In an entertaining end-to-end affair that went all the way to extra-time and then penalties, TNS Ladies’ dream finally came to an end this afternoon. The dreaded penalty shoot-out – although working out for Andy William’s side in an earlier round at Sporting Khalsa Ladies – this time sadly it wasn’t to be.
With just the one penalty saved by the Chichester City Ladies’ keeper, the others from both teams were converted, ensuring the final score was 5-4 to the Sussex side.
In the 32nd minute The New Saints Ladies went into the lead. Kim Bebbington took advantage of defensive confusion as she got her head to a ball played in, which then made its way into the unguarded goal. 1-0
The visitors equalised with six gone in the second period, courtesy of Cherelle Khassal. Racing down the left she made her way in the box and planted the ball over Stacey Garnham into the corner of the goal. 1-1
During the second period of extra-time, an injury to the Chichester captain, Emma Alexandre, resulted in a lengthy delay while an ambulance made its way to Park Hall. We wish Emma all the best.
Full match report by David Figg:
THE NEW SAINTS LADIES 1-1 CHICHESTER CITY LADIES
(AET: 90MINS 1-1 – CHICHESTER CITY LADIES WON 5-4 ON PENALTIES)
SSE FA WOMEN’S CUP 4TH ROUND PROPER
PLAYED AT PARK HALL STADIUM, OSWESTRY
SUNDAY 4TH FEBRUARY 2018
The New Saints Ladies team’s hopes of further FA Women’s Cup glory are over after their dreams of reaching the last 16 of the competition were dashed in the most cruel way by a penalty shoot-out defeat at home to Chichester City Ladies in their 4th Round Proper tie on a dramatic afternoon in front of a crowd of over 200 at Park Hall Stadium on Sunday.
Saints went into the game on the back of an 8 match winning run in all competitions that had left them in 2nd place in the FA Women’s Premier League Midlands Division 1 table, just 2 points behind Loughborough Foxes Women.
Meanwhile, Chichester had gone into Sunday’s tie with a record of 5 wins, 4 draws and 4 defeats from their 13 league games so far to leave the West Sussex side in 6th place out of 12 in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division, one level above Saints.
The first serious chance of note came City’s way in the 8th minute when Cherelle Khassal broke into the left of the box beating 2 defenders before crossing to the far post where Jenna Fowlie sent her right foot shot from 8 yards wide of Saints keeper Stacey Garnham’s left hand post.
Then at the same end in the 12th minute, Fowlie’s free kick from the left to the far post found Lauren Cheshire, whose right foot half volley was blocked.
Just 13 seconds later (now in the 13th minute), City went close again when Khassal’s ball into the box from the left found Jess Lewry, who sent her right foot shot inches over the bar.
Saints weathered the early storm and their first chance of note came in the 25th minute when Chloe Wilkinson’s corner from the left found Kim Bebbington who sent her header wide of City keeper Sadie Wilson-Blakely’s right hand post.
Then just into the 33rd minute, Saints took the lead when, from a long ball down the middle by Laura Morris, City defender Cheshire and keeper Wilson-Blakeley looked to deal with it but the hovering Bebbington got the slightest of touches to send her header into the keeper’s right hand corner.
City went close with 14 seconds of normal time remaining at the end of the first half when Jade Widdows’ free kick from the right to the far post saw Tiff Taylor get a touch to see her shot go across goal and past Garnham’s left hand post.
The first chance of note in the second half saw City equalise in the 51st minute when Chloe Tucker’s low long ball down the left found Khassal who ran on and beat Wilkinson on her way into the box before firing her low right foot shot across goal and into Garnham’s left hand corner.
City went close in the 54th minute when Khassal ran forward before sending her right foot shot from 25 yards over the bar.
The visitors went even closer a minute later when Khassal’s shot looked to be heading into the roof of the net till she was denied by a great save from Garnham for a corner.
City made their first change in the 61st minute when Sophie Phelps came on to replace Fowlie before the visitors went close in the 63rd minute when Tucker’s right foot shot from 25 yards towards Garnham’s right hand corner was clawed away by the keeper for a corner.
