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Sheffield FC 0 London Bees 2 (Goddard 63, Clarke 90)
London Bees earned their place in the last four of the Continental Tyres Cup with an outstanding away win against fellow FAWSL 2 club Sheffield FC to become the first club from that division to reach the semi final stage.
Bees recaptured the spirit and skill which had seen off FAWSL 1 champions Chelsea in the previous round to provide the perfect away performance in which every player played their part to frustrate the hosts, who were on a fine six-match unbeaten run including a 5-0 victory over their opponents at The Hive.
A competitive opening twenty minutes saw Hannah Cain and Hannah Dale go close for Sheffield, whilst at the other end Sheffield keeper Jules Draycott was twice quickly off her line to deny Evie Clarke. Nikki Watts sent a 30-yard free kick just over for the visitors, whilst Jodie Michalska was just unable to find a finishing touch to a dangerous right wing cross as keeper Beth Davies challenged the Sheffield attacker on 39 minutes. An even opening half ended with a blank scoresheet as both teams had defended effectively.
Bees had the first real opening on the restart, Clarke shooting straight at Draycott when played in by Andrea Georgiou. Evdokia Popadinova then got clear on the right from sub Paula Howells' pass and her cross was deflected inches wide of the Sheffield goal. Popadinova again got clear to set up the Bees opener on 65 minutes with a perfect right wing cross for Ashleigh Goddard to rise high and head home at the far post.
Davies preserved the lead with a superb save two minutes later, reacting quickly to tip over a Michalska shot at full stretch. Sheffield rang the changes to try to break down the Bees defence, Ellie Gilliatt made several dangerous runs on the left but the final ball always found a Bees head or foot. Sub Chloe Dixon made similar inroads down the right but was well tracked by Sophie Fogarty as the visitors protected their lead very effectively.
Bees doubled their lead as the clock reached 90 minutes. Clarke was played clear from inside her own half and ran on to round Draycott and notch the second. One more fine save from Davies ensured the win, reacting well to tip over the rebound from a blocked clearance deep into added time.
Bees' back four of Merrick Will, Aoife Hurley, Emma Beckett and Fogarty all had fine matches to limit Sheffield to a minimum of chances and further forward, Becky Anderson, Watts, Georgiou and Popadinova all worked tirelessly to deny space and time where possible. Goddard and Clarke earned the plaudits for two well taken goals but this was very much a team victory for Dave Edmondson's Bees.
Sheffield FC: Juliana Draycott, Sarah Jackson, Carla Ward, Billie Murphy, Ellie Gilliatt, Sherry McCue, Hannah Dale, Jodie Michalska (sub Danielle Lea 87mins), Hannah Cain, Kirsty Hanson (sub Emma Johnson 58mins), Sophie Jones (sub Chloe Dixon 65mins). Subs not used: Claire Wallhead, Danielle Cox, Rhema Lord-Mears, Emma Lipman.
London Bees: Beth Davies, Merrick Will, Aoife Hurley, Emma Beckett, Sophie Fogarty, Ashleigh Goddard, Andria Georgiou (sub Paula Howells 58mins), Rebecca Anderson, Evdokia Popadinova (sub Jo Wilson 75mins), Nikki Watts, Evie Clarke. Subs not used: Imogen Riches, Danielle Scanlon, Holly Greenwood, Zemena Clarke.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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