Ladies First Team vs. Nottingham Forest (2 : 3)
FA Women's Cup
Sheffield FC Ladies bowed out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup at the first hurdle, writes Oli Coultas, losing 3-2 to fellow FA Women’s National League side Nottingham Forest.
It was the home side who took an early lead through Ellie Hawcroft's quick thinking. Just five minutes after kick-off, she was the most alert, reacting to a loose ball on the edge of the box, and calmly tucked it home into the bottom corner, leaving Forest goalkeeper Rebecca Thomas stranded.
Megan Tinsley then had a good chance to make it 2-0 after a driving run and blocked shot, the rebound falling kindly to the left-back but she slipped just as dispatching the shot and it flew wide.
Forest were allowed back into the game though midway through the first half after a defensive mix-up left Ashleigh Edwards to run onto a pass and nudge it past Lauren Santoro before poking it home for 1-1.
Sheffield's Ellie White restored the lead for the hosts four minutes later with a goal similar to the first. Molly Johnson's free-kick hit the Forest wall but the defence were unable to fully clear the ball allowing White to get her shot off into the far corner.
A strong spell saw further chances fall to White and Lisa Giampalma with the latter's out-stretched boot off a cross from the left just unable to hit the target under pressure from Thomas, whilst the former had a couple of efforts dispatched narrowly wide and high before the break.
Two Nottingham goals in five minutes saw Ashleigh Edwards complete her hat-trick and put the away side ahead for the first time. Picking the ball up in a central area, she was allowed a touch and spotted Santoro off her line and lobbed her to square things up.
The even contest continued in the second half with Tinsley having another good chance to extend Sheffield's lead shortly after the restart, blazing a shot over the cross bar from left of the goal.
A good spell from Sheffield ended with captain Holly Housley having to leave the pitch injured, and Sheffield never really recovered from the change.
The game swung midway through the second half as the referee ignored big claims for a Sheffield penalty as Lauren Cresswell took Giampalma's legs in the box, the referee waving play on to allow Johnson to shoot at Thomas who made a great save with a strong right hand.
Four minutes later, Forest were level as Edwards bagged her second picking up a loose ball and lifting it over the head of Santoro to drop into the net.
And the forward would break Sheffield hearts in the 80th minute, running onto a ball through the back line, knocking it past Santoro and into the far corner to complete an impressive hat-trick.
Try as they might, Sheffield couldn't get back on terms to force extra time, and Forest go into the hat for the third round.
Sheffield now turn their attention back to league action, where they travel to Doncaster Rovers Belles next weekend.