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Yeovil Town's F.A.Women's Cup run was brought to an end by Nottingham Forest at Somerton on Sunday as the National Division side won 1-0 with a goal from Andi Bell and a composed display which gave the underdogs limited opportunities to cause an upset.
Yeovil played with spirit and bridged the gap of two divisions very well, backed by a large and enthusiastic crowd of around 400, but were indebted to an outstanding display of goalkeeping by Rachel Simkin to keep them in the game.
The South West Combination team created two decent chances to take the match to extra time late in the game, but it is Forest who are able to plan a visit to Barnet in the quarter final.
Simkin showed her skill straight away with a claim under the bar from a corner, a brave smothering save after an initial parry from a Suzanne Davies shot and best of all a full stretch dive to turn aside another Davies effort bound for the bottom corner. When the Glovers keeper made another acrobatic parry on 23 minutes, Lauren Cresswell was unable to direct her header into the unguarded net.
Bell completed an excellent five player move by shooting wide one minute later before Terri Trowbridge cleared well off the line to foil Davies again on the half hour. Yeovil had struggled to get their prolific forward line into the game until Anusia Rourke hit a hard low cross to bring Claire Wallhead into meaningful action for the first time on 35 minutes.
Back came Forest and Simkin produced another great reaction save from yet another shot from the impressive Davies, this time a ten yard drive low to her right.
Yeovil gained a foothold in the second half after Chloe Foster had given them an early scare by running straight through their defence to be foiled in the act of shooting. Kayleigh Nardiello showed some lovely control and link up play and Lindsay Roe started to make her mark in the midfield to set up promising attacks.
However, Forest were still more threatening and it took some very brave defending and keeping to block three point blank Forest shots in a row after Simkin had failed to hold a corner.
The winning goal came on 63 minutes as Bell broke free on the right and drove a powerful cross shot beyond Simkin and into the far corner. Forest's Ellie Gilliatt then drove in two vicious left foot cross shots, both well saved.
The home team's best chance to equalise came on 69 minutes as Nardiello freed herself with some neat footwork and crossed for Rourke who drove a 15-yard volley inches over. Encouraged by this, Yeovil pushed forward and gained several free kicks and corners which were generally well dealt with by the Forest back four.
The one time a Yeovil set piece outwitted the defenders, Wallhead made a fine save from a close range downward header by Kim Turner on 89 minutes to preserve Forest's lead.
Forest were able to see out added time fairly comfortably, with sub Levi Penny freshening up their attack, but being booked for a challenge on Simkin as she dived at her feet.
Yeovil will have gained great heart from a brave and committed showing which earned prolonged and warm applause on the final whistle. The team are genuine contenders at the top of a very competitive South West Combination league with a largely young home grown team. Forest did a very disciplined job to claim their quarter final place and will need more of the same against Southern Division table toppers Barnet next Sunday.
Yeovil Town: Rachel Simkin, Georgia Coles, Emma Brazell, Kim Turner, Rachael Edwards, Karen Perkins, Lindsay Roe, Terri Trowbridge, Anusia Rourke, Kayleigh Nardiello, Jemma Tewkesbury. Subs: Stacey Pearson, Sarah Lawler, Janie Morgan, Charlotte Hannam.
Nottingham Forest: Claire Wallhead, Lyndsey Cunningham, Ellie Gilliatt, Laura Coombs, Beth Bailey, Lauren Cresswell, Andi Bell, Catherine Lawson, Cath Stainthorpe, Chloe Foster, Suzanne Davies. Subs: Levi Penny, Carla Tomkins, Leeanne Woodford.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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