Manchester Stingers 4-4 West Women (Stingers win 4-3 on pens)
West faced Stingers for the first time this season, 2 league fixtures already postponed due to the weather. Stingers had thankfully arranged a 3G pitch and for the 2nd consecutive Sunday, we had a cup tie in Ardwick. Surely the title of a future Half Man Half Biscuit EP.
There were other similarities to last week too. It was freezing, blowing a hooley and there were loads of goals.
West spent much of the first 10 minutes or so having to defend, Leah forced into a couple of early saves. The rest of the first half was then pretty much all West. The opening goal came on 14 minutes, Rachael Dunlop bursting through the middle, taking about 7 touches too many as she rounded the keeper and scored. We twice went close again in the next 5 minutes, the keeper just about dealing with Jami’s cross after a great sprint down the left, and then Rach went close again with a shot that clipped the top of the bar.
The pattern of West attacks continued for the rest of the half, but it was looking like we would struggle to actually add to the first goal. Plenty of balls into the area, but nothing to test the keeper at the end of them. Stingers’ way of dealing with Rach was to foul her. The first yellow was shown on 38 minutes for a foul on the edge of the area, but the free kick was cleared. On 43 minutes, Ellie Caddick took a great free kick from 30-odd yards out, clipping the bar.
Thankfully we did add a second goal before half-time. A huge clearance from the back, Jami with an excellent touch and cross to Rachael. She had her back to goal but turned and fired home, almost the last touch of the half.
H-T: West lead 2-0
The second half looked to continue in a similar fashion. West straight on the attack, Rach is fouled just inside the area, and it’s a penalty. VK stepped up to take but her effort was, unfortunately for us, straight at the keeper. A 3rd goal here and the result could have been so different.
Still, it didn’t look like much had changed and for the next 15 minutes or so it still looked like West might find another. Another yellow card was shown for a foul on Rach. Moments earlier she’d had another long range effort just high and wide. This free kick on the edge of the area was taken by Kath. On target and well struck, but saved.
On 66 minutes came the turning point. Stingers rightfully awarded a penalty, tucked away in the bottom corner for 2-1. West came oh so close to a 3rd when Frisby and Rach linked up superbly. Rach’s shot was saved, and Frisby’s follow-up sailed over the bar.
Stingers took advantage and on 71 minutes they were level, a headed goal coming from a corner. There were to be no further breakthroughs, and we headed for extra time.
F-T (90 mins): 2-2
A really positive start for West in the first period and on 93 minutes we had the lead back. A shot from Rach is fumbled by the keeper and the ball trickles in. The lead lasted approximately a minute as Stingers worked their way up the field from the restart and made it 3-3.
Shortz continued her return to fitness coming on for Leah Dolan on 97 minutes, and just as she did last week, got herself on the scoresheet almost immediately, finishing from close range for her 2nd in 2 games. 4-3 to West.
At least the lead lasted for 5 minutes this time, but Stingers were level again just before the end of the first half of extra time. An exciting 15 minutes and only 6% battery left on my phone. Proper nail biting stuff this kids.
There were some understandably tired limbs in the second period of ET. Amy Vyas came on for Jami, Rach went close with a minute to go, but with penalties looming, I had to preserve the last precious slither of battery life.
F-T (after extra-time): 4-4
Penalties: Stingers win 4-3.
There was a point in the shoot out when West recovered from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, but it wasn’t to be and it was Stingers who kept their cool to progress to the next round.
Team: Fish, Dolan (Edmondson 97′), Caddick, Mason, Wilman, Bracegirdle, Hodges (Vyas 108′), Kerr, Frisby, Jones (Mitchell 67′), Dunlop.
Scorers: Dunlop (3), Edmondson