Lowick United...4 Norton & Stockton Ancients...2
(aet, full time 2-2)
Women’s FA Cup, Second Qualifying Round
LOWICK entertained higher league opposition in their second qualifying round game against Norton & Stockton Ancients, who beat their fellow league club North Shields in the previous round.
The game was Lowick’s second in their FA Cup adventure, having beaten Cramlington Jnrs in their first outing.
The coaching team of manager Andy Thorpe, Dawn Mozza Purvis and Willie Henderson had tough choices to make, with returning Gemma Dilks adding to the headache of picking a first 11 from the 14 available.
The game started in a fierce wind that made judging the long pass difficult. Norton used this to their advantage, firing passes into the Lowick back four of Crossman, Thompson, Robinson and Thompson, who were looking to press at every opportunity. Keeper Weetch had to be aware and quick off her line on a couple of occasions to deny the strikers.
Norton took the lead in the 15th minutes after a fine save from Weetch was followed up from close range after a scramble in the box (0-1).
Lowick then began to press and probe, with M Stewart beating her marker every time she made a run.
In the 20th minute, Stewart broke free and crossed for Hay to finish calmly in the six-yard area to make it 1-1.
The midfield of Stewart, Darling, Tang and Patterson then began to take charge passing the ball short to break up the uncompromising physical threat that Norton offered.
In the 30th minute Lowick took the lead with a second for Hay, who scored with a great drive into the right side of the goal after another assist from Stewart (2-1). Lowick looked comfortable going into the break but a long ball in the 45th minute split the defence and allowed Norton to equalise with the last kick of the half (2-2).
Big decisions were made at half-time, with Lowick bringing on all three substitutes to change the formation and allow all players to experience the FA Cup. This was only possible with the quality that runs throughout the squad this season.
Manager Andy Thorpe kept his fingers crossed that there were no injuries as the bench was now empty.
The second half was a real battle, with both teams giving their all to get the winner.
There were some tough tackles flying as Norton became frustrated with their lower-league opposition.
A stray elbow that was missed by the referee floored Robyn Stewart, who took a while to recover.
This only spurred her on and she became a real threat, combining with Cass on the left and Dilks upfront to force the Norton keeper into a number of saves.
The half finished goalless, forcing extra-time as the game needed to be finished on the day.
Both Lowick’s previous cup campaigns finished with them losing in extra-time but this is a different squad and they were determined to battle to the end. Dilks got the breakthrough in the first period of extra-time, finishing a great move that was started on the left with the ever-eager Hately pressing the defence and playing in Patterson, who passed to Dilks to finish (3-2).
In the second period, Lowick kept attacking and a fourth goal was scored after Tang set free M Stewart, who ran through the back four to finish with a shot that hit the bar before flying into the net to make it 4-2.
At the final whistle, the team and their supporters were overjoyed. The support from the Lowick fans was magnificent throughout and were praised by the opposition manager at the end of the game.
It was a fantastic win which showed all the players how far the team has grown and developed over the past year.
Lowick United are in the hat for the next qualifying round before the Premier League big boys come in.
Player-of-the-match: Captain Kirstie Tang.