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Katie Holtham took Leeds Utd one step forward in their quest to reach the F.A.Women's Cup Final, which is being played in her home city of Nottingham, in their hard fought Fourth Round victory over Bristol Academy.
The midfielder scored the decisive penalty against her old club to send her side into the Fifth Round and a trip to Chelsea, after extra time could not separate the teams in an evenly matched and riveting Cup tie.
"Obviously it's fantastic that we are going into the next round," Katie told Women's Soccer Scene. "No one likes to go out in the first round. We were a bit unlucky that we drew Bristol but it's over now and we're delighted to get through."
Leeds looked to have won the game in normal time but Academy fought back to level the score in injury time. "They got their equaliser in the last 30 seconds," added Katie. "I honestly thought that we should keep the ball but they managed to get the goal. Bristol Academy are not a side you want to take lightly and we didn't."
"Everyone was down (at the final whistle) but we had a good chat and picked ourselves up," admitted goalkeeper Carly Telford. "We then got back it during extra time."
Midway through the extra period, Carly kept her side on level terms with a stunning save from Jessica Fishlock's long range shot, which had looked destined for the back of the net. "It was okay, I suppose," she said modestly. "It's what I'm meant to do. I thought it might have been going in so I backtracked and got a hand to it, and it went on to the bar. Sophie Bradley followed in to clear, which makes it even better for me as there wasn't a tap in for the player who was running in."
"The pitch was heavy but both teams went for the win in extra time," added Katie. "They hit the bar, we hit the post and it went from end to end."
However extra time could not provide a winner and, after Academy scored their first penalty, Sue Smith missed Leeds' first attempt. "It was the worst possible start," Katie admitted, "but Sue is usually our penalty taker and she has scored a few for us - it was just one of those days for her. We were lucky enough that Carly kept us in the game with her penalty saves."
Before Leeds' fifth penalty was saved, Carly had put her side in the driving seat with saves from Emma Jones and Kerry Bartlett. "I had been practising every day whilst at the World Cup so you pick up little tips, for example how players run up to the ball," she said. "To be honest, unless it is someone you know well and they place it the same side every time, you are never really sure and a little bit is down to luck. But when you decide which way to dive, you must make a full dive in case the ball is going into the corner."
Into sudden death and Academy's first effort unluckily came back off the post, meaning that Katie needed to score to send Leeds through against her old club. "I knew I was taking the sixth so it was case of keeping my head straight and don't change my mind," she said. "I knew where it was going and luckily it went in.
"I had to change my boots to take the penalty and I thought, being the sixth, I may not have to take one. I wanted the ball to go in the net and concentrated on that, not thinking about anything else - it was more about that than who I was playing against."
You can watch an extended post-match interview with Katie Holtham and Carly Telford on our TV Channel!
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