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C & K Basildon 0 Coventry Utd 2
A goal in each half gave Coventry United victory in their SSE Women's FA Cup Second Round tie against C & K Basildon at Canvey Island FC and set up a Third Round meeting with Sporting Club Albion.
Having failed to score in either of their previous meetings with the Essex club this season, Coventry finally found a way past the C & K defence with a very good attacking display at times. With their own defence having not conceded in eleven hours play, Coventry always looked favourites once in front, but were made to work very hard for victory by a spirited display by the hosts.
Basildon started well, moving the ball fluently, but Coventry found their rhythm as the first half progressed. Amber Hughes, with a teasing cross on to the roof of the net, then Neville with an overhead kick, threatened the Basildon goal but both defences were dominant in an opening half hour of few clear chances.
Ashleigh Neville's sweet near post volley from Helen Dermody's right side corner flew past Basildon keeper Mollie Povey to give the visitors the lead on 31 minutes. The roles were reversed just a minute later when Neville's cross from the left found Dermody unmarked but her volley was straight at Povey.
A 20-yard snap shot from Dermody flew wide on 41 minutes but there was only one goal between the sides at the break.
Coventry had been the more dangerous and returned with good tempo, Jade Brook controlling midfield. One run took the midfielder past three tackles before being fouled just outside the area. An Amber Hughes run was halted by a fine tackle by Karen Stephanou and a saving clearance by Kerry Stimson. A Hughes header from the resulting corner flew just wide as Coventry dominated.
Dermody went close again on 58 minutes from distance but Basildon had a good chance to equalise a minute later. Karissa Rodney had a clear sight of Sue Wood's goal but her shot from 15 yards flew just wide. The hosts stepped up their search for an equaliser but Wood was well protected by her back four, Natasha Lynch and Anna Wilcox dominating in central defence.
Povey, whose handling in the C & K goal was impressive throughout, saved well from Maz Gauntlett and raced from her line to claim a dangerous through ball at Hughes' feet. Rebecca Smith had a half chance on 87 minutes to take the tie into extra time but Coventry sealed their progress on 89 minutes.
Another intricate move freed Dermody eight yards out, Povey did very well to deflect her left foot shot on to the bar but the rebound fell to sub Alison Hall to drive home Coventry's second.
Such has been C & K Basildon's progress, it is easy to forget that the club are in their debut season at the top level of the winter pyramid. Coventry United have been a leading team at this level for several seasons now, including a Southern Division title in 2014-15, and deserved this FA Cup victory with a fine team performance.
C & K Basildon: Mollie Povey, Kerry Stimson, Stacey Little, Katherine Huggins, Claire Lacey, Charlotte Long, Rebecca Smith, Karen Stephanou, Lily Mellors, Karissa Rodney, Amy Nash. Sub: Sophie Blowers.
Coventry Utd: Sue Wood, Annabel Johnson, Nikki Miles, Jade Brook, Natasha Lynch, Anna Wilcox, Amber Hughes, Libby Piggott, Maz Gauntlett, Helen Dermody, Ashleigh Neville. Subs: Crissy Torkildsen, Callan Barber, Alison Hall, Alison Livermore, Jess Lundie.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Karen Stephanou slides in on Annabel Johnson
(middle) Katherine Huggins is closed down by Jade Brook
(bottom) Natasha Lynch challenges Karissa Rodney
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