Notts County Ladies vs Everton Ladies F.A. Cup Semi Final   Leave a comment

The accepted wisdom is the losing in the semi-final of a F.A Cup is the worse stage at which to lose. It certainly felt that way today as Notts Ladies went out 2-1 to Everton Ladies at The Impact Arena in Alfreton. An hour before the game it looked as if the whole show may have to be called off as the heavens opened at the rained rained down in stair rods for a good half hour. This was replaced by bright sunshine, followed by lighter rain which set the pattern for the rest of the afternoon.

Here are the words and pictures from a disappointing afternoon:

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The TV cameras were there for the WSL as Notts warmed up.

Notts County Ladies VS Everton Ellen white

Ellen White put in an appearance with the aid of crutches. Nice to see you Ellen.

Notts County Ladies Ref rain

The ref brings the players out for the start of the game – yup, it’s raining again ref.

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The rain started again as the teams shook hands before kick-off.

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The Alfreton Town FC pitch was in fantastic shape and the surface water soon drained away. Jess Clarke on the attack again and found herself up against a tough opponent all game.

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Dunia Susi worked tirelessly all day, starting attack after attack down the flanks.

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Notts battled but Everton were not giving any quarter and the first half remained a competitive affair with both teams playing out from the back with confidence. But just as Notts seemed to be gaining the upper hand they found themselves 0-1 down. An Everton corner was converted by Nikita Parris when her run took her in front of the County defense where she headed the ball, uncontested,  in to the back of the net.

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Nikita Parris heads home for Everton to make it 1-0 to the Toffees.

County continued to press and started to create chances of their own in search of an equaliser. Mid way through the half good work from Jess Clarke saw her fouled just outside the box as she thundered a shot goalwards.

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Jess Clarke wins Notts a free kick.

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Something sneaky is going on here – looking like something off the training ground Clarke and Friend hide the ball and Rachel Corsie from the Everton Keeper.

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Clarke and Friend step aside and Rachel Corsie hits the free kick. The crowd held their breath as the ball swung inches wide of the far post.

Then disaster for Notts and Carly Telford when an Everton attack down the right side resulted in the ball being driven low to Telford near post and although the keeper seemed to have the shot covered the ball somehow spilled free for  Nikita Parris to poke home from only inches out.

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Oh no!

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Down but not out. The Notts defense try to raise their spirits after conceding the second goal.

County had the ball in the back of the net minutes later but unfortunately it was still attached to the Everton keeper and the referee deemed it a foul.

County continued to pile on the pressure but the Everton defense held firm.

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With only a few minutes left in the half Amy Turner’s speculative shot almost caught Everton keeper Brown-Finnis out but she managed to get a hand on the ball to tip it around the angle of the post and crossbar.

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Keeper Brown-Finnis, who had a solid game, barely manages to deflect a shot around the post.

That was pretty much it for the first half and I squelched to the other end of the pitch in the hope of photographing County’s fightback and to ruminate on the first 45 minutes. County seemed to have the better of the game but Everton capitalized on the few chances they got. Everton’s number 9 Parris was a particular thorn in Nott’s side the whole of the first half.

The second half started with County seeming to have more spark and they started to increase the pressure on their opponents although Parris still offered a constant threat for Everton. Then with only 10 minutes gone County found just what they were looking for – a bloody equaliser! Sophie Walton and Katie Holtham combined to send the ball towards goal and Katie Hoyle in the Everton box, who managed to get an outstretched foot on it to guide the ball past Brown-finnis in the Everton goal to give Notts a well deserved foothold in this game.

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Katie Hoyle pulls one back for Notts.

Then it was constant pressure from County. Corners and crosses were whipped in to the Everton box keeper Brown-Finnis was on top form to punch clear almost every County attack.

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Brown-finnis punches clear again. ……..

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…….. and again!

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Aileen Whelan’s shot is blocked by the Everton defense as County pile on the pressure.

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The Everton keeper gets to the ball first yet again!

With the score at 2-1 to Everton Jess Clarke picked the ball up in midfield and from a full 25 yards out beat the Everton keeper with a shot that smacked against the Everton post. But Brown-finnis wasn’t to be beaten again and dealt with everything County threw at her from then on; getting her fists on cross after cross as time ran out for the Pies.

But with only a few minutes remaining County worked the ball in to the Everton box where Aileen Whelan laid it back in to space for Dunia Susi on the edge of the box who side footed it with tremendous power only to see it skim over the top of the bar!

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Susi with the chance of equalising in the dying moments of the game hits the ball over the bar.

The referee blew the final whistle after 4 minutes of extra time and Notts were out of the F.A Cup.

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The Toffees celebrate.

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Dania Susi reflects on what might have been.

Notts County Ladies VS Everton Ladies F.A

No ‘cheesy grins’ this week, just long faces that reflect hard-to-bear defeat. County gave a good account of themselves and had all the possession and pressure in the second half but just couldn’t find the equaliser, which had they done so would probably have seen them go on to win the game. Bad luck, but well played ladies.

 

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