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Swindon Town 1 Tottenham Hotspur 4
FAWPL Southern Division side Tottenham Hotspur booked an away tie against Gillingham in the Third Round of the SSE Women's FA Cup with a 4-1 win at Division One South West promotion hopefuls Swindon Town.
Already three goals to the good at the break, Spurs added a fourth before Alex Hurst reduced the arrears for the hosts. The scoreline, however, hides a fine competitive contest on a very good surface at Royal Wootton Bassett FC. Both teams created chances throughout, using speedy attacking play to stretch defences and both goalkeepers made good saves at crucial times in the match.
Swindon skipper Michelle Rich had her side's first sight at goal with a 20-yard free kick whilst at the other end, keeper Robyn Levett was forced into a last ditch clearance under pressure from a back pass. Spurs hit the post when Avilla Bergin got free on the left and crossed for Ronnel Humes on 12 minutes but Swindon also had a big early chance when a clever Meg Attenborough pass set up Beth Westlake for a shot well held by Toni-Anne Wayne.
A Swindon corner after another good Wayne save from a powerful shot led to a fast Spurs counter attack with Humes shooting just over, but the visitors took the lead on 26 minutes via a free kick swung in from the left side into a crowded area, Leah Rawle getting credit for the opener. Levett made a fine save to deny Bergin when through on goal on 36 minutes and Westlake went close to an equaliser, a cross-shot drifting just wide of Wayne's far post on 38 minutes.
Two quick Spurs goals gave the score an unrealistic air before the break. Firstly, a Bergin right wing cross took a wicked sliced deflection off a defender to loop over Levett, then Rawle hit a 30-yard effort from wide left which flew home at the far post on 42 minutes. There was still time for Westlake to test Wayne with a near post drive pushed into the side netting but the half ended with Spurs firmly in control.
Spurs added a fourth on 54 minutes with a fine Bergin finish from a Lucia Leon through ball to beat the onrushing Levett and Bianca Baptiste nearly added another, firing just wide under pressure. However Swindon got a goal back soon after, Hurst capitalising on some hesitant defending to run on and fire past Wayne on 58 minutes.
The hosts nearly reduced the arrears further when a Rich free kick was met beyond the far post with a header just over. Wayne was then troubled by a Rich corner, palming the ball away for an attacker to volley over from close range. Ri Soobadoo and Bergin both went close at the other end before Wayne produced a fine save to turn over an Abby Picton shot from the edge of the area on 76 minutes, Swindon's last real chance to set up an unlikely comeback.
Levett brought off an acrobatic save to keep out a Mollie Kmita volley headed for the top corner of her goal on 85 minutes and the match wound down with Spurs fairly comfortable but Swindon always competitive and battling to the end, trying to save their superb unbeaten run in all competitions this season.
Tottenham therefore completed a fine few days in knock out competitions, having earned a Ryman League Cup Final place on Thursday evening. Swindon now have an Premier League Cup quarter final tie away to Nottingham Forest next week and then a long battle to try to achieve promotion from the very competitive South West Division.
Swindon Town: Robyn Levett, Meg Attenborough, Sam Quinn, Serena Smith, Ellie Maynard, Alison Witts, Chyna Collings, Michelle Rich, Beth Westlake, Alex Hurst, Chenise Austin. Subs: Alice Smith, Abby Picton, Sarah Uzzell, Sally Butterfield, Sylvannah Winstone.
Tottenham Hotspur: Toni-Anne Wayne, Leah Rawle, Mollie Kmita, Jenna Schillaci, Alex Keown, Sophie McLean, Lucia Leon, Ri Soobadoo, Bianca Baptiste, Ronnell Humes, Avilla Bergin. Subs: Rosie Kmita, Kelley Blanchflower, Jonea Peters.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Rosie Kmita is tackled by Chyna Collings
(middle) Beth Westlake closes down Leah Rawle
(bottom) Kelley Blanchflower battles for the ball with Chyna Collings
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