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Cardiff City 0-0 Oxford United (5-4 After Penalties)

Cardiff City Ladies caused the shock of the day as they eliminated WSL 2 side Oxford United Women out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup after a dramatic penalty shootout.

Estelle Randall’s heroics during normal time and extra time carried through to the penalty shoot-out as Oxford missed twice before Emily Poole struck the decisive spot kick to send Cardiff through to round 5.

Cardiff didn’t see much of the ball in the opening few minutes as Oxford set the tempo early on, Kayleigh Hines firing well over in first effort of match.

Oxford pressed once again as former City player Emily Allen was played through brilliantly before her effort was well saved by Estelle Randall. Oxford were dominating, and Cardiff couldn’t get out of their own half in the early stages.

The first chance came for Cardiff when Cori Williams rounded Demi Lambourne, just about keeping the ball in play to pull it back. The keeper and defender made mess of it before only just being able to clear away. A good spell for Cardiff, who were back in this tie. Both teams had their dominant spells and decent chances during the first half, so going in at half time goalless came as a surprise.

The first effort of the second half arrived less than a minute in, as a Randall pulled off a big save to deny Taome Oliver. Oxford dominated the start of the second half just like they did the first half as Cardiff pushed more players behind the ball. Another huge chance for Oxford arrived soon after as Hannah Short crashes a header off the post with Randall well beaten for the first time in the game.

Oxford were clearly getting quite frustrated with Cardiff’s defensive line standing so firm as they were reduced to long shots as the game went past the hour mark still goalless. Cardiff could easily counter with Oxford committing more and more players forward.

The best moment of the match came ten minutes from time as another former city player, Chloe Chivers, was played in behind. She squared it to Oliver who had the goal at her mercy but Randall pulled off the save of the season to keep it goalless. The final stages fizzled out as both teams accepted the goalless score line ahead of an extra half hours action.

Cardiff were the side doing all the running in extra time and almost took the lead as a wonderful cross field ball from Powell found Chloe O’Connor unmarked at the back post but she fired wide.

Another great chance soon followed as Williams drove at the retreating Oxford defenders before slipping in substitute Jemma Heath who missed the target, Cardiff should’ve been a goal or two up at this point. Another came chance for Cardiff, who were the better side in extra time, as Williams’ header deflected just wide for a corner which was eventually cleared.

Oxford almost stole it 4 minutes from time as Randall left Oliver’s header and it came off the underside of the bar before Hannah Mills cleared to safety. A nervous moment for Cardiff before the game went to penalties.

Cardiff and Oxford traded four perfectly placed penalties each before Randall made the save to give Kelly Isaac the chance to win it, although she dragged her effort wide. Sudden death resulted in Oxford missing their sixth penalty, before Emily Poole stepped up and coolly slotted home to give the Welsh side the victory and a spot in Monday’s 5th round draw.

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