AFC Fylde Women travelled to Norton and Stockton Ancients Ladies FC in the Second Round of the FA Women’s National League Cup where Fylde came from behind to win 3-2 after extra time and advance to the quarter-final of the League Cup.
The rearranged fixture offered Kim Turner’s and Danielle Young’s side the chance to round off the year in style with progression to the next round of the FAWNL Cup. Norton Ladies, who compete in the division below, proved to be tough opponents in what proved to be an end-to-end contest in Stockton-on-Tees.
The Coasters made several changes with Jenna Carroll starting in goal and Jodie Mortimer returning in midfield. While chances were limited in the early stages, the match sprung into life with two quick-fire efforts by Fylde striker Faye McCoy.
After Hannah Forster had drawn a foul on the edge of the area, McCoy hit the resulting free-kick narrowly wide in the 20th minute. A few minutes later, McCoy found a yard of space and drilled an effort towards the bottom corner, but Norton Ladies keeper Laura Ellison got down well to gather.
Norton Ladies then fashioned their first chance of note when Lily Patrick burst through on the counterattack and fizzed a shot across goal, but Carroll pulled off a stunning fingertip save to keep the ball out.
In the 37th minute, the Coasters were forced to make an early substitution when Jodie Redgrave picked up an injury and was replaced by Kaya Pottinger in midfield. Pottinger quickly stamped her mark on the game when she hit a long-range shot that flew just over the crossbar.
After Amy Hughes was fouled in the box, the Coasters took the lead on the stroke of half time when McCoy slotted the resulting penalty kick into the bottom left corner to give the visitors a deserved lead at the interval.
Half-Time: Norton and Stockton Ancients Ladies FC 0-1 AFC Fylde Women
In the 51st minute, the Coasters came close to a second when Pottinger turned expertly on the edge of the area and curled a left-footed effort onto the crossbar. On the rebound, Olivia Fuller’s looping header was collected by Ellison in the Norton Ladies goal.
Norton Ladies then turned the game on its head, with goals on either side of the hour mark to make it 2-1. In the 57th minute, the home side levelled through Bianca Owens following a corner kick delivered by Lily Patrick. After seeing her initial header blocked on the line, Owens made no mistake with the rebound to beat Carroll in the Fylde goal.
The impressive Owens doubled her goal tally minutes later when she latched on to Sophie Tierney’s through ball and confidently slotted the ball past Carroll to turn the tie in the home side’s favour.
Refusing to give in, the Coasters battled to find an instant equaliser. In the 71st minute, Pottinger again came close to scoring when she connected with a pass from Mortimer and saw her shot cleared off the line. Two minutes later, Emily Hollinshead sent in an inviting cross that McCoy volleyed towards goal, but Ellison made an impressive save to preserve the home side’s lead.
The Coasters made an attacking change by introducing Ellie Whitaker in place of Amy Hughes upfront. With the hosts coming under increasing pressure, keeper Ellison was called into action on another two occasions when she first saved a curling left-footed shot by Laura Merrin, before she then got down well to repel Hollinshead’s piledriver.
The breakthrough arrived only minutes before full time when McCoy won another penalty kick for the visitors. McCoy confidently stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick and send the tie into extra time.
Full-Time: Norton and Stockton Ancients Ladies FC 2-2 AFC Fylde Women
With momentum on their side, the Coasters did not take long to regain the lead some four minutes into extra time. McCoy completed her hat-trick when she scored directly from a free-kick with the aid of a fortuitous deflection. It capped an impressive turnaround for the Coasters.
Fylde continued to assert their dominance in added time, first with Merrin’s long-range strike whistling just wide of the post before substitute Whitaker came close with a swerving shot that also went narrowly wide of Ellison’s goal.
With the last action of the game, Merrin almost created a fourth by delivering a dangerous cross into the box, but McCoy was just unable to direct her header inside the post. The Coasters closed out the game and sealed their progress to the quarter-final stage of the FAWNL Cup.
Full-Time Extra Time: Norton and Stockton Ancients Ladies FC 2-3 AFC Fylde Women
AFC Fylde Women: Carroll, Forster, Fuller, Holbrook, Hollinshead, Merrin, Redgrave (37′ Pottinger), Fryer, Hughes (74′ Whitaker), Mortimer, McCoy
Report by Scott Jones