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Actonians Ladies 3 Fulham 1
Actonians progressed into the First Round proper of the Women's FA Cup with a 3-1 home win over Fulham at Rectory Park.
Trailing at the interval, the FAWNL Division One South East hosts turned it around thanks to a hat-trick from Alessandra Barreca and a solid defensive display against spirited and lively London & South East Regional League opponents who moved the ball around impressively at times.
Actonians started on the front foot with Carla Williams twice going close in the opening minutes. Molly O'Reilly was seeing a lot of the ball down the left for the hosts and whilst Fulham had a couple of good moves as well they were indebted to keeper Emma Marlow who produced three quality saves in a couple of minutes to deny Barreca, firstly turning away a cross shot, then parrying a header from the resulting corner before moving out quickly to block another shot.
Within three minutes of this triple exploit from their keeper, Fulham were ahead with a superb goal by Lauren Peck. Awarded a free kick wide on the left, down by the corner flag, Peck measured a right foot effort just under the angle of the far post and bar.
Marlow was soon in action on the restart , denying O'Reilly from close range but, immediately after, some loose defending saw Barreca through on goal to equalise on 51 minutes with a lobbed finish. Bianca Underhill went close to restoring Fulham's lead with a run down the right and low cross shot on the hour then home keeper Naomi Swift saved well from Rebecca Jeffries.
Barreca capitalised on another stray pass on 75 minutes to finish low past Marlow and give Actonians the lead. Swift had to move quickly off her line to foil Fulham attacks a couple of times but generally the home defence, well marshalled by skipper Catherine Murphy, coped effectively with the visiting attack.
It was the always dangerous Barreca who sealed Actonians' progress with a fine third on 83 minutes, bursting clear on the left to finish clinically once more.
Fulham played well, always seeking to build from the back but will regret giving the Actonians attack chances from turnovers. The home side also impressed with their work rate to deny Fulham time and space and earn a place in Monday's draw, where they were paired with fellow Division One South East side AFC Wimbledon.
Actonians Ladies: Naomi Swift, Simone Wan, Catherine Murphy, Lafe Uche, Michaela Lopes, Naomi Graham, Meila D'Santos, Molly O'Reilly, Justine Buckmire-Munro, Alessandra Barreca, Carla Williams. Subs: Rhiannon Ishmael, Jennifer Laidlaw, Stephaine Le, Jessica Byrne.
Fulham: Emma Marlow, Tessa Allen, Megalio Mendes, Mary Southgate, Rachel Woodland, Rebecca Jefferies, Lilly Lambird, Sophie Hudson, Bianca Underhill, Gemma Taylor, Lauren Peck. Subs: Casey Brady, Katie Foster, Ruth Goode, Ella Meehan, Lucie Wynn.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Lauren Peck attempts to challenge Michaela Lopes
(middle) Bianca Underhill takes on Rhiannon Ishmael
(bottom) Catherine Murphy clears away from Lilly Lambrick
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