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Woodley Utd 2 Alton Ladies 1
Woodley United became the last club to take their place in the Third Round Qualifying of the SSE FA Women's Cup with a 2-1 victory over Alton.
Reinstated into the competition after the exclusion of their first round opponents Oxford City, Woodley found a late winner to earn a prestige trip to FAWPL South East Division One leaders AFC Wimbledon in two weeks time. This meeting of Southern Region League Division One North and South clubs was evenly contested throughout and seemed destined for extra time until May Hamblin swooped in the 88th minute to clinch a home win at Bulmershe Pavillion.
Alton had the first shot through Morgan Jones but play was generally even for the first 20 minutes with a fierce contest in midfield. Woodley threatened through crosses from Mollie Haines on the right but Alton nearly took the lead from a Maddie Staff cross with Nicola Moore denied by a last ditch challenge in front of goal.
Rosie Page-Smith was also a threat for the hosts and it was her run and cool finish after a defensive slip which provided the Woodley opener on 25 minutes. Alton's Meg Lebbern nearly equalised with a lob three minutes later but Woodley keeper Nicole Haines was alert to turn the ball wide of goal.
Alton keeper Chelsea Fox made a fine double save from a Natasha Master shot and a follow up effort on the half hour whilst her opposite number had to be quick off her to deny Staff and preserve Woodley's advantage at the break.
Fox was again in action on the restart, getting down well to block a powerful shot by Page-Smith but Alton went close through Chelsie Stewart a minute later. The visitors were getting into good shooting positions at times, Moore just wide on 56 minutes, Staff going close from a corner and again from distance on 72 minutes but Woodley had a great chance to double their lead on 77 minutes. Mollie Haines was again the provider with a low cross which Hamblin was just unable to covert at full stretch at the far post.
That miss looked costly minutes later when Alton equalised with an excellent cross shot finish by Staff from a narrow angle. Page-Smith was very close to restoring the lead on 80 minutes when good battling won the ball five yards out, but Fox was well placed to block her shot.
The winner, when it came. was a beauty. Yet again, Mollie Haines provided service from wide right, an inviting low cross into the six yard box and Hamblin was on the spot to guide the ball beyond Fox with a delicate first time touch.
The hosts saw out the final minutes with great efficiency to secure their progress after a hard fought battle and take their place in the third qualifying round. Both teams had played well with quality performances from several individuals on both sides but it was Woodley United who progressed.
Nicole Haines, Holly Wilkins, Natasha Master, Daneshay Edwards, May Hamblin, Ellen Surtees, Rosie Page-Smith, Ani Radountcheva, Mollie Haines, Louise Burgess, Faye Ward. Subs: Siobhan Hayes, Jasmine Clarke, Rebecca Lowes.
Chelsea Fox, Maddie Staff, Sam Baker, Charlotte Crook, Meg Lebbern, Katrina Gregory-Barns, Nicola Moore, Chelsie Stewart, Morgan Jones, Emily Dance, Sophie Bulpitt. Subs: Emma Gregory-Barns, Amy Parry.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Nicola Moore battles with Faye Ward
(middle) Rosie Page-Smith gets in a shot despite the attentions of Charlotte Crook
(bottom) Sam Baker tries to win the ball from Rebecca Lowes
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