ASCOT WOMEN EDGE OUT WOKING IN LEAGUE CUP

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Southern Region Women's Football League - SRWFL

Yellawomen play their cards right in shoot-out success

Ascot United Women began 2024 with victory as they edged out lower-tier Woking on penalties in their restaged league cup tie. The tie was ordered to be replayed after the original game had wrongly gone to extra time instead of straight to spot-kicks, and this game duly went to penalties – which The Yellawomen won 3-1 – following an equally tight ninety minutes that had ended 3-3.

Decent start for Ascot but Woking come back into it

The game was only ten minutes old when Ascot took the lead, Laura Moss’s fine pass over the top set Dom Carrington free down the left, and she duly cut in and fired a shot that struck the crossbar before Alix Todd prodded home the loose ball.

The Cardinals were masters of their own undoing five minutes later when they lost possession attempting to play out of their own penalty area; Kate Fox showing no mercy in rifling an unstoppable effort into the left.

Todd was forced off with injury early-on and her replacement Claire Couzens was fouled as she looked to have escaped down the right – although the referee awarded nothing – as he also did at the other end when Kaitlin Howard’s cross struck Moss’s hand in the penalty area.

But as Woking grew into the game they found a goal of their own on the half-hour mark; Sheena Nichol’s cross-shot from right of goal fizzed across Roz Markham and in off the foot of the left-hand post.

Carrington’s shot was saved by Woking ‘keeper Amy Jenkins shortly before the break after she had raced onto Jess Drage’s pass, but it remained 2-1 at the break.

Topsy-turvy second half sees Woking stay in hunt

Nichol and Howard both had decent sighters for Woking in the opening stages of the second half, but they eventually found an equaliser in the 57th minute after overpowering Ascot in midfield and spraying the ball out wide for Helen Ogle. Ogle’s low shot was well tipped-away by Markham, but only as far as Charlotte Keenan who had the easiest of tap-ins to bring her side level.

The Yellawomen then raised their game again and Carrington struck the bar after Erin Huntley had turned provider, although in one of the moves of the game Amelia Kimble’s sublime pass would carve the home side open; Philippa Holden running onto the ball before slotting into the bottom left with seven minutes remaining to make it 3-2 to the visitors.

It might have been game over moment later when Izzy Woods and Carrington were involved for Kimble to see her first-time shot palmed away by Jenkins, but incredibly the never-say-die hosts won a free kick in the 90th minute which Nichol thumped through a crowd of players and into the roof of the net to level it up once again; penalties would ensue.

Battle of wills but Ascot are spot on with spot kicks

Manager Will Blithing had earlier thrown both Tiff Skinner and Todd back on with one minute of the three added stoppage time minutes remaining; a move that would pay dividends as they were amongst the nominated penalty takers.

Nichol stepped up first for Woking and fired over before Holden found the top left for Ascot. Howard then skied her penalty even higher over the bar than Nichol as Woking missed again before Skinner cooly rolled home her side’s second effort into the bottom right. Ogle hammered her effort into the roof of the net to give Woking a glimmer of hope, but the glimmer was almost extinguished when Todd found the top left; three perfect penalties to lead 3-1, and Woking needed to score next.

Sadly for them, they didn’t – Laura Mitchell clattered the bar – and that was that for the plucky Division 1 outfit as Ascot won with two penalties to spare.

What’s next for Ascot?

A week off and then the 2024 league programme commences with Winchester City Flyers’ visit on January 21st.

Entertainment: 3

Reporter’s Star Player: Philippa Holden (Ascot United). Another sterling performance with a goal in normal time and a well-taken penalty.

Ascot United: Markham, Luckhurst-McCord, Drage, Moss, Fox, Holden, Robertson, Todd, Kimble, Carrington, Skinner. Subs (rolling): Huntley, Richardson-Taylor, Couzens, Woods

Attendance (estimate): 50 (10 away)

Scorers: Todd 10’, Fox 15’, Holden 83’)

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