Hull City Ladies are safely through to the second round proper of the Women’s FA Cup after a comfortable 4-1 win over Steel City Wanderers.
It was a battle against the weather conditions as well as the opposition and despite being frustrated in the first half the goals flowed in the second.
The Tigresses began the game well on top and it stayed that way for most of the game. Nat Bell had a shot blocked in the second minute before Katie Thompson rattled the bar from a well worked corner routine five minutes later. That wouldn’t be the only time the crossbar would rattle in the half.
Katie Thompson was everywhere early on and involved in most of the action. In the tenth minute Hope Knight used her pace to beat two defenders before crossing towards Thompson who couldn’t quite reach it in time to get a shot away. A couple of minutes later she saw a shot saved before being caught by the offside trap in the 20th minute when Thompson looked to be through on goal.
Despite it blowing a gale and raining the Tigresses were playing some fluid stuff in the first half and it was a minor miracle for the visitors that they didn’t concede before half time. Jo Symington and Hope Knight have been a brilliant partnership down the left all season and that continued today. In the 25th minute Symington picked up the ball in midfield and found Knight on the edge of the area, the winger then saw her shot hit the side netting, and with eight minutes to go in the half Symington curled a shot wide from just inside the box.
The Tigresses really could and should have taken the lead in the 36th minute after an excellent move started by Nat Bell. She fed a ball through to Knight down the wing, Knight then pulled a cross back to Rebecca Beech who had time to control the ball and shoot but she could only shoot wide.
The final chance of a frustrating first half fell to Symington who faked a shot to make space for herself before firing a shot goalward from the edge of the box. Unfortunately her shot cannoned back off the crossbar and away to safety and that summed up the first half for the Tigresses.
HT Hull City Ladies 0-0 Steel City Wanderers Ladies
The second half started in feisty fashion as Eden Pedersen had to receive treatment after a thunderous challenge went in on her. City Ladies were soon on the front foot again and in the 54th minute they should have taken the lead twice. Ellie Tanser saw a shot saved before Rebecca Beech shot across the keeper looking for the far corner but it flew agonisingly wide.
As the frozen and wet Tigresses supporters contemplated the prospect of extra time City finally took the lead. The goal came in the 62nd minute with Nat Bell the scorer. Liv Jackson played a through ball to her down the left and she cut inside before slotting her shot past the advancing keeper and into the net.
The sense of relief was palpable amongst the players and supporters and suddenly the leash was off. Just six minutes after the opening goal the Tigresses had a second. Rebecca Beech played a through ball straight through the heart of the Wanderers defence, Knight latched onto it and rounded the keeper before finding the empty net to spark a 30-minute hat trick.
The game should have been put to bed four minutes later by Beech. She saw her shot saved when one on one with the keeper before firing the rebound wide. Luckily we only had to wait another 6 minutes for the goal that sealed the win. Symington powered her way through midfield before feeding Knight who shot across the keeper and into the far right corner for 3-0.
That goal sealed the Tigresses passage through to the next round of the cup but what happened just two minutes later will not have pleased Rachel Gay and Danny Johnson. A mix up at the back after some casual passing allowed the Wanderers to pull an easy goal back to make the score 3-1.
Despite this set back the Tigresses were by far the better side and in the 82nd minute Beech should have scored when substitute Rachael Ackroyd played her in with a brilliant ball but Beech could only fire wide again, it was one of those days for the striker!
As the game looked to be petering out Hope Knight completed her quick-fire hat trick. She once again fired across the keeper from an acute angle to put the icing on the cake of a player of the match performance.
FT Hull City Ladies 4-1 Steel City Wanderers
After taking a dislike to Hope Knight’s hat trick celebration the Wanderers left back was red carded after the final whistle following an altercation with Knight.
So the Tigresses are safely through the second round proper of the FA Cup and they now await the draw for the next round. We spoke to Tigresses head coach Danny Johnson after the game and he was happy to progress but stressed it was far from the perfect performance. “They are gutted in there even though we have won 4-1, that’s a good thing it’s the attitude champions have”. He felt the opposition should have been put to the sword “Some of their attitudes weren’t quite right today we should have put a side like that to the sword but it’s good to be through to the next round”.