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(Moneyfields won 4-2 on penalties)>
Moneyfields 2 Larkhall Athletic 2
(Moneyfields won 4-2 on penalties)
Moneyfields, of the Southern Region League Premier Division, earned a historic first Women's FA Cup Third Qualifying Round place after overcoming FAWNL opponents Larkhall Athletic in a penalty shootout after a gripping 120 minutes at Dover Road.
The hosts went toe to toe with their visitors, hitting the woodwork three times in a goalless first 90 minutes. Four goals in the opening period of extra time saw both teams in front for a brief moment before a superb series of spot kicks saw the Moneys home.
Larkhall had the first clear chance after five minutes when an Emily Harrington lob dropped just wide of Sally-Anne Thompson's goal. Nikki O'Connell, the Larks' keeper, made the first of several fine first half interventions to deny Kim Whitcombe on 20 minutes, then produced a fine double save firstly from Whitcombe before beating away Sheree Bell-Jack's follow up drive.after good work on the right by Krystal Whyte.
Whyte provided another pinpoint cross for Whitcombe to rattle the bar with a header before 0'Connell tipped away a dangerous free kick at her far post as Moneyfields dominated around the half hour. Larkhall came back into the game towards the break forcing Thompson to be quick off her line to read a couple of dangerous situations.
Bell-Jack nearly gave the hosts the advantage, striking the base of the post with a cross-shot after beating the last defender on 49 minutes. Katie Shorter powered a header against the bar from a Whitcombe corner on the hour as it seemed that luck had deserted the home team.
Again, Larkhall came on strongly later in the half, moving the ball neatly in midfield to play in the dangerous Kate German, Maddie Brown and Harrington but the Moneyfields defence stood firm.
It was Moneyfields sub Paige Seeley who created the breakthrough on 93 minutes with a delightful crossfield pass to release Whyte who finished expertly. Larkhall responded immediately with Harrington setting up Lizzie Barratt who was fouled in the area and Kate German converted the resulting spot kick emphatically. The visitors soon took the lead with a delightful finish by Brown, stealing in to tuck home past the advancing Thompson on 98 minutes.
Amazingly, Moneys were level on 102 minutes with a penalty of their own, converted confidently by Whitcombe. The final fifteen minutes saw the intensity finally drop a little after an epic battle as penalties loomed. Four perfectly converted penalties by Carla Perkins, skipper Sophie Kingsley-Cabell, Whitcombe and decisively Emma Eldridge were enough to clinch the tie.
Moneyfields made a real event of the afternoon with entertainment pre-match and at half time from an excellent marching band display, an informative programme and players entrance decorated in club coloured balloons. Larkhall Athletic played a full part in an excellent match but is the home fans who celebrated progress to Monday's draw, where they were paired with Portishead Town.
Moneyfields: Sally-Ann Thompson, Emma Eldridge, Sophie Kingsley-Cabell, Melissa Lawrence, Kaylee Schumann-Edwards, Katie Shorter, Krystal Whyte, Carla Perkins, Sheree Bell-Jack, Nicole Matthews, Kim Whitcombe. Subs: Sian Bradbeer, Paige Seeley, Olivia Pinhorne, Beth Roche.
Larkhall Athletic: Nicki O'Connell, Lois Colley, Amy Scrivens, Jessie Osborne, Amanda Blakeley, Anne-Marie Hervey, Lizzie Barratt, Krystle German, Kate German, Maddie Brown, Emily Harrington. Subs: Mollie Jones, Rhian Robbins, Jodie Sheppard.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Emma Eldridge tries to keep Maddie Brown at bay
(bottom) Lois Colley slides in to challenge Kim Whitcombe
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