Alnwick Town were only minutes away from a famous FA Cup victory on Sunday, only to be denied by a cruel own goal and then defeat in extra time to Leeds United.
The giantkillers were almost at it again at St James’ Park in the SSE Women’s FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round. Alnwick Town Ladies made a name for themselves last season in the FA Cup, most notably handing out a 5-0 hammering to Rotherham United before bowing out to Burnley in the 1st Round proper. They didn’t do themselves justice in that game, but they more than made up for it in this one.
Alnwick forced an early corner within a minute of the kick off, and what a start it proved to be. Kirstie Tang’s delivery was met by the head of Jenny Patterson who directed her effort low into the bottom corner. 1-0 to the home side with a minute on the clock.
Jenny Patterson almost doubled the lead on five minutes, but her effort was straight into the hands of Payne.
It was a frantic start to the game, end to end, and on 14 minutes Leeds almost got back into the game, but Robinson was alert for a last ditch tackle to block from Campbell.
A minute later, Kitty Lindley in goal for Alnwick would set her tone for the game, saving well from Campbell and then White in the 22nd minute.
Leeds drew level in the 27th minute. A move down the right was met by Jeffels five yards out who couldn’t miss. (1-1).
There was a hearts in the mouth moment around the half hour mark. Campbell beat the offside trap, and as Lindley rushed out of her goal, the striker went down on the edge of the box. No free kick given, no card, goal kick awarded.
Jade Barrett had Alnwick’s two remaining chances of the first half, but neither connected sweetly and were collected comfortably by the keeper. Half Time 1-1.
Leeds thought they had the ball over the line early in the second half from a corner, but an Alnwick defender appeared to clear off the line.
With 52 minutes in Alnwick found themselves back in the lead. A ball over the top to Patterson, who hit her effort early which lofted over Payne and into the net.
The final 30 minutes saw Alnwick penned back for the majority of the time, with Leeds pushing for an equaliser, but they were finding Lindley in great form, saving well and collecting crosses comfortably.
But on 85 minutes the visitors were awarded a free kick and substitute Emma Lee cracked her effort off the crossbar, only for the ball to hit off the back of Lindley and roll agonisingly into the goal for 2-2.
In extra-time Lindley kept Alnwick in the game whilst Georgia Latto headed an effort off the line.
The winning goal came on 103 minutes when Leeds were awarded another free kick and Lee stepped up and her effort again struck the woodwork, this time going straight in off the post, giving the visitors the lead for the first time on the day. Alnwick pushed up the park but couldn’t trouble the visitors’ goal, as Leeds played down the clock at every opportunity to see the game out and progressed to the next round.