by Rob McKay · 14/11/2017
West Women bowed out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup at the First Round Proper stage as they were beaten 6-4 in extra-time away to Farsley Celtic.
It was a sunny but windy day as West arrived at the Throstle’s Nest and they started brightly too. On two minutes, Sophie Bracegirdle capitalised on a poor goal kick from the Farsley Celtic goalkeeper Chelsea Pilmer, playing in Leigh McFadyen who fired her effort just wide. A minute later Elizabeth Livesey challenged the tested the goalkeeper with a hard struck effort from 25 yards out.
However it was the home side who took the lead on four minutes with their first attack of the game when Chelsea Schofield was allowed too much room down the right and her shot was too powerful for West goalkeeper Claire Jefferson to keep out.
The goal failed to knock West from their rhythm as an Ellie Caddick corner was curled across the six yard line with no-one on hand to apply the final touch. On 11 minutes the game’s first controversial moment occurred as Livesey was flagged for offside, playing on the ball fell to Captain Shauna Edmondson who chipped the keeper from 40 yards with a magnificent strike; however, following consultation with the assistant referee the goal was ruled out.
The goal finally arrived on 19 minutes as Edmondson turned provider to play through McFadyen with a terrific pass and the West number nine showed both poise and bravery to fire it beyond the out rushing Farsley keeper.
The game continued to ebb and flow as West were let off when a backwards header on 20 minutes put the Farsley winger through but she blazed over with the goal at her mercy. Two minutes later the home side created another excellent chance but again they couldn’t find the target a second time. The home side began to take charge of the game and took the lead on 32 minutes when Elisha Hardcastle was left unmarked from a corner allowing her to head home at the near psot.
The lead would last just four minutes however as a loose ball from the Farsley back-line dropped for Livesey and she fired in her 9th goal of the season into the bottom corner from 25 yards out. West might have headed into the break with the lead as another Caddick corner was swung in with Edmondson heading just over the bar.
West came out for the second half the quicker of the two teams and should have gone ahead on 52 minutes when Chaneece Reeves was played through one-on-one but her shot bounced the wrong side of the post from 10 yards out. Three minutes later Reeves went even closer as she was left unmarked at the far post turning in from close range after some excellent wing play down the right from Caddick but the assistant referee’s flag was up for a questionable offside.
The miss was a let off for Farsley and they took full advantage on 62 minutes to retake the lead as Shirley Murphy made it 3-2 when she rounded Jefferson and showed the strength to hold off Lauren O’Neill to tap into an empty net.
West levelled for a third time on 71 minutes as Livesey reached double figures for the season converting her spot kick following a handball inside the penalty area. However the referee levelled up the spot kicks with 10 minutes remaining when she adjudged Lyndsey Turner have deliberately handled the ball despite eye witnesses indicating that she’d been hit flush in the face. Murphy held her nerve to add her second, firing high and left into the West goal.
West went in search of a fourth equaliser as they through caution to the wind committing more and more players forward. They found their goal in the second minute of stoppage time, with everyone up for a corner; it fell to substitute Amy Friel who fired an unstoppable effort across the goalkeeper and inside the far post to force extra time with virtually the last kick of the game.
Extra time, with both sides having given everything in the 90 minutes, was about who would hold their nerve and find that moment of luck. Unfortunately for West, it was Farsley who did as a drop ball at the edge of the home penalty area was cleared down field on 113 minutes allowing Ellie Casper to race through, round Jefferson and slot home to send the home support into raptures. Seconds later the tie was put to bed as Casper added her second in almost identical fashion to settle a thrilling and pulsating cup tie.
At full time West were deservedly applauded off by the travelling supporters as the curtain came down on their first FA Cup adventure.
Team: Jefferson, Caddick, J.Turner (Friel), L.Turner, O’Neill (Hodges), Bracegirdle, Reeves, Edmondson, Kerr, Livesey, McFadyen (Callaghan). Subs Not Used: Croasdale, Hartley.