Town ladies win an FA Cup classic on penalties
- Credit: Archant
Women’s FA Cup Second Round Stevenage Ladies 1 Ipswich Town Ladies 1 aet (Town won 3-0 on pens) Ipswich Town Ladies battled through a dramatic FA Cup tie against Stevenage, claiming their place in the draw for the Third Round in a penalty shoot-out, writes Kieren Standley.
The game had finished 1-1 after extra-time following 120 minutes of tense end to end football.
Despite some early chances for both sides, it was the Hertfordshire club who took the lead. Amy Makewell brought the ball down inside the area, beating two Town defenders in the process, and fired high past Blues keeper Sian Fagg.
The visitors responded with a couple of decent chances late in the first half. First, Lindsey Cooper headed wide from Amanda Crump’s corner, then Natasha Thomas stabbed wide from Zoe Cossey’s low cross just before the break.
After the restart, the Tractor Girls came out of the traps flying, with Cooper again going close with a header, then Crump was unlucky to see her close range shot go wide after Stevenage stopper Katherine Long fumbled the ball in the six yard box.
Just after the hour mark, Ipswich manager Ralph Pruden made a tactical switch, deploying a 4-3-3 formation as opposed to the common 4-4-2 system the Blues usually operate with.
The decision to move Jordan Arnoup into a midfield three alongside Crump and Craddock, with Natasha Thomas leading the line on her own, seemed to be a tactical master stroke as Town started to get a foothold in the game.
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Thomas would soon take the glory as she towered high to meet Crump’s corner and headed home with power, to deservedly level the game for the Blues.
The two sides couldn’t be separated in ninety minutes and so the game went to extra time.
And the hosts could have won it deep into second half had it not been for two outstanding saves from Ipswich custodian Fagg, who showed her agility to tip two dangerous high shots over the bar.
So the dreaded penalty shootout was needed. Fortunately for the Blues, the home side’s bottle seemed to have gone as they missed two of their penalties, with Fagg saving the other for Town.
Arnoup, Thomas and Moore all stepped up for Ipswich and held their nerve to calmly dispatch their spot kicks.
The Blues are next in action this Sunday as they return to league action at home against Haringey Borough at The Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe, kick-off 2pm.
- Town will play Charlton at home in the Fourth Round.