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Winchester City Flyers moved into the Second Qualifying Round of the Women's FA Cup with a stunning 9-3 home victory over Bideford AFC.
In a pulsating encounter, two teams committed to attacking play produced a thrilling display where Flyers were outstanding in the quality of their link up play and accurate finishing, whilst Bideford also created a host of chances, hitting the woodwork on at least four occasions and drawing a number of fine saves from home keeper Lauren Higgs.
Bideford created the first chance with Beth Ellis denied by Higgs on the edge of her area. Flyers were soon into their stride with some lovely interplay opening up chances. Katie Johns opened the scoring with a fine strike from distance on nine minutes. Bideford keeper Kirsty Talbot made a super reaction save from Francesca Thornton before Ellis hit the bar on the half hour during a spell of pressure by the South West Regional League Premier Division visitors.
A frantic last ten minutes of the half saw the teams exchange quick fire pairs of goals. Flyers went three up with powerful finishes from Libby O'Dell and Thornton, but Bideford replied with equally impressive goals from Kate McKane and then Ellis after McKane's shot was saved.
Bideford had an equaliser from Tracey Cross ruled out for offside on 46 minutes but Flyers then took over as the pace and accuracy of their passing and shooting took a heavy toll. Charlie Snelling set up O'Dell for the fourth on 48 minutes and Thornton added her second two minutes later outpacing the defence before finishing low past Talbot.
The visitors kept attacking with Higgs tipping away a Leanne Cording shot, then Cross having a header cleared off the line by Lauren Pearce. Higgs saved again from Rohana Little before Johns added a sixth for Flyers on the counter attack on the hour.
Substitute Emily Woodhouse then scored the Flyers' seventh with a cross shot on 74 minutes. However, Bideford still kept on creating chances with McKane, Ellis and Poppy Cloke all striking the woodwork in a crazy two minute period before Little fired over a good chance from close range.
After yet another Bideford effort by Ellis rebounded from the bar - her hat-trick of woodworks! - Cloke was on hand to net the rebound to give the visitors some reward for their spirit and attacking attitude on 83 minutes.
However, the final word went inevitably to the home side. Thornton completed a fine hat-trick on 85 minutes and then excellent work from Hannah Chaffey set up a second for Woodhouse in the final minute.
Winchester City Flyers, of the Southern Region League Premier Division, produced a superb team display to see off game opponents and will be a dangerous opponent for whoever they draw in the Second Qualifying Round. (They will be at home to Poole Town)
Winchester City Flyers: Lauren Higgs, Lauren Pearce, Charlotte Warhurst, Hannah Chalkie, Jen Arundell, Libby O'Dell, Charlie Snelling, Jenna Sutton, Hannah Chaffey, Francesca Thornton, Katie Johns. Subs: Emily Woodhouse, Louisa Castle, Alice Nichols.
Bideford: Kirsty Talbot, Carleigh Boyce, Sarah Short, Maria Penfold, Kate McKane, Sam Ayres, Leanne Cording, Tracey Cross, Rohana Little, Poppy Cloke, Beth Ellis. Subs: Emma Stoneman, Harley Bowskill.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Francesca Thornton scores for Winchester with Sarah Short closing in
(bottom) Kate McKane challenges Francesca Thornton
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