Sunday, 11 May 2014

Everton 2 v Notts County 1 - FA Women's Cup Semi Final

Sunday 11th May 2014
at North Street, Alfreton
FA Women's Cup Semi Final
Everton (2) 2
Nikita Parris 14, 28
Notts County (0) 1
Katie Hoyle 57
Admission £4. Programme £2. Attendance 638
Notts County:
Telford, Walton, Bradley, Scott, Turner; Corsie, Hoyle, Holtham (Roberts 81), Susi, Friend (Whelan 73), Clarke
Unused subs - Draycott, Sweetman-Kirk, Haywood
Brown-Finnis, V. Jones, Greenwood, George, Johnson, Chaplen, Hinnigan, D Turner, M. Turner (Whipp 86), K. Jones, Parris
Unused subs - Walsh, Magill, Murphy
Everton progressed to the final of the FA Women's Cup, where they will face Arsenal, at MK Dons on June 1st, by virtue of a first half double strike from Nikita Parris.
But they had to hang on for dear life to claim their win against a very lively Magpies side, who completely dominated the game after the interval once Katie Hoyle had pulled a goal back.
In an open game, both teams had created chances before Everton opened the scoring on 14 minutes.
Gabby George won a left wing corner for the Toffees, that their left back Alex Greenwood dropped into the box at precisely the same time that Parris momentarily lost her marker and the Blues number 9 planted a header into the top corner of the net.
Rachel Corsie, teaming up with Jess Clarke, was causing the Everton defence no end of problems, but the 'Lady Pies' couldn't quite find the final touch as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
The Blues doubled their advantage on 28 minutes, when County's goalkeeper Carly Telford, spilled a Danielle Turner cross, right into the path of Parris, who had the easiest of tasks to tap the ball into the net ... a typical poachers goal if you will.
County thought they had got a goal back when Rachel Brown-Finnis in the Everton goal, caught the ball from a Sophie Watson corner, but then dropped the ball over the line. The referee ruled that she had been fouled and denied the Notts Ladies a goal, much to the dismay of some of their players.
Parris dug in and won the ball in midfield and sprinted towards the County goal, a hat trick and a three nil interval lead looked on the cards, but Telford ran from her line and bravely pulled off a great save at the Everton striker's feet.
Amy Turner was denied by Brown-Finnis just before the break, when her long range shot was acrobatically tipped away, over the crossbar.
HT - Everton 2 v Notts County 1
Everton came out looking lively at the start of the second half, wanting to consolidate their lead, knowing that Notts were still in with a shout and looking ever more threatening.
Parris broke away from midfield, but had arrived in the County box sans support so she launched an hopeful shot towards goal, which was deflected wide for a corner. A county player headed over her own bar from the first corner and Greenwood thumped a 20 yard shot just wide of the post from the second.
From then on in, the majority of the second half was played out deep in the Everton half.
County got a goal back on 57 minutes, when Katie Hoyle was on hand to turn in a Katie Holten flick on from a Sophie Walton cross. Game on ... and the team formerly known as Lincoln Ladies/Lady Imps, were back in with a shout.
Jess Clarke almost equalised shortly afterwards, when she made herself space from a burst through the midfield and rattled the upright with a powerful effort from 30 yards out.
Whenever Everton did venture into the Notts half during the second half, Rachel Corsie looked very comfortable on the ball, marshalling it to safety and excelling in her role today.
Once again Clarke threatened the Everton goal and Brown-Finnis was grateful to hold onto another goal attempt at the second attempt.
Clarke was upended just outside the Everton box. The Blues were defending deep but admirably and putting up a determined rearguard action by now. Walton's free kick caused chaos in the Everton defence and Dunia Susi, who'd been up and down the pitch all afternoon, was unlucky to shoot over from 10 yards out, inside the final 10 minutes.
Despite having been virtually attacking all out for the best part of 35 minutes, Notts County had found the Everton defence was far too resilient to crack for a second time, though the Toffees had Brown-Finnis to thank for keeping the Magpies at bay, several times.
Everton's back four (plus supporting cast) deserve a lot of credit for standing up to such a second half barrage of pressure.
When the final whistle sounded, it must've seemed like an awful long time ago for Everton, since they had almost gone 3-0 up, in the closing stages of the first half.
Well done both teams, a great game and an excellent advert for women's football.
FT - Everton 2 v Notts County 1