Yellawomen make history with 4-0 win
Ascot United Ladies advanced to the Vitality Women’s FA Cup First Round for the first time in their history with an ultimately comfortable win over Oxford City Ladies on Sunday afternoon. After establishing a slender half-time lead, Ascot resisted early second half pressure from the visitors, before Sarah Davern scored an injury-time stunner to cap a memorable afternoon for Darrel Evans’ side
After an even opening quarter of an hour, Ascot broke the deadlock in the 16th minute. Davern did well to win a corner, and from her resultant delivery Kelly Rideout got enough on a header to beat Iona Ffrench-Adam in the visitors’ goal.
But the visitors might have drawn level had it not been for Lisa Phillips, who made a brace of good saves to thwart City’s Christina Hadjiyianni. First, she was at full stretch to deny the lively forward when clean through, before producing another save to claw away the same player’s volley.
Ascot came close to extending their lead in the 24th minute in a heart-stopping moment for City defender Georgia Slater. After Nicole Brown had raced onto Sarah Leonard’s pass and seen her shot well-saved by Ffrench-Adam, the ball cannoned back off Brown’s head and bounced towards the centre of the goal only for Slater to produce a clumsy but effective goal-line clearance.
After a scrappy spell for both sides, the hosts’ Izzy Woods tried her luck from distance two minutes before the break, but Ffrench-Adam was well placed to pluck the effort out of the air.
After the interval, City’s best player – Ellie White – tracked back superbly to deny Leonard who looked odds-on to score, before seeing her own direct free kick sail over at the other end.
Nicole Brown then won a penalty for the hosts only to see her own effort cannon back off the bar, although it was only a minute later when she clipped home with the outside of her right foot after good work from Alix Todd and Leonard in the build-up.
Slater’s brilliant challenge for Oxford would deny Leonard again before White threatened again at the other end only to elect to take her shot early when clean through, allowing Phillips the chance to make an easy save.
But Evans’ tactical change after 73 minutes would ultimately seal the victory. Replacing Leonard with Hayley Cruikshanks looked a bold move, but eight minutes later her brilliant first touch from Brown’s cross bamboozled her marker, before she coolly slotted into the bottom left to make it 3-0.
Incredibly, that goal came with Ascot down to ten following Woods’ exit with cramp – Emma Hutton would later replace her – before fellow substitute Georgia Luckhurst-McCord came close to converting Davern’s wicked left-wing corner.
But after Phillips had made a late save and then watched Kim Slessor volley over from the resultant corner, the stage was set for Davern’s late masterpiece. Driving forwards, she ploughed through one tackle, got her head down and then unleashed an unstoppable long range thunderbolt into the top left hand corner with the last kick of the game.
The Yellawomen will now await Monday’s first round draw as tier three sides enter the competition.
Ascot United: Phillips, Townsend, Roche, Todd, Rideout, Woods (Hutton), Vince (Luckhurst-McCord), Thraves, Leonard (Cruikshanks), Brown, Davern. Sub unused: Henderson
Attendance: 70 (estimate)
Reporter’s home MOM: Alix Todd – solid in the middle, linked the play up well and helped create a couple of goals
Reporters away MOM: Ellie White – dangerous and inventive, tracked back superbly and her energy deserved a goal