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Women's Football News
Fortune favoured the brave for Aldershot Town on Sunday as they gained a hard fought 1-0 win over Southampton Saints to reach the Second Round Qualifying the F.A.Women's Cup.
Not only did they have to dig deep to keep out the lively Saints forwards, members of the team attended the pre-match launch of their 'Naked Calendar' where some squad members have posed wearing club socks and strategically placed football equipment, sales of which will benefit Cancer Research UK and Help for Heroes, the injured service personnel charity.
The Shots Girls, playing at the EEB Stadium home of the League Two men's club, gave a great team display to deny a skilful Saints attack, with left back Holly Gaylor awarded Player of the Game and goalkeeper Lesley Hubbard showing great positional sense and immaculate handling.
The first half was reasonably even, with Shots threatening from set pieces and Saints through fast passing movements between Taz Pardoe, Lou Castle and Krystal White. Pardoe, twice, and Castle were unable to find the target when well placed and Tracy Marlow went close for Shots after a great run, but the half ended scoreless.
After the break, Saints stepped up a gear and created a number of very good chances. Castle was just wide with a header and was denied by an excellent Hubbard save when clean through on goal. Whyte had a powerful shot beaten away and both Pardoe and sub Misty Makinde had shots blocked by the busy Shots keeper.
Typically, having dominated matters, Saints fell behind to a sucker punch in the 68th minute. Saints keeper Hannah Haughton, in trying to prevent a corner, presented the ball to Emma North who crossed for Grace Irvine to bundle the ball in from close range.
Saints continued to press forward with increasing desperation but the Shots defence stood firm with both centre backs having fine games, aided by great covering from midfield. Whilst Saints went close a couple of times, Shots could have easily extended their lead with Marlow going close in the final minute.
The final whistle brought great celebration of a gutsy victory over a fine young Saints team, composed almost entirely of teenagers, who had beaten the Shots four times in various competitions last season.
Great credit should go to the Aldershot Ladies club who arranged a well organised event with a programme, tannoy announcements and full refreshment facilities as well as the comfort and playing surface of the EEB Stadium. Both teams will look to renew rivalries in the Southern Region League Premier Division where they have made good starts and will hope to challenge for honours, but this was Aldershot's day.
Aldershot Town: Lesley Hubbard, Holly Gaylor, Tara Coles, Sian Houghton, Emma North, Stacey Ireland, Laura Wallman, Caz Shepherd, Tracy Marlow, Grace Irvine, Nikki Moore. Subs: Gemma Twine, Gemma McNeil, Nicky Holdyn, Jade Ferguson.
Southampton Saints: Hannah Haughton, Rachel Snow, Hannah Billingham, Roxy Lee-Stewart, Naomi Goddard, Harriet Pascoe, Krystal Whyte, Gemma Simmonds, Louisa Castle, Taz Pardoe, Jess Whitmore. Subs: Misty Makinde, Kerri Why, Aimee McDevitt, Katie Slater, Kim Betlam.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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