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(abandoned after 78 minutes)>
Southampton Women 0 Crystal Palace 3
(abandoned after 78 minutes)
Crystal Palace and Southampton Women's F C await a verdict on their abandoned Women's FA Cup Fourth Round tie at Romsey Town FC's By-Pass ground.
Steady rain since late morning had not prevented the match starting in reasonable conditions but after the break ever increasing amounts had fallen with puddles forming in much of the central area of the playing surface and referee Chloe-Ann Anderson took the decision to call a halt around the 78 minute mark.
Crystal Palace were firmly in control of the tie, leading by three goals to nil against opponents from two leagues below them courtesy of two from Ashleigh Goddard and a wonderful debut effort by Siobhan Wilson. It was a good professional display by the Championship side against an FAWNL Division One South West club which had battled through four rounds to reach this stage.
The presence of the FA Women's Cup itself on display in the clubhouse and the attendance of a player from the first ever final, 1971 Cup winner and hat-trick scorer Pat Davies, sharing some fascinating memorabilia of the early days of the competition, gave the match a sense of occasion and both teams did their best to live up to the billing.
Palace made much of the early running but were kept at bay by the Southampton defence for the first 25 minutes. A long ball through the middle then gave Magda Mosengo the space to play in Goddard to finish past Rose Kite. Shortly after, a corner was cleared to the right edge of the area where Wilson measured a perfect left foot shot on the turn high into the far top corner for a stunning Palace second.
Southampton responded well to this double setback and Kellie Warren forced a good save by Lucy Gillett after a spell of pressure close to the break.
Kite made a fine save from a free kick on the restart but was unable to deal with a low Goddard shot a few minutes later as Palace extended their lead on 54 minutes. Palace created other decent chances but Southampton produced some excellent last ditch defending, Lauren Cheshire throwing herself at one particularly fierce effort just after the hour.
By now, conditions were visibly worsening, with the ball sticking in puddles and player struggling to keep their footing in the middle of the pitch. For reasons of player safety and with no sign of a let up in the downpour, the match official decided to halt the match.
Since this report was written, the decision has been taken by the FA to replay the tie this coming Sunday. The winners will be at home to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Southampton Women: Rose Kite, Lauren Cheshire, Hannah Samuels, Philippa Holden, Gracie White, Kellie Warren, Erin Bloomfield, Charlie Taylor, Jane Yeates, Lauren Clark, Laura Vokes. Subs: Emily Wernham, Phoebe Eccles, E-J May, Lucy Mear, Kayleigh Tonks, Tia Hooper, Emily Paines.
Crystal Palace: Lucy Gillett, Annabel Johnson, Siobhan Wilson, Hannah MacKenzie, Leeta Rutherford, Andria Georgiou, Amber Stobbs, Ashleigh Goddard, Magda Mosengo, Bianca Baptiste, Cherelle Khassal. Subs: Emma Gibbon, Liz Waldie, Amy Goddard, Beau Parker, Amy Taylor, Charlie Goad.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Kellie Warren tries to block a shot from Magda Mosengo
(middle) Erin Bloomfield is challenged by Annabel Johnson
(bottom) Hannah McKenzie under pressure from Jane Yeates
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