Hull City Ladies are through the third round of the FAWNL Cup but they were made to work for their victory against lower league opposition and they needed extra time to find a winner on a cold, wet and windy day at Inglemire Lane.
The Tigresses team had several changes to it today with the likes of Sammie Workman, Alice Stewart, Meg Calvert, and Harley Skinner all featuring from the start. Despite the changes the team was still strong and they started positively against the visitors Birmingham and West Midlands Ladies. The Tigresses had the first chance of the game when Emily Smith hit a shot over the bar after 9 minutes.
Harley Skinner, who turned 17 this week, made a great start to the game. She was causing the Birmingham defence problems and had her first sight of goal in the 11th minute when she hit a shot from range that was easily saved. In the 16th minute City were given a chance to open the scoring after the Birmingham keeper was adjudged to have picked up a back pass. An indirect free kick was given but Rebecca Beech could only blast it into the wall.
In the 26th minute the Tigresses almost opened the scoring. Skinner hit a peach of a cross from the left that Emily Smith couldn’t get a firm enough touch on, if she had connected properly it would have been a certain goal. Just a minute later the visitors had their first chance at the other end but could only shoot wide of Amy Halloran’s goal.
After dominating much of the first half the Tigresses took a deserved lead in the 36th minute. Sammie Workman hit a pin point pass through the middle to Rebecca Beech, the experienced Striker swivelled before hitting a shot across the keeper and into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
The Tigresses continued to push on for the rest of the half as the rain continued to hammer down onto the pitch. Despite their dominance City couldn’t find another goal before half time.
HT Hull City Ladies 1-0 Birmingham & WMLFC
The Tigresses continued to dominate the game after the break as they looked to make the cup tie more comfortable for themselves. In the 50th minute Beech almost bagged a brace but she was denied by the keeper who got down low to her right to tip the shot round the post. Eight minutes later City almost scored a brilliant goal. Workman, whose delivery was excellent throughout, hit a cross from the right that was met on the run by Harley Skinner who hit a volley and despite not facing goal she got it on target and it had to be met with another fine save from the goalkeeper to keep the score at 1-0. Workman was later forced off injured which was a shame as she was having a good game at right back.
In the 61st minute everyone in the ground thought City had doubled their lead when Emily Smith hit a low curling shot that bounced off one post before rolling agonisingly along the goal line and hitting the other post. Beech tried to poke the ball over the line but she was just beaten to it by the goalkeeper and Birmingham breathed a sigh of relief.
That was pretty much it for clear cut chances until the last few minutes. The Tigresses looked to be controlling the game nicely but the visitors did pick up the pace in the final few minutes and forced Amy Halloran into a couple of decent saves. As stoppage time approached the visitors were given a lifeline as Ellice Jackman was adjudged to have brought down a Birmingham player in the box. It seemed clear to everyone that it was outside in the box and it could be argued that it was a good challenge but somehow the referee and linesman decided it was a penalty. Halloran dived the right way but couldn’t keep the penalty out and Birmingham were level with just a couple of minutes left.
The Tigresses barely had time to kick off before the referee’s whistle signalled Extra Time.
FT Hull City Ladies 1-1 Birmingham and West Midlands Ladies
The Tigresses were aggrieved that the game had got to Extra Time and took the game to the visitors as Extra Time began. Meg Render had a shot wide in the 92nd minute before Rachael Ackroyd saw a powerful shot saved in the 96th.
You are permitted an extra sub in extra time and the Tigresses used theirs to perfection as Captain Jo Symington was brought on to replace Meg Calvert who had impressed once again. Symington had an almost instant impact as she scored a brilliant goal with almost her first touch. The tireless Beech picked her out on the left with a bouncing through ball. As the keeper advanced Symington chose the dink the keeper first time and she executed it to perfection to regain the lead for the Tigresses at 2-1.
HT in ET Hull City Ladies 2-1 Birmingham & WLFC
The Tigresses managed the final fifteen minutes well but they did have one scary moment. It came in the 117th minute when a floated shot from range had Halloran stranded and she could only watch as the ball cannoned off her crossbar. The rebound fell to a Birmingham player who could only shoot over the bar.
That was Birmingham’s chance to force penalties but they couldn’t take it and it was City who had the final chance when Emily Smith hit a shot that went agonisingly wide of the post which was a shame as Emily deserved a goal today. A few seconds later the referee’s whistle finally brought an end to the game and signalled the Tigresses progression to the next round of the cup.
FT AET Hull City Ladies 2-1 Birmingham & WMLFC
As Rachel Gay joked after the game, the Tigresses often do it the hard way and that was the case today. The performance of the officials for both sides was very poor at times and the late penalty decision was baffling. On a positive note though the Tigresses eventually got the job done and progress to the last 16 of the FAWNL Cup. The youngsters who were given their chance today will have gained valuable experience and Harley Skinner and Meg Calvert continue to look at home in the first team.
Our Player of the Match today was Emily Smith. The tenacious winger did everything but score today in a tireless 120 minute performance. She roamed up and down both wings and caused the Birmingham defence real problems. She never gave their defence a moment’s peace and could have had a hat trick on another day, well played Emily!
We spoke to a relieved manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below.