Women Lose on Penalties In County Cup
By Web Master
Acle United Women exited the Norfolk Women’s Cup, losing 5-4 on penalties after the sides could not be separated with the score 3-3 after extra-time.
It was a quiet start to the game with both sides feeling each other out. Acle mounted the first real attack with Pasque having a shot saved, whilst a quick attack by Wymondham saw Larkins concede a throw-in with a good covering tackle.
Acle had loud appeals for a penalty turned down by the referee in the 9th minute when Rowland was brought down in the area, but the referee signalled a corner which was cleared by the visitors. In fact, that was mainly the goalmouth action for the first 20 minutes with most of the play taking place between the penalty areas.
As the half progressed, Bell in the Acle goal was forced into a couple of saves from corners, whilst at the other end Bullard skied a shot over the bar after controlling a long free-kick from Parker. However, the deadlock was finally broken in the 27th minute. Acle were penalised for an innocuous challenge 25 yards from goal; the free-kick slipped through the keepers grasp and despite valiant attempts to clear the ball by defenders the assistant referee ruled the ball had crossed the goal-line.
Brister’s persistence up front for Acle saw her dispossess a defender, but shooting narrowly wide, before the home side were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position after Birchall had been brought down. Rowland from around 22 yards firing into the top corner to bring the sides level 10 minutes before half-time.
Another free-kick led to Wymondham regaining the lead in the 41st minute. The free-kick was palmed away by Bell and hit an Acle defender on the arm. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and then consulted her assistant before allowing her decision to stand. The penalty was converted to see the visitors go into the interval with a slender 2-1 lead.
The second half started slowly like the first until Birchall pounced on a loose ball and shot just wide and then Cooper fired just over the bar having received the ball from Kindred. At the other end a timely Intervention from Larkins prevented Wymondham a free run at goal.
Slowly Acle started to dominate proceedings and midway through the half got a deserved equaliser. From a quick throw-in Kindred with the ball close to the goal-line was brought down with an unnecessary challenge and the referee awarded Acle a penalty which was duly converted by Rowland to level the scores.
Acle pushed forward looking for a third goal and Birchall had two attempts just missing the target and in another attack was upended in the penalty area but to the astonishment of the Acle players the referee dismissed their claims and waved play on.
In a rare Wymondham attack, Parker did well to head the ball out for a corner under pressure as both defences held firm in the closing stages to send the game into extra time.
The first half of extra-time was really a non-event with both sides only managing one shot and both were off target, however, in the 109th minute Wymondham retook the lead when their forward was able to beat the keeper to the ball and steer it into an empty net.
With 3 minutes remaining, Acle equalised for a third time with Scully firing a free-kick into the top corner after Rowland had been fouled to send the game into a penalty shootout.
Even during the shootout, there was drama, when the referee changed her decision after Acle had saved a second Wymondham penalty which was retaken and scored. The home side struck the post with their 6th penalty and Wymondham won the shootout 5-4 to reach the final of the Norfolk Women’s Cup.
Acle United Women: A Bell, N Cooper, O Mungham-Gray, B Scully, G Parker, A Larkins, L Bullard, A Rowland, R Brister, K Pasque, G Birchall. Subs used: K Kindred, L Bailey. Unused: C Fullbrook.