On Sunday, AFC Fylde Women slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Leeds United Women in the Quarter Final of the FA Women’s National League Plate.
After the original fixture had been postponed a fortnight ago due to a frozen pitch, this rescheduled Quarter Final saw the Coasters entertain Leeds United at Kellamergh Park.
Despite having much of the possession and applying a lot of attacking pressure, the Coasters were ultimately unable to convert their chances against a resilient and well-organised Leeds United outfit.
Rick Passmoor’s side compete in the FAWNL Division One North and, on this occasion, did not look out of place against their higher-league opponents.
Second-half goals by Kathryn Smith and Abbie Brown proved to be the difference in securing the Leeds United’s passage into the Semi Final of the FAWNL Plate.
Fylde made only one change to the starting eleven that faced Aston Villa Women last time out. Rebecca Beresford proudly made her first start for the club since arriving on loan from Everton Women. Abi Fenton and Evie Whitaker were also named among the substitutes.
On a dry and crisp afternoon, the Coasters made a positive start and looked to get on the front foot.
In an early attack, Laura Merrin sent in an inviting cross from the left that almost picked out Caz Fields, but the ball was headed away.
Shortly afterwards, Fylde goalkeeper Megan Hunter was alert to the danger when she raced out to deny Macy Ellis a potential one-on-one opportunity.
In the 23rd minute, the visitors threatened when Brown cut inside from the right and shot from distance, but Hunter was equal to her effort.
With half-time approaching, Fylde’s Emily Hollinshead dribbled forward and worked an angle on goal but was unable to keep her shot down.
Both teams struggled to create many clear openings during the first half, in which goalscoring chances were at a premium. The teams went into the interval goalless.
Half-Time: AFC Fylde Women 0-0 Leeds United Women
Immediately after the restart, the Coasters signalled their attacking intent with a series of attempts on the visitors’ goal.
Sasha Rowe fired a shot towards the bottom corner that drew a smart save from Leeds United goalkeeper Carrie Simpson.
Moments later, Faye McCoy came close with a direct free-kick from just outside the area that was blocked behind for a corner kick.
In the 50th minute, Leeds United launched a swift counterattack and Smith raced clear before scoring with a crisp right-footed drive from 25 yards out. Catching the Fylde defence off guard, Smith’s clinical finish put the Whites ahead in the tie.
With the Coasters still reeling from the opener, the visitors doubled their lead only a few minutes later. The Whites delivered a sucker punch with their second goal from a counterattack in quick succession.
Ellis showed great vision to play in Amy Woodruff, who then saw her shot parried by Hunter, only for Brown to tap home the rebound and make it 2-0.
In the 65th minute, the Coasters were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area. McCoy stepped up and hit a thunderous drive towards goal, but it was deflected behind for another corner kick.
In the final 15 minutes, Fylde continued to knock on the door in search of a way back into the game.
Substitute Iszy Binks tested Simpson with a speculative attempt from outside the area.
Minutes later, Binks delivered a dangerous cross from the right that just evaded the reach of Fields charging into the box.
Leeds United held on to claim a deserved victory and book their place in the semi-final of the competition, where they will meet Southampton Women’s FC later this month.
Full-Time: AFC Fylde Women 0-2 Leeds United Women
The Coasters are back in league action next weekend with the visit of Derby County Women to Kellamergh Park. This league fixture is scheduled for Sunday 12th February, with kick-off at 2.00 pm.
AFC Fylde Women: Hunter, Fryer, Young, Carroll, Merrin, Forster, Rowe, Beresford (59′ Binks), McCoy (74′ Hignett), Hollinshead (71′ Whitaker), Fields
Unused substitute: Fenton
Leeds United Women: Simpson, Hindle, Hamill, Hannon, Smart, Danby, Whitham, Smith, Ellis, Woodruff, Brown
Unused substitutes: Underdown, Robson, Williams
Report by Scott Jones