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(Ipswich won 3-0 on penalties)>
Stevenage Ladies 1 Ipswich Town 1
(Ipswich won 3-0 on penalties)
Ipswich Town progressed to the Third Round of the SSE Women's FA Cup via a penalty shootout win over Stevenage at Hertford Town FC.
After 120 minutes of highly competitive, exciting and even play, Stevenage were unable to convert any of their first three spot kicks whilst the Tractor Girls converted all three to seal their place in the draw.
Natasha Thomas volleyed over the first half chance for Ipswich whilst Chloe Gunn fired in a long shot for Stevenage, turned away at full stretch by keeper Sian Fagg on 13 minutes. The home team took the lead on 20 minutes with a fine turn and finish from Amy Makewell after an Ashleigh Deacon cross from the right wing. Leah Littlechild nearly added a second on 28 minutes, firing just wide from the left side of goal.
Ipswich had a good spell just before the break. Amanda Crump's corners troubled the Stevenage defence all match and Lindsey Cooper headed over from close range on 40 minutes, then Thomas fired just wide with a near post volley after good work by Zoe Cossey on the left on 44 minutes but the hosts held their advantage into half time.
Cooper, with another header, went very close to equalising on 49 minutes from a Crump corner whilst Stevenage threatened from a teasing cross which Makewell stabbed just wide at the far post. Crump had a good chance to level on the hour after a rebound off keeper Katherine Long but shot over the bar. Thomas was denied by a fine Dominique Godbeer tackle but from the corner, she rose highest to power home the equaliser on 70 minutes.
Stevenage went back on the attack and from a clearance after Nicole Emmings' corner, Paige Logie went close from the edge of the area. As play swung from end to end, Stevenage keeper Long made a crucial save from Thomas after a cross from Sophie Welton on 79 minutes.
Another well delivered Emmings corner led to a final Stevenage shot, whilst Ipswich had a cross which hit the outside of the post but extra time was a fair outcome from an even contest.
Jacqueline Ball had a great chance to give Ipswich the lead immediately on the restart but placed a first time effort wide of the post. Stevenage then dominated much of the extra period, forcing Ipswich back and forcing two fine saves from Fagg, tipping over efforts from an Emmings free kick and a Gunn shot from a short corner.
Ultimately, however, penalties were required and successful conversions by Jordan Arnoup, Thomas and sub Gemma Moore were enough to see Ipswich home after a very good match where both teams impressed with their energy, skill and commitment.
Katherine Long, Paige Logie, Tanya Blacksley, Dominique Godbeer, Leah Littlechild, Amy Makewell, Ellie Searle, Ashleigh Deacon, Nicole Emmings, Cara Breckenridge, Chloe Gunn. Subs: Danielle Maloney, Kristi Burling, Becky Scola.
Sian Fagg, Jacqueline Ball, Lindsey Cooper, Harriet Petley, Jordan Arnoup, Sophie Welton, Amanda Crump, Cassie Craddock, Zoe Cossey, Jade Henry, Natasha Thomas. Subs: Flo Cage, Nicole Pannifer, Gemma Moore, Miagh Downey, Tori Campbell.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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