A fantastic day of FA Cup action at Rayleigh Grove on Sunday saw Yeovil Town Ladies progress into the fifth round of the FA Women’s Cup following a superb 3-1 victory over Portsmouth Ladies.
Pompy’s National League side came up against a Yeovil Town team that was very different to the one they beat in the League Cup league earlier in the season, and the Glovers came away worthy winners thanks to goals from Laura Bray, Stacey Pearson and Jade Radburn.
The girls now have the mouth-watering prospect of a massive tie in the fifth round; with the draw taking place on Monday lunch time.
“Sarah and I cannot be more proud of the players today,” Joint manager Nigel Williams said after the game. ”We did our homework and relayed this to the players before the game, and it really paid off with a great victory. We deserved today's win. Our goals came from areas of the pitch that we had said they would, but a credit to the ladies for a job well done. They took everything on board, and played the game as we had instructed. They were brilliant in every part of the field.
“When we played Portsmouth last time around we came away on the back of a 3-2 defeat in the league cup, and from the way we played that day the girls were happy to finish the game and had to hang on. Today was important that we started from the first whistle, and we closed them down quickly, but the best part for me was the way in which we were organised. It was a delight to watch us today, and I cannot praise the girls enough.”
Yeovil's first goal came after a lot of pressure on the opposition defence. The Portsmouth centre backs made a mistake, and Laura Bray nicked the ball from them. She still had to do the work to score, and took an early shot, slotting it past the ‘keeper from the edge of the area.
“We have been working with Laura on her finishing from long range,” Joint manager Sarah Lawler said.
“She was clinical today with that goal, and that proves what a good all round player she is developing into. She took her goal well today, and deserves all the praise levelled at her.”
Yeovil continued to pressure the visitors, and were getting success from wide areas. Their second goal came from a good delivery from Laura Bray, this time coming up on the right. She turned her marker and delivered to the back post for Stacey Pearson to come in off the left wing to finish in the bottom corner.
With Yeovil now 2-0 up, Williams was happy with how the game was going for his side, but as the proceedings moved towards half time he was aware that the game was far from over.
“This was a national side we were playing against,” he said, “We knew from our previous battles with them that they would not let this go easily. They battered us in the first part of the second period, and we were unable to change things as they kept up wave after wave of attacks. Saying that, it was quite satisfying how we remained calm, and the turning point of the second half was an unbelievable double save from player of the game Beth Howard. Portsmouth had eight corners on the bounce, and every time Beth was master of her area.
"The pressure we were under just goes to show our great defensive duties today. The whole of the back four threw their bodies at everything.”
The third goal was the icing on the cake for the Glovers, and resulted from a poor clearance from the Portsmouth defence, with midfielder Jade Radburn grabbing the lose ball on the bounce with her head, setting herself up for a cool finish into the bottom left corner of the net.
“We knew we could win the game,” Williams said. “We have confidence in the team and believe in them to perform at this level. With our sites set on applying for the WSL2 we have shown today that we can play at a higher level.
"We are still looking for local business for support, and with the results we are getting we are attracting more advertising opportunities. We are now in the next round of this competition, and we are looking forward to the draw on Monday.
”With the Women’s Super League teams now in the draw for round five let’s hope we get a big club.
”Today was a good result all round for us, and I can assure you we are buzzing as a club!”
Yeovil Town Ladies: Howard, Brazell, Edwards, Edwards, Keehan, Cook, Radburn, Whitton (Rapp – 60), Pearson, Lorton (Hannam – 85), Bray
Substitutes Not Used: Cornwall
Goals: 1-0 (Bray – 15), 2-0 (Pearson – 25), 3-0 (Radburn – 75)
Referee: Shaun Tobin (Somerset)
Next Match: Away at Brislington Ladies (To be played at the Brislington Stadium) - (Somerset FA Women's Senior Cup, semi final) 03 March 2013, 2.00pm kick off.
Report by Nigel Williams & Ali King