Vitality Women’s FA Cup: Ascot United bow out of First Round Proper after valiant effort against National League side




An historic day for Ascot United Ladies as they took to the pitch at the Racecourse on a drizzly November afternoon to play in the First Round Proper of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup for the first time in their sixteen year history.

Chichester and Selsey were all firing on all cylinders from the kick off and took a convincingly early lead as Laura Clark was able to exploit a gap in defence and fed a direct ball through to Tash Wild who was able to hit the top corner beyond the reach of Ascot goalkeeper and captain, Lisa Phillips.

Ascot were quick to counter however as they moved play well through the ranks, Izzy Woods did incredibly well to ping a ball upfield from a central position and Sarah Leonard used her rapidity to latch onto it, but her shot was straight at goalkeeper Izzy Foster, a redeeming chance for Nicole Brown to hold on the rebounded ball which gave her time to turn but her effort was also denied by a diving Foster.

Both sides had efforts from distance, first with Chichester’s number 10 taking a punt from outfield and then an Ascot free kick but neither took the chance well and in fact both saw their attempts fly wildly over the crossbar. Phillips showed her exemplary form between the sticks throughout the game, but the first flash of brilliance came when she swept the ball aside to deny Chichester their second goal just shy of the twenty minute mark.

“The players didn’t stop trying, proud of them for that but ultimately Chichester were just too good for us today.”

Darrel Evans, Ascot United Ladies manager
Lauren Townsend in action for Ascot United Ladies in the Vitality Women's FA Cup Photo: Neil Graham
Lauren Townsend in action for Ascot United Ladies in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Photo: Neil Graham

Chichester made a habit of over-hitting their corners all afternoon and the first of which came half an hour in, with nothing was made of the over-arching ball, but they were quick to prove a point and Wild was ready and waiting as the ball was played quickly down the right wing by Phillipa Holden and the cross allowed her to net for a second time.

Ascot made light work of Chichester’s next corner as it was again over-hit and confidently headed away. Katie Vince with a well-weighted shot forward for a switched on Leonard, however her run was just short to capitalise properly on the opportunity.

Chichester were quick off the mark once again in the second half and at the 53rd minute, Wild secured herself a hat-trick after a ball delivered by Gemma Simmonds meant she was able to cruelly chip Phillips who was just off her line. Ascot were not to be beaten however as Lauren Townsend put in a perfectly timed sliding tackle in the box to deny Chichester a third goal, which allowed Phillips to make another vital save. An error by the keeper, however, meant the ball ended up at the feet of the attacking Chichester side but Phillips was able to use her prowess once more and stopped the immediate danger.

“We knew today would be a really tough challenge and had talked about how we just had to throw everything we had at it. It was really disappointing conceding so early, but the girls kept at it and remained positive, we even responded straight away by getting a shot on target up the other end. I could not be prouder of the team today, everyone gave their all against a very good side. It was also great to have so much support from the sidelines, so a huge thank you to everyone that got behind us today!”

Lisa Phillips, Ascot United Ladies goalkeeper and captain

Ascot weren’t beat yet as Sarah Davern stepped up with a soaring free-kick and the ball looked to be looping over the keeper, but the chance was just over the cross-bar for the Yellawomen and the score remained in Chichester’s favour. Quick to counter once gain, a striking chance by Simmonds was initially saved by Phillips but the ball was left loose by the defense and Sarah Saunders was able to make the most of the lack of clearance as she slotted a final goal home for the visitors just before the final whistle.

FT: Ascot United Ladies 0-4 Chichester & Selsey Ladies

Lisa Phillips makes a vital stop for Ascot United Ladies in their Vitality Women's FA Cup fixture against Chichester & Selsey Ladies. Photo: Neil Graham
Lisa Phillips makes a vital stop for Ascot United Ladies in their Vitality Women’s FA Cup fixture against Chichester & Selsey Ladies. Photo: Neil Graham

Ascot showed some real sparks of chances and played some excellent football at times, ultimately they were outplayed and at times outpaced by a well put together National League side.

“Really proud of the team today, and it’s clear how much they continue to develop. Great performances across the board, but Lisa Phillips in goal was immense. It was also great to see how our “one club” ethos shone through today – great to see men’s First Team manager Jamie Tompkins and skipper Louis Bouwers pitch side cheering on the ladies.”

Simon Negus, Ascot United chairman

Our ‘Player of the Match’ today was Lisa Phillips, captain and keeper, for some fantastic and important saves to deny Chichester multiple chances at goal. Honourable mentions for Lauren Townsend and Izzy Woods in the first half too, Lauren showed a battling mentality throughout to keep the defense tight, whilst Izzy made some slick turns on the ball in midfield and denied a Chichester goal with a solid goal line clearance.

Ascot are, unfortunately, our sixth Berkshire side to exit this year’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup with Reading FC Women our last chance at the trophy, they are due to enter at the Fourth Round Proper. No rest for Ascot either as they are away to Chesham United in more cup action in the Berks & Bucks County Cup on Sunday 21st of November.

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