Town girls keep their nerve to book semis spot
Royston Town Ladies 1 Cambridge Rangers 1 (Royston won 5-3 on penalties) KEEPING their cool, Royston Town Ladies held their nerve and booked a place in the semi-final of the Cambs County Invitation Cup thanks to a penalty shootout. Once again Town s ma
Royston Town Ladies 1 Cambridge Rangers 1
(Royston won 5-3 on penalties)
KEEPING their cool, Royston Town Ladies held their nerve and booked a place in the semi-final of the Cambs County Invitation Cup thanks to a penalty shootout.
Once again Town's manager Kevin Foulger was forced to field just 10 players as illness struck down two of his key players before the kick-off.
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And playing with just a back three of Leanne Buchannan, Siobhan Firman, and Gemma Barlow the hosts rose to the challenge, and with excellent support play from midfielders Clare Ratty and Sharon Pinner, Rangers rarely threatened.
With both Amy Barlow and Wendy Webster controlling the centre of the midfield, Royston mounted a series of quick passing attacks which created early chances for Sophia Boval and Daniela Lewis.
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A teasing corner from the left by Buchannan brought a deft near post header from Amy Barlow only for the Rangers keeper to make an excellent save.
With 25 minutes gone Buchannan's free kick from just outside the area smashed against the bar, although Ratty managed to keep the ball alive and from the rebound Boval volleyed home her first goal for the club.
Two minutes before the break Rangers mounted a rare attack with a ball over the top, and stand-in keeper Clare Draper's hesitation gave the visitors' striker a relatively easy lob to score the equaliser.
For the first 20 minutes of the second half Royston found themselves penned in, as Rangers started to make their extra player advantage count with a series of chances falling their way.
An injury to Amy Barlow forced Town to switch Lewis into midfield, where the youngster, who was making her first full appearance in women's football, proved to be the driving force to get Royston back into the game.
With just five minutes left, Draper more than made up for her earlier mistake by pulling off a brilliant stop.
In extra time Royston continued to look the stronger side, and Amy Barlow's powerful header flew inches wide, while at the other end excellent defending by Firman and Ratty snuffed out Rangers' best attack of the period.
In the penalty contest Buchannan, Draper, Gemma Barlow, and Lewis all confidently hit the target, while Draper produced an outstanding save to stop Rangers' fourth spot kick, leaving Sharon Pinner to calmly convert Town's fifth and winning kick.
* Royston Town Ladies play Cambridge City in the semi-final at Garden Walk in two weeks' time.