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Southampton Women 3 West Bromwich Albion 1
Southampton Women FC moved into the Fourth Round of the Women's FA Cup with a 3-1 home win over West Bromwich Albion.
The club's second win over higher division opposition in this competition was hard fought with the winners having to resist strong pressure from the Baggies for long periods but two goals from Erin Bloomfield and a third from sub Jane Yeates gave them a lead which Albion could only reduce by one.
It was the visitors who started on the front foot, Southampton keeper Rose Kite tipping over a powerful Natalie Murray shot, then Emily Owen firing over from the resulting corner on six minutes. The hosts threatened first when E-J May played in Bloomfield but Baggies keeper Vanessa Kinnerley was quick off her line to claim on 15 minutes.
Southampton's Kellie Warren, who was superb throughout, made a goal saving block on 25 minutes, sliding in to turn away a Jade Arber shot after Kite was beaten to a loose ball. The value of this contribution was emphasised when Bloomfield expertly finished a through pass with a low shot from ten yards on 33 minutes.
Kite was regularly in action, turning away a shot from Keeley Davies just before the break and again on the restart, blocking an Arber effort at the near post on 50 minutes. Good work from Kayleigh Tonks released Bloomfield who was fouled and converted the resulting spot kick just after the hour to double Southampton's lead.
Albion poured forward with renewed vigour, forcing numerous corners and free several dangerous free kicks but keeper Kite and central defenders Warren and Gracie White were strong in guarding their goal. Hannah Samuels got forward to send in a low right wing cross which evaded Kinnerley and was turned home by Yeates on 70 minutes for Southampton's third.
Albion skipper Hannah George had been orchestrating her side's most dangerous moments and it was her corner beyond the far post which was turned back for sub Trina Greaves to turn home on 75 minutes. The same player nearly added a second from a left wing cross as Albion threatened a late comeback.
The visitors were in all out attacking mode as the match entered the final ten but Bloomfield nearly completed her hat-trick when played in by Philippa Holden, Kinnerley making a fine save on 82 minutes, then Holden herself went close when set up by Bloomfield a minute later as Southampton expertly used counter attacks.
Davies had one final sight of goal for Albion in the second minute of added time but Kite was down well to save. Bloomfield completed a fine match by holding up the ball deep in Albion territory and the home team were able to celebrate a superb win earned with brave defence, calm passing and cool finishing, a true team effort to earn a place in the Fourth Round.
Southampton Women: Rose Kite, Lauren Cheshire, Hannah Samuels, Gracie White, Kellie Warren, Emily Wernham, Lauren Clark, Philippa Holden, E-J May, Kayleigh Tonks, Erin Bloomfield. Subs: Jane Yeates, Laura Vokes, Lucy Mear, Tia Hooper.
West Bromwich Albion: Vanessa Kinnerley, Shannon Stamps, Hannah George, Fran Orthodoxou, Ria Elsmore, Emily Owen, Natalie Murray, Nicole Nymoen, Jade Arber, Keeley Davies, Evie Gallop. Subs: Alima Abdallah, Trina Greaves, Millie Webb, Jade Benford.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Erin Bloomfield battles with Ria Elsmore
(middle) Natalie Murray slides in to tackle Kayleigh Tonks
(bottom) Erin Bloomfield under pressure from Ria Elsmore
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