Robinson bursts between Mollie Kmita and Emily Masters
(bottom) Gemma Bryan up against Spurs duo Leanne Mabey and Ellie Butterwick
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