Our Women’s team fell to a 4-3 last-minute extra time defeat to Stamford AFC in their County Cup Quarter Final clash yesterday afternoon.
Assistant Manager Paul Shaw took the reins in Hayley Cox’s absence and made two changes from the team that started the previous game. Mia Atherley made her debut after a mid-season transfer from Lincoln United and Olivia Kershaw made a return to the starting line-up.
The hosts started on the front foot, confident from their 13-0 victory in the previous round, and pinned the Mariners back for large parts. Their deserved opening goal came in the 25th minute when a loose ball was knocked in at close range.
Town responded well and Ellie Wilson saw her header drift just wide. That miss, however, proved costly with Stamford heading up the other end of the pitch to double their lead just before the break. A defensive error gifted the hosts an opportunity to finish into an open goal from twenty yards our with Beth French stranded in goal.
The Mariners, needing a response in the second period, were unidentifiable from their first-half showing. With Stamford pinned back, a floated cross into the box from Alisha DeJonge saw Wilson head towards goal. Her effort was well stopped but Kim Brown, on the edge of the area, evaded a Stamford centre back with her first touch and got her name on the scoresheet with a tidy finish to narrow the deficit.
Town pressure continued throughout the second period with the hosts finding it difficult to get out of their half and, with ten minutes left, that pressure told when Beth Wharton equalised. A great passing move featuring Leah Wray, Eden Pedersen and DeJonge saw the latter make ground down the left.
Getting into the Stamford box, her cross found Brown. The midfielder’s shot was blocked but the deflection fell to DeJonge who slid a pass into the forward to make it 2-2 with a composed finish.
With ten minutes left and having come back from two down, momentum was with the Mariners but, against the run of play, the hosts thought they had secured the win. Town’s defence switched off and a Stamford attacker capitalised, making it 3-2 with minutes remaining with the Mariners cup run looking set to come to an end.
Needing another late goal to take the game to extra-time, Pedersen stepped up to rescue the Mariners. Picking the ball up just inside Stamford’s half, she looked up and her long-range dipping effort lobbed the goalkeeper and found the net, levelling the scores and taking the Quarter-Final to extra-time.
Town continued to dominate proceedings but were unable to find the goal to secure the win with Brown seeing an effort cleared off the time while both DeJonge and Wilson hit the woodwork.
In the final minute of extra-time, Mariners hearts were broken when Stamford snatched progression in the cup. A deep clearance from the hosts, dealing with a Town attack, got a Stamford forward chasing and she beat French to the ball. Her ball across goal was tapped in by her strike partner and the women saw their cup dream ended.
Attention now turns to the league campaign where the Mariners remain unbeaten. The next match sees St Josephs Rockware of Worksop visit to Oasis Winteringham Academy on Sunday afternoon.
Beth French, Mia Atherley, Olivia Kershaw, Leah Wray, Katie Howlett, Eden Pedersen, Kim Brown, Danielle Brighton, Ellie Wilson, Bethany Wharton, Alisha DeJonge
Subs Used Lily Jacklin, Charlotte Townsend, Evie Revell, Laura Ibbert