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Penalty joy for Ladies in FA Cup

Ladies overcome Wantage in SSE Womens' FA Cup preliminary round.

28 August 2018

Blues will meet Ascot this Sunday.

Wantage Town Ladies 2 – 2 Wycombe Wanderers Ladies (1-3 on pens)
SSE Women’s FA Cup Preliminary Round
26th August 2018
Author: Sam Hayward (Assistant Manager)

A gruelling afternoon in testing conditions saw Wycombe Wanderers Ladies proceed to the first qualifying round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup for the first time but only after being taken to a penalty shootout by Wantage Town Ladies of the Thames Valley Counties Women's Football League.

Driving wind and rain suggested a scrappy affair would be served up at Wantage’s Alfredian Park home and the first 10 minutes proved just that with Wycombe struggling to control the game in the way you’d expect from their higher league status.

With a number of players absent, Wanderers lined up in a fluid 4-4-2 and gave competitive starts to summer signings Alix Todd, Holly Hussey-Burd and Nicole Jacobs and the early signs that they’d be tested by Wantage’s direct play.

Around the 15th minute mark Wycombe started to get joy down the left hand side, playing out from the back with left-back Dean and Todd combining well to get the ball to the by-line on several occasions, with the final ball often not reaching the intended target in the middle.

Wycombe controlled possession for the majority of the first half with Messitt and Barette taking hold of the midfield as the home team were pegged back in their own half and finally established the lead that their dominance deserved. More good work down Wycombe’s left ended with Alix Todd scoring her first goal for the club as her cross-come-shot found the top corner of the Wantage goal.

With five minutes to go until the break, Wanderers just needed to see the first half out but some sloppy defending let the home side back in.  A long throw led to confusion in the Wycombe penalty area and the ball was struck home past the despairing Whitmee in the away side’s goal.

The second half started in much the same way as the first, with Wycombe attempting to get the ball down and play whilst being wary of being caught by the long balls over the top from the Wantage defence. Within a few minutes however, Wycombe started to dominate possession once more and began to turn the screw on the battling home team.

Tara Woodward and debutant Hussey-Burd were combining well in the centre of the field and the midfield of Barette and Messitt were able to take more time on the ball that they had previously. Notable was the space that Jacobs was spared as she brought the ball out of defence, often pushing right up towards the Wantage penalty area unchallenged. The home team were sitting very deep.

Inniss was replaced towards the end of the second half by Mill and the breakthrough finally came as Woodward calmly headed in an inviting cross to surely win the game for the Southern Regional Women’s Football League side. Not so, as again Wantage struck back almost immediately. A long hopeful ball was played forward and another mix-up in the Wycombe defence saw the Wantage winger round Whitmee and slot the ball in. Jacobs picking up an injury as she slid in, heroically attempting to stop the ball crossing the line.

That led to extra time, with legs weary and frustrations high it was 30 minutes of fairly frantic football. Full-back Newberry, who had ran herself in to the ground for the away team, was replaced by Wycombe’s fourth debutant of the day, attacker Yasmin Knock, as they pressed for the winner. It wasn’t to come however, and the game went all the way to penalties in which Wycombe with Whitmee proving the hero in goal and Woodward scoring the decisive spot kick.

Wycombe will host Ascot in the next round of the FA Cup, with kick-off at 2pm on Sunday 2nd September at Amersham and Wycombe College, Flackwell Heath, HP10 9HE.

Wycombe Wanderers: Whitmee, Dean, Jacobs, O’Neill, Newberry, Todd, Barette, Messitt, Inniss, Hussey-Burd, Woodward, Mill, Knock.

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