Saints then made a double change in the 70th minute when Sara Bengtsson came on for Sophie Edwards and Sarah Jackson came on for Bebbington.
A great chance came City’s way in the 77th minute when Tucker’s great through ball down the middle found Khassal who ran on before having her right foot shot brilliantly saved by Garnham. The rebound fell to Khassal whose shot was saved by Garnham before the ball fell to Lewry, whose shot was blocked by the defence.
The visitors went close again in the 84th minute when Khassal made a great run down the right to the byeline before crossing to Alex Collighan, whose right foot shot from the edge of the box hit the outside of Garnham’s left hand post.
With the score still level at the end of normal time, extra time was needed to try and find a winner.
The first chance of note in extra time came City’s way in the 98th minute when a long ball down the wing found Collighan but with both Widdows and Lewry waiting, the cross was cleared.
Saints made their final change seconds later when Steph Taylor replaced Wilkinson.
A chance came City’s way in the 105th minute when Tucker launched a long ball upfield for Khassal but Garnham came confidently off her line to blast clear.
City went close to grabbing a late winner in the 108th minute when Collighan’s cross from the right found Lewry, whose header at the near post was parried up onto the bar by Garnham.
Then deep into the 5th minute of the second half of extra time, City captain Emma Alexandre suffered a nasty head injury in a collision. Play was suspended while she was treated during which her concussion caused her to drift in and out of consciousness while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
The players were meanwhile taken off into the dressing rooms and after an eventual total stoppage of 29 and a half minutes when Alexandre was stretchered off, play resumed with Alice Bloomfield replacing her in the 110th minute. Alexandre was taken to hospital in Shrewsbury where she later had a CT scan, which thankfully gave her the all clear and she is now resting at home.
City went close in the 111th minute when a great move ended with Lewry’s ball into the box find Khassal who rounded Garnham but took it too far and her effort was blocked.
The last chance of note came City’s way in the 115th minute when a square ball found Khassal on the edge of the box who ran forward before curling her shot wide.
With the score still level at the end of extra time, it was down to the dreaded penalties to find a winner.
Saints went first and after captain Charlotte Canlett scored her kick, Widdows equalised before Lia Lewis put Saints 2-1 up. Laura Ingram levelled for City and after phoebe Davies had put Saints 3-2 up, Cheshire equalised to make it 3-3.
Keeper Garnham put Saints 4-3 up and after Becky Barron had levelled it at 4-4, Saints’ Emily Ridge agonisingly had her kick saved to leave Lewry to score the winning penalty and send the visitors through to the next round.
It was tough on Saints who had played so well not only on the day but to reach this stage in the first place. It was the furthest Saints had ever got in the FA Women’s Cup and every single player should hold their head up high and be very proud of what they have achieved for the club to create many exciting memories along the way.
Saints: Stacey Garnham, Louisa Anderson, Katy Huntbach, Chloe Wilkinson, Lia Lewis, Laura Morris, Emily Ridge, Charlotte Canlett, Kim Bebbington, Phoebe Davies, Sophie Davies. Subs: Steph Taylor (for Wilkinson 99), Sophie Edwards (for Sophie Davies 70), Lisa Stevenson (not used), Sarah Jackson (for Bebbington 70), Sara Bengtsson (for Edwards 70).
Chichester: Sadie Wilson-Blakeley, Lauren Cheshire, Emma Alexandre, Tiff Taylor, Jade Widdows, Jenna Fowlie, Cherelle Khassal, Jess Lewry, Alex Collighan, Chloe Tucker, Becky Barron. Subs: Sophie Phelps (for Fowlie 61), Laura Ingram (not used), Ellis Bloomfield (for Alexandre 110), Alice Walford (not used), Poppy Shine (GK) (not used.
Saints will be hoping to bounce back from their defeat by Chichester when they travel to Shifnal Town Ladies in the quarter final of the Tom Farmer Shropshire Women’s Cup on Sunday (11th February).
The match is due to be played at Shifnal’s Phoenix Park Ground, Coppice Green Lane, Shifnal but please note the earlier than normal kick off time of 1.30pm.