FA Cup shootout delight for Saints

By SFC Media Sun 01 Dec Womens Team
Photo by Isabelle Field

Southampton FC Women battled hard to reach the third round of the Women's FA Cup, with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over higher league opposition Yeovil Town.

Saints scored all five of their penalties after a tight half an hour of extra-time; Shannon Albuery, Shannon Sievwright, Rachel Panting, Ella and Caitlin Morris the brave takers.

During the 90 minutes Saints more than matched their third-tier opposition, both going forward and when containing sustained Yeovil attacks.

The 62nd minute saw the visitors take the lead through Alisha Ware, who, one-on-one found the keeper’s bottom left-hand corner to put her side deservedly into the lead.

With the clock ticking down and Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s side looked strong, and as such, it took a spectacular goal from nowhere to hand Yeovil a lifeline.

The Glovers’ skipper Annie Heatherson hit a speculative effort from range which somehow found the top corner of Saints' net minutes before the final whistle.

It was an evenly contested start to the match, much like the majority of the meeting between the two sides seven days prior.

Just shy of the 20-minute mark Saints’ first real chance arrived; a set piece floated in towards the back post, which was headed towards goal by Sophia Pharoah, forcing a good save.

Ella Pusey had a couple of first-half chances.

The home side went close three minutes later, Charlotte Buxton hitting one from range which fizzed past Sara Luce’s right-hand post. 

It was the hosts who grew into the game as the half wore on, Luce busy again in the 30th minute, scrambling an effort off the line.

Saints always threatened on the break, however. Pusey was sent through after 33 minutes and forced a good point-blank save from Yeovil keeper Beth Howard.

The chance of the half soon followed after 35 minutes; Pharoah slipping in Pusey one-on-one but her effort was matched once more by Howard.

With less than two minutes before the break, and momentum beginning to turn once more, Saints had yet another glorious opportunity to take the lead.

Ware was played through by Pharoah with the visitors coming forward in numbers; taking the shot on she couldn’t find the target from close range from a tight angle.

Ella Morris remained a threat down the wing.

Saints came out for the second half firing; Kirsty Whitton and Pusey enjoying promising efforts, which both flew narrowly over.

After 55 minutes Freeland was a toe away from skipping past Howard and giving Saints the lead, thanks a through ball from Ware on the left wing.

On the hour mark, another big chance; Morris with a perfectly executed ball which Pusey could not connect with under pressure at the back post.

In the 62nd minute, Saints deservedly broke the deadlock; Ware played through brilliantly by Pharoah and finishing - whilst using strength to shield off the defender - into the keeper’s bottom left-hand corner.

Alisha Ware celebrates with her teammates.

The hosts struggled to break down the stubborn Saints defence following the opener.

Saints nearly sealed it twelve minutes from time, with Howard rushing out of her box to close down Kelly Fripp, who had her effort turned off the line.

Seconds later Saints came close again as substitute Shannon Albuery hit an shot on the half volley, which was well saved by the busy Howard.

Saints stood strong during the majority of the remaining second half minutes, but, punishingly, couldn’t add to their goal tally.

Agonisingly late in the tie this would come back to haunt them. In second-half stoppage time Yeovil skipper Heatherson fired from distance, beating Luce for sheer pace.

Marieanne Spacey-Cale overseeing a strong Saints performance.

Extra-time continued in the same fashion; both sides battling to get ahead but Saints shading the chances.

Captain Sievwright hit a long range in the 95th minute, which Howard somehow got a hand to.

Two minutes later E.Morris worked Howard, firing a fierce drive from the right flank with the keeper had to scramble for.

It would be harder for Saints to come any closer without scoring, but in the 99th minute that is exactly what happened; Panting fizzing a cross towards Albuery, which the forward thundered against the post.

The second period of extra time was cagey to say the least, as both sides started to feel the effects of fatigue in the freezing temperatures.

Ware had a huge chance to get her second of the game, and what would have undoubtedly been the decider in the 115th minute, but again Howard intervened.

Neither side could force a winner, so it was down to penalties.

Shannon Sievwright makes no mistake with her penalty.

Albuery was first to take, and slotted home with ease following Heatherson's successful opening penalty for Yeovil. 

Skipper Sievwright followed suit, before the hosts' Alexis Bussell hit the crossbar on their second spot-kick. 

From there, Saints were nothing short of clinical; Panting and both Morris sisters converting their efforts to seal a third round berth - their best FA Cup showing to date.

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