Cardiff City 5-3 Cheltenham Town
The second round of the FA WNL League Cup saw the visit of Cheltenham Town Ladies from the tier below looking to claim a scalp in South Wales. And it was the visitors who started brightest and showed the intent when just 3 minutes into the game Hitchcox was fed through and slotted into the corner past Poppy Soper in the Cardiff goal. With the opening goal and the momentum, the opening 15 minutes proved to be a struggle for the home side who were sloppy in possession and a little sluggish on the ball.
It was a gift that brought Cardiff back into the game after 18 minutes, with a mixup between the defender and keeper allowing Grace Horrell to nick in and place the ball into the open net for 1-1. This sparked City into life and they began to dominate the play, moving the ball around the pitch swiftly and regularly pushing forward into attack. A foul on Cori Williams brought the best chance of the game so far, and Jumaratie fired the ball almost perfectly into the top corner, with only the post denying her strike. Following up, however, was Kylie Nolan who reacted quickest to give Cardiff the lead in the 25th minute. City continued to dominate, however couldn’t find the breakthrough before the half time whistle.
Cardiff came out strongly in the second half winning an early corner. The ball in caused a Cheltenham defender to go down injured as the ball was cleared, however the referee didn’t stop play, and Nolan took advantage of the defence switching off to fire home the third for Cardiff. City continued to dominate play, but couldn’t kill the game off thanks to a series of fine saves from the Cheltenham keeper. Golden opportunities fell to Horrell, Nolan and Williams but none of them could find that fourth goal.
Cheltenham found a late surge of energy in the final stages of the game, and found a breakthrough in the 82nd minute of the game with Hitchcox again the scorer to set up a nervy end. The visitors then punished the home side’s inability to kill the game, scoring the equaliser in the 88th minute through Martin.
However, just as extra time looked certain, Cardiff’s Captain and top scorer from the previous season Cori Williams stepped up, scoring the fourth in the 90th minute, heading in a corner, before sealing the victory in the 5th minute of added time, this time finishing a corner with her boot to make it 5-3. A thrilling game between two committed sides, but in the end the better side on the day progress to the next round.