The Chairgirls travelled to south west London to face Fulham from the London and South East Regional Premier Division which is on the equivalent tier of the women’s football pyramid, in search of progression to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup which they achieved last season.
However, their day was spoiled by Fulham clinching what was to be the only goal of the game on 63 minutes following a free-kick which was fired into the near post area and neatly converted by a Fulham striker.
The first half saw a Wycombe squander several very good opportunities to break the deadlock the first of which fell to Rae Roberts who had timed her run superbly to meet a deft pass from Tara Woodward. Roberts strike flew tantalisingly close to the far post much to the relief of the Fulham keeper.
Fulham looked dangerous on the counter with some excellent through balls from Meehan at the centre of their defence. Wycombe had to combine all of their experience to repel the attacks they faced with youngster Amy Whale only having to make a couple of very routine saves.
The tempo of the game was high and there were some really good passages of play from both teams. Going in at half time, Wycombe were rueing their missed opportunities in what was a finely balanced affair.
Both sides came out firing, much of the play concentrated in the middle third. Wycombe had a chance to take the lead with Bisson breaking away down the left only to see her powerful near-post strike beaten away to safety by the Fulham keeper, Edie Kelly.
Disaster struck in the 63rd minute when a free kick was conceded on the left side of the Chairgirls defensive third. The resulting free kick was delivered with pace and met at the near post and tucked away to give Fulham the lead. The Chairgirls responded positively when two of their substitutes, Sian Riley-Phillips and Sam Jackson saw efforts cannon off the crossbar.
Riley-Phillips attacked a cross from Woodward and met the ball full bloodedly with keeper and defenders beaten only to hear the resounding thump off the bar. Jackson’s effort came from a free-kick from 25 yards which left keeper Kelly clutching fresh air as the venomous strike saw the cross bar rescue Fulham once again.
Fulham hung on resolutely for the win in what was a closely contested and very competitive game. They will go on to meet Maidenhead Utd in the next round. The Chairgirls, whilst disappointed by the result, will be encouraged by what was a very good all-round team performance and arguably deserved more from the game. What it does show is that it is the fine margins that count.
Next on the Chairgirls itinerary is a return to league action, their first of this season, with an away trip to nearby Woodley United next Sunday - 2pm ko.