Ascot United Ladies edged into the third and final qualifying round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup with a 3-1 victory over lower-tier Milton United on Sunday afternoon.
Darrel Evans’ side raced into a three-nil lead before half-time and might have run away with it against their SRWRL Division 1 hosts, but credit will go to the Oxfordshire side who plugged away and edged the second half, only to fall short with what proved to be a consolidation goal.
The game was only four minutes old when Ascot took the lead; an incredulous lob on the volley from Sarah Leonard, who reacted quickest to Dom Carrington’s ball over the top and looped an improvised effort at full stretch high and over home ‘keeper Vanessa Taylor.
Carrington was only denied a goal herself by a covering defender from Teya Uppal’s through ball eight minutes later, but it was 2-0 soon afterwards when Georgia Luckhurst-McCord’s cross was allowed to bounce across the hosts’ backline for the impressive Hannah Bennett to tap-in.
And, the visitors were in total control when they added a third in the 20th minute as Carrington smashed into the left hand corner; Hayley Cruickshanks having earlier threaded in Alix Todd whose shot eventually broke to Carrington.
At the other end, Lucie White made a good save to deny Charlotte Comley before half time, but home ‘keeper Taylor was also on hand to deny Leonard for Ascot before the break after Bennett had unlocked the defence with an excellent through-ball.
In the second half, Cruickshanks should have added a fourth from Leonard’s cross only to side-foot wide early-on, but it was a fabulous close-range save from Taylor that thwarted Leonard in the 55th minute; standing tall to somehow divert the lively Ascot striker’s close-range thunderbolt over.
Amazingly, young Ascot defender Chloe Connor’s towering header cannoned back off the angle of crossbar and post barely a minute later, but Milton never gave up and almost pulled a goal back when Mollie Dyer’s dipping long range effort brought a fine, back-pedalling save from White who tipped her effort over the bar.
Sarah Saunders should have done better when she fired over after Dyer’s cross had been parried away by White as Milton turned the screw, and they were finally rewarded in the 70th minute when Dyer – impressive throughout – buried the ball into the bottom right following a deep free kick.
White then clawed away Saunders’ wicked cross as the home side tried to set up a grandstand finale, but they never got within one goal of the Yellawomen who themselves went close to adding a late fourth only for Taylor – equally impressive in the hosts goal – to tip away Todd’s direct free kick.
The draw for the third qualifying round is on Monday.
Ascot United: White, Luckhurst-McCord, Connor, Bennett, Killick-Bird, Uppal, Carrington (Bowers), Todd, Leonard (Kimble), Cruickshanks, Davern.