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Match Reports

TOWN WOMEN REACH FA CUP QUARTER-FINALS

27 February 2022

Tractor Girls see off Saints with shootout win

Town Women reached the last eight of the Vitality Women's FA Cup for the first time in their history by overcoming Southampton on penalties on Sunday afternoon.

After a goalless 90 minutes, Anna Grey fired the Blues ahead in the 110th minute, before Saints 'keeper Kayla Rendell scored a miraculous last-gasp header to force a shootout.

A club-record 1,167 supporters watched on at the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe, with Joe Sheehan's side eventually winning 4-2 on penalties thanks to impressive stops from Blues goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill.

Chances were few and far between in what was a closely-fought contest, but the first opportunity did go the way of the hosts. Approaching the half-hour mark Abbie Lafayette played in a teasing free-kick, but the Saints backline managed to clear despite pressure from Town players.

Shortly after, Maddie Biggs managed to turn and play a low ball across the box, but no Blues players could reach it.

The second half played out much like the first, with strong battles in the middle of the park and no clear-cut chances for either side.

Sheehan made his first switch 22 minutes from time as Eloise King replaced Maddie Biggs, with the former putting the ball in the back of the net shortly after, only for the linesman's flag to be raised for offside.

Southampton had a good chance 10 minutes from time with a free-kick 20 yards out, but they fired well wide.

The hosts made two changes before the end of regular time as Anna Grey and Eva Hubbard replaces Lucy Egan and Natasha Thomas, the latter having struggled with an injury in the second half.

In the final moments, Lafayette put in a dangerous cross that looked as if it could catch Rendell out, but the ball drifted well wide and the referee blew the final whistle.

Following another cagey spell, the first period of extra-time saw little in the way of goalmouth action, before the game opened up slightly in the second period.

On 110, a loose ball found its way to Grey, who produced a lovely left-footed effort that found the top corner despite Rendell's best efforts as she got a hand to the strike.

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Town looked to close the game out but conceded a corner under Saints pressure. With nothing to lose, every Southampton player filled the box and it was goalkeeper Rendell who got up superbly to produce a looping header that beat Quantrill from the middle of the box.

The Blues were faultless in the shootout, though, with Lucy O'Brien, Issy Bryant, Zoe Barratt and Paige Peake all firing in from 12 yards.

Having stopped Lucia Kendall who took Saints' first penalty, Quantrill then lifted the roof off the Goldstar Ground when she saved Katie Rood’s effort for Town to progress with a 4-2 win.

The Tractor Girls, now the lowest ranked team remaining in the competition, will find out who they will face in the next round when the quarter-final draw takes place at 9.15am on Tuesday.

Town: Quantrill, Hughes (Bryant 120), Peake, Smith, Egan (Grey 83), Lafayette, Horwood, Robertson (O’Brien 120), Barratt, Thomas (Hubbard 90), Biggs (King 68). Unused: L Jackson, A Jackson. Att: 1,167.

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