TNS Ladies Create Their Own Personal Women’s FA Cup History







The New Saints Ladies are through to the 3rd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup for the first time ever in the club’s history after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win away to FA Premier League Midlands Division 1 rivals Sporting Khalsa in their 2nd Round Proper clash at the University of Wolverhampton (Walsall Campus) on Sunday afternoon.

Saints went into the game on the back of a 5 match winning run in all competitions which had seen them open up a 2 point lead at the top of the table ahead of Loughborough Foxes Women.

Meanwhile, Sporting Khalsa went into Sunday’s tie on the back of 3 straight wins in all competitions in a total unbeaten run of 4 games which had seen them lying in 8th place out of 12 in the table.

The first chance came Khalsa’s way in just the 4th minute when Natalie Morton’s through ball found Becky Parsons who ran on before having her right foot shot from 18 yards well beaten out to her left by Saints keeper Stacey Garnham.

Then at the other end in the 8th minute, Saints went close when Sophie Edwards’s corner from the right found Charlotte Canlett who cut in from the right before having her low left foot shot from 20 yards blocked with her legs at her left hand post by Khalsa keeper Toni Parkes before the ball was cleared.

Khalsa went close just into the 13th minute when Sophie Richards’s long diagonal ball from middle to left found Lauren Walker who took a touch before having her right foot shot from 18 yards held at her right hand post by Garnham.

The hosts went close again in the 20th minute when Walker’s pass infield from the left found captain Julie Stirrup in the middle, whose ball found Kyrie ball inside the right of the box whose low right foot shot from a tight angle was held at her left hand post by Garnham.

Saints took the lead in the 23rd minute when Laura Morris’s throw in from the right found Canlett who took a touch and turned before seeing her cross find Emily Ridge, who combined with Kim Bebbington to work the ball to the edge of the box for Lia Lewis to send a terrific left foot strike from 20 yards into Parkes’s top right hand corner.

Khalsa equalised in the 31st minute when, from a throw in on the right, Lynsey Glover was given too much room to run forward before sending a through ball down the right to Stirrup, who crossed low to the far post where the unmarked Walker fired her right foot shot from 6 yards past Garnham into the roof of the net.

Saints went close to regaining the lead in the 43rd minute when Canlett’s corner from the right found Bebbington, whose header towards the far post saw Ridge only just fail to get a touch.

Khalsa went close 43 seconds into added time at the end of the half when Ball’s corner from the right found Megan Wilton whose header on found Morton inside the left of the box, whose left foot shot from 12 yards was tipped onto the bar by Garnham before the ball dropped to Saints defender Hannah Yates who cleared.

Khalsa went 2-1 up in the 47th minute when Ball’s cross from the right found Morton whose shot from inside the box hit Saints defender Louisa Anderson on the arm from point blank range, Walsall referee Jodie Prince harshly said penalty and Glover stepped up to send the resulting spot kick into Garnham’s right hand corner.

Saints had a great chance to equalise in the 57th minute when Morris’s cross from the right was spilled by Parkes and Bebbington slid in but sent her right foot shot from 6 yards agonisingly over the bar.

Saints went close again in the 62nd minute when Canlett’s free kick from just outside the left front of the box was saved to her left by Parkes with the ball dropping to Bebbington who fluffed her right foot shot from 4 yards and the chance was lost.

Saints made their first change in the 63rd minute when Sarah Jackson came on for Bebbington.

Khalsa went close in the 67th minute when Walker’s cross from the right found Walker who controlled before having her shot blocked.

The hosts went close twice in a matter of seconds in the 70th minute when a corner from the right found Morris whose powerful header from 12 yards was saved by Garnham with the ball falling to Walker, whose header was held by Garnham.

Saints made their second change in the 71st minute when Sophie Davies came on to replace Morris before making their final substitution in the 78th minute when Chloe Wilkinson came on to replace Edwards.

A good chance came Saints’ way in the 82nd minute when Canlett’s through ball on the left found Jackson who ran on before sending her right foot shot from 16 yards not far wide of Parkes’s left hand post.

With time gradually running out and it looking for all the world as though Saints were on their way out, they equalised in the 84th minute when Canlett’s long ball over the top from left to middle found Ridge, who fired a superb left foot half volley from 20 yards into Parkes’s right hand corner for a stunning strike to give the visitors a lifeline.

