AFC Fylde Women completed a remarkable turnaround in extra-time to seal a 5-4 win against Middlesbrough Women FC in the Second Round Proper of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
Kellamergh Park played host to another thrilling cup tie, only this time the Coasters came out victorious with two goals in extra-time to book their place in the next round of the competition.
In an end-to-end encounter, both teams threw everything into the game and could not be separated after 90 minutes of entertaining football. The contest was ultimately decided in extra-time when the Coasters staged a dramatic comeback to overcome the Teessiders.
Andy Campbell’s Middlesbrough side, who compete in the FAWNL Division One North, showed exceptional fighting spirit and were perhaps unfortunate not to have come away with the win after scoring four goals against higher-league opposition. In the end, Danielle Young’s Fylde team drew on their resilience to turn the tie in their favour and run out 5-4 winners.
In a lively opening to the game, Middlesbrough fired an early warning shot when Jess Dawson lashed an effort wide from a narrow-angle.
Minutes later, the visitors struggled to deal with the pace of Amy Hughes, who raced clear into the box, only to be brought down by defender Brooke Newton. The referee pointed to the spot, and Faye McCoy confidently dispatched the penalty to open the scoring in the 12th minute.
However, the Teessiders equalised almost instantly after the restart. After regaining possession high up the pitch, Dawson dribbled into space before firing an unstoppable strike into the top corner of the net. Fylde goalkeeper Megan Hunter got a glove to the shot but was unable to keep it out.
Shortly after the equaliser, Middlesbrough threatened again, this time from a direct free-kick that midfielder Eve Marshall curled towards the far corner, but Hunter did well to parry the ball away.
With half-time approaching, the Coasters tried to score themselves from a free-kick after Hughes was fouled on the edge of the area. McCoy took aim but saw her effort deflected wide for a corner. The teams went into the break on level terms.
Half-Time: AFC Fylde Women 1-1 Middlesbrough Women FC
At the start of the second half, Fylde substitute Iszy Binks made an instant impact when she found space down the right and centred for McCoy, who was unable to get a clean connection to turn home the cross.
Emily Hollinshead then embarked on a mazy run into the box and saw her effort saved by Middlesbrough goalkeeper Kayley Dunn, who stretched out a leg to make a crucial block.
On the hour mark, the Teessiders were awarded a penalty when Dawson fell under a challenge from Alex Taylor. Jess Whitaker coolly converted the penalty with a side-footed finish into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
The Coasters responded by making a double substitution with Danielle Young and Charlie Hignett introduced to the action. Both substitutes played their part in turning the tie on its head.
After Laura Merrin’s corner was only partially headed clear, Hignett steered home the rebound from close range. Dunn was only able to push the shot onto the underside of the crossbar before the ball bounced over the line.
Hignett’s leveller in the 84th minute was followed by a flurry of chances for both sides. In the 90th minute, Fylde regained the lead when Young caught Dunn off her line and rifled the ball into the roof of the net from some 30 yards out. As the Coasters celebrated jubilantly, it was not the last action of regulation time.
The Teessiders managed to equalise in stoppage time when a through ball was headed on by substitute Armani Maxwell into the path of Dawson, who showed great composure to lift the ball over Hunter and into the back of the net.
As Dawson wheeled away in celebration, an off-the-ball altercation in the goalmouth resulted in both Taylor and Maxwell being sent off, reducing both teams to ten players.
Full-Time: AFC Fylde Women 3-3 Middlesbrough Women FC
Fylde began the first half of extra-time on the front foot. Merrin delivered another dangerous corner that was controlled by Jenna Carroll, but Carroll’s hurried effort cleared the crossbar.
In the 101st minute, Middlesbrough retook the lead with a spectacular lobbed finish by Dawson to complete her hat-trick. With the Fylde defence stretched, Dawson showed great vision to chip the ball into the net and make it 4-3 to the visitors.
As the second half of extra-time got underway, Middlesbrough defender Newton was dismissed for a second bookable offence after tripping Hughes on the edge of the area. Merrin’s resulting free-kick was confidently gathered by Dunn.
After sustained attacking pressure, Fylde netted the equaliser when Caz Fields raced down the right and squared the ball to Young, who steadied her feet before steering the ball past Dunn to level the scores at 4-4.
In the 117th minute, Fylde grabbed a deserved winner, albeit in fortuitous circumstances. Attacking Sasha Rowe’s cross into the box, Hughes challenged for a header, only for the ball to hit a Middlesbrough defender and loop into the back of the net.
Fylde also played out the final minutes with nine players after Young was sent off for a second yellow after delaying the restart of play. The referee blew the full-time whistle and brought an end to a memorable cup tie.
Full-Time After Extra-Time: AFC Fylde Women 5-4 Middlesbrough Women FC
Next up, the Coasters welcome Boldmere St Michaels Women to Kellamergh Park in the FAWNL Plate. This Second Round tie against the Mikes Women will be played on Sunday 4th December. Meanwhile, the Coasters have been drawn away to Solihull Moors Women in the Third Round Proper of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, which will take place on Sunday 11th December.
AFC Fylde Women: Hunter, Fryer (46′ Binks), Carroll, Taylor, Merrin, Forster, Rowe, Fields, Hollinshead (68’ Hignett), McCoy (68’ Young), Hughes
Unused substitute: Smith
Report by Scott Jones