Town’s ladies edge cup thriller after shoot out

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Brighouse Town Ladies welcomed City of Manchester to the Dual Seal Stadium for the third round qualifier of the women’s FA Cup.

It was Town who bossed the early stages of the game and after an exchange of goals between the two sides, firstly through Sonni Sweeney before her opposite number replied to make it 1-1 with just five minutes played.

Sweeney then went on to complete a 12-minute hat-trick, which was soon added to by Debbie Tomlinson who made it 4-1.

The Mancunian ladies fought back, scoring a quick double to make it 4-3 before equalising just before the break.

In the second half Town came out brightly and Sweeney added a fifth and her fourth of the game to give her side the lead once more.

Town looked more solid than the first period and despite an injury to Lyndsey Naden looked as they were going to see the game out and claim a deserved victory.

Manchester had others ideas and after some intense pressure got their reward to level it up at 5-5. The visitors nearly nicked it but the striker smashed her effort wide.

Extra time began and COM Ladies got themselves in front for the first time in the game after a clumsy challenge in the box led to the impressive striker scoring from the spot and taking the scores to an incredible 6-5.

With the next attack Town had a penalty of their own which Sweeney duly dispatched making it 6-6. Claire Needham added another with a great solo goal which she smashed in to the top corner to make it 7-6 at half time in extra time.

In the second period, Jayne Smith looked like sealing the win when she burst down the left before cutting in and looping a shot over the keeper from an acute angle.

Town were working hard but gave away too many free kicks in dangerous areas, one of which resulted in a goal but not before the COM Ladies striker decided to raise her hands and get herself a second yellow 8-7 but the game wasn’t over, despite having a player advantage Town were carrying several players suffering injuries and cramp which made life difficult, again with just a minute to go a speculative long ball over the top found the lone striker with plenty do she jinked her way through the defence and fired in to send her team in to raptures.

Town had a couple of late chances to win it but were kept at bay, but at 4-4 in the penalty shoot out the visitors blasted their penalty wide leaving Aleathia Smith the nervy job of sending her side through.