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Brentford 1 New London Lionesses 2
New London Lionesses started another potential SSE F A Women's Cup adventure with a Preliminary Qualifying Round victory over Brentford at the Bees' impressive new home ground, Bedfont Sports FC.
In difficult, blustery conditions, Lionesses took a deserved two goal lead in the first half playing with the wind at their backs. The Greater London League Division One hosts mounted a spirited second half display, especially after halving the deficit around the hour mark but Lionesses always had the edge in creating scoring opportunities and claimed a place in the First Qualifying Round.
New London Lionesses had a number of early chances through the pace and power of Kiz Fergus but she was denied by good goalkeeping from Emily Boycott and some finely timed tackles from defenders Jenn Amols and Lisa Grant. The visitors took the lead on 21 minutes when Lea Pope sent in a high cross shot from a tight angle on the right and the ball dropped in at the far post.
The lead was soon doubled when Ania Koscielska appeared to get the final touch in a goalmouth scramble and, with Brentford unable to gain any forward momentum despite moving the ball well in midfield, it seemed that Lionesses were in comfortable control at the half.
Boycott made another fine save to prevent a third on the restart but gradually the hosts pushed further forward and spent more time in the opponents' half. Even so, there was little direct threat on the goal until just after the hour when Sophie Troth placed a shot into the bottom left of Sarah Sackett's goal.
Encouraged by this, Brentford made attacking substitutions and put more pressure on the defence of the Lionesses. Generally, the visitors coped well and were always dangerous on the break. Fergus and Carla Botas Sanmartin went close to extending the lead and Samantha Lanza-Cabian had an effort turned away by Boycott.
Impressive as Brentford were in sticking to their passing game, Lionesses ensured their victory fairly comfortably in the final minutes. Having progressed as far as a Second Round Proper tie against Crystal Palace last season, New London Lionesses, newly promoted to the Greater London League Premier Division, will no doubt hope for another lengthy FA Cup run, starting against Hampton & Richmond Borough this week.
A young Brentford team played with commitment and determination against higher ranked opponents and will surely benefit from their excellent new home playing surface over the coming season.
Emily Boycott, Lisa Grant, Tilly Marshall, Jenn Amols, Rebekah Wiltshire, Geraldine Burgess, Mollie Holmes, Sophie Troth, Eilidh Short, Chloe Webb, Shannon Ford. Subs: Lucy Johnson, Emily Reynolds, Courtney Woolley, Jodie Reid.
New London Lionesses:
Sarah Sackett, Ania Koscielska, Holly Newton, Kendal Drake, Samantha Lanza-Cabian, Kiz Fergus, Lea Pope, Nish Patel, Carla Botas Sanmartin, Tanya Morrison-Birt, Susanne de Mooij. Subs: Lauren Doherty, Melissa McLellan, Eepsha Hiraluge.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Samantha Lanza-Cabian is faced by Chloe Webb
(middle) Kizz Fergas in a battle for possession with Jenn Amols
(bottom) Courtney Woolley and Lisa Grant combine to foil Carla Botas Sanmartin
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