Loughborough Foxes FC 1 Lewes Ladies FC 1 AET
(Foxes win 6-5 on penalties)
SSE Women’s FA Cup 3rd Round
Lewes were denied a first appearance in the 4th round proper of the Women’s FA Cup, first by a lick of paint and then in the cruellest fashion. Manager John Donoghue had warned his players they could expect a tight contest, and so it proved on a bitterly cold afternoon in Leicestershire.
Both teams took time to get going, the hosts first into their stride with Lewes fighting a rearguard action to keep them out. Lane, Wells and the outstanding McIntyre wrestled possession and initiative for the visitors. On 12 minutes Lewes scored. Dolbear cleared long, Dani Lane raced onto the ball to lash home the run. 0-1.
Loughborough rallied, Tugby forcing a fine save from Dolbear. Lock went close as the sides traded corners before, on the stroke of half time, the home side drew level. Carter and Dolbear thought each other had it covered and Moore took full advantage, dancing in to score. HT 1-1
The second half was an equally close affair. Louis-Joseph replaced Walder, providing Lewes with more cut and thrust. Both sides created half-chances before both physios were kept busy by knocks to McIntyre and Chambers, the latter forced off on 70 minutes, replaced by Giampala.
Natasha Wells had the ball in the net for Lewes, denied by the assistant’s flag. On 76 minutes Louis-Joseph rattled the crossbar with a thunderous effort, Lane and Lock pushing up to threaten, as the visitors looked the more likely. Loughborough made a double change before McIntyre almost settled it with a stunning free kick that somehow managed to whistle past the post. Momenst later she came even closer, striking the bar with almost the last kick of the 90 minutes. FT 1-1
Extra time provided more of the same. Wells went close before Baldock replaced Lock. As both sides tired, fouls and injuries broke up play. McIntyre, a rock for 120 minutes, went down with cramp and that was that. FT AET 1-1.
Penalties are a cruel way to settle such a close contest. After eleven converted spot-kicks McIntyre stepped up to send her shot agonisingly wide and Loughborough were through. Harsh on Lewes who to a player played with great heart ands passion, and on McIntyre who had lead her team heroically for much of the match.
Good luck to the Foxes who now take on the Lionesses of Millwall in Round Four. Lewes look to restart their league campaign, at home to QPR on Sunday 28th February, and to build on this solid performance.
Lewes MvP: Katie McIntyre. Gave everything for her side.
Loughborough Foxes FC
Edwards, Thackray, Langley, McCloughlin, Bramley, Chambers, Steele, Brackenbury, Pilling, Moore, Tugby
Subs: Giampala, Matthews, Reddish, Chandarana, Rudkin
Lewes Ladies FC
Dolbear, West, Carter, Larkin, Palmer, McIntyre, Newton, Wells, Walder, Lane, Lock
Bench: (Julia) Louis-Joseph, Baldock, Ramsauer
Report Ashley Head.