Khalsa made their first change of the afternoon in the 86th minute when Melody Lewis came on to replace Becky Parsons.

Saints had a great chance to win it in the 87th minute when a poor defensive clearance by the hosts hit Canlett who took a touch before seeing her right foot shot from 12 yards drop agonisingly just wide of Parkes’s left hand post.

With the 4th official having indicated a minimum of 4 minutes added time to be played at the end, the last action came just under 3 minutes into added time when Khalsa made their second change with Steph Speck coming on to replace Glover.

There were a total of 7 minutes added time and with the score still level, extra time was needed to try and find a winner.

Khalsa made their final change in the 95th minute with Jodie Lewis coming on for Richards.

Then in the 99th minute, Parkes was shown a yellow card after being adjudged by assistant referee Andrew Lawrance to have handled the ball outside the box with Canlett sending the resulting free kick over the bar.

The only other chance of note in the first half of extra time came Saints’ way in the 104th minute when Ridge’s ball over the top down the middle left Jackson in a one on one with Parkes but Jackson’s right foot shot from 10 yards was held by the Khalsa keeper.

There were no chances of note for either side in the second half of extra time and the final blast of referee Prince’s whistle after almost a minute and a quarter of added time at the end confirmed it was down to the dreaded penalties to decide the winners.

Khalsa won the toss and put Saints in first and after Garnham had scored her kick, Ball levelled for the hosts.

Canlett put Saints 2-1 up and after one time Saints player Steph Kydd sent her kick over the bar, Sophie Davies scored her kick to put Saints 3-1 up and on the brink.

Walker also fired her kick over the bar to leave Phoebe Davies to score her kick to make it 4-1 and send Saints through.

It was tough on Khalsa to go out in such heart-breaking fashion after such a thrilling game which had seen both sides give their all to give the spectators of both sides their money’s worth.

However, it is Saints who march on to the 3rd Round Proper for the very first time in the club’s history.

Khalsa: Toni Parkes, Gurjit Dulay, Lynsey Glover, Sophie Richards, Steph Kydd, Megan Wilton, Lauren Walker, Kyrie Ball, Becky Parsons, Julie Stirrup, Natalie Morris.  Subs: Steph Speck (for Glover 90+3), Jodie Lewis (for Richards 95), Melody Lewis (for Parsons 86).

Saints: Stacey Garnham, Hannah Yates, Louisa Anderson, Kate Huntbach, Lia Lewis, Laura Morris, Sophie Edwards, Emily Ridge, Charlotte Canlett, Kim Bebbington, Phoebe Davies.  Subs: Delyth Morgan (GK) (not used), Sara Bengtsson (not used), Sarah Jackson (for Bebbington 63), Chloe Wilkinson (for Edwards 78), Sophie Morris (for Morris 71).

The draw for the 3rd Round Proper was made on Monday afternoon and The New Saints have been given an away tie against Newcastle United Women.

Newcastle are in the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division 1 (the same level as Saints who are in the Midlands Division 1) but they are not having the best of seasons.

At the time of writing, The Magpies are currently in 10th place out of 12 with a record of 2 wins, 2 draws and 4 defeats to leave them 2 points ahead of next to bottom Leeds United but with 4 games in hand over the Yorkshire side.

If Saints can continue their current good form which has seen them top the table, it appears on the face of it to be a winnable tie for Andy WIlliams’s side who are capable of beating anyone on their day so who knows what might happen?

The tie is due to be played on Sunday 7th January at Newcastle University (Cochrane Park Centre for Physical Recreation), Etherstone Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne with a 1.00pm kick off.

Manager, Andy Williams, commented immediately after the game:
“Coming into the game we knew how difficult it was going to be and how hard we would need to work if we wanted to get ourselves into tomorrow’s draw.
We had a clear game plan to stop Khalsa and although we fell behind I think it worked.
Although it was a disappointing penalty to concede for many reasons, nevertheless the response from my players was superb. They showed their spirit and desire in not letting this golden opportunity pass by.
For a relatively new club like ours to make the 3rd round proper of the SEE Women’s FA Cup for the first time is a huge step forward and an achievement I hope the players can be proud of; I am certainly proud of them and all connected with the team.”


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