Nine-goal Netts rout Histon to progress in SSE Women's FA Cup
“Just the name of the FA Cup stirs something within the players.”
Two young teams met on a field in the small village of Nettleham on an autumnal Sunday afternoon.
“A player at any age is excited by playing in the FA Cup. At whatever level, whatever round, it’s such an exciting, historic competition to be involved in,” says Richard Cooper, Nettleham Ladies manager.
Last year, the Netts reached the Cup’s second round in a season which ended with their promotion to the Women’s National League.
Histon’s best FA Cup performance came four years ago, in their final season as Great Shelford Ladies before making their move to Histon Ladies, when they reached the third round qualifying and lost on penalties.
The team, which currently plays in the Eastern Region Division One, is on the rise after its rebuild process but, according to manager, Matt Payne “more time is needed to achieve [their] goal.”
Both sides have women as young as 16 fighting for their place in the FA Cup and Cooper added: “Some of the younger players haven’t played in the FA Cup before and this will be a new experience for them.
“I was keen to have the opportunity to give all players a chance to be part of the game today.”
At Mulsanne Park, the opening minutes were very evenly matched as the two teams found their footing. The first attempt came at the five minute mark when a cross for Nettleham resulted in Keeley Robinson, Histon’s goalkeeper, sustaining an injury.
When play resumed, Cooper’s side defended well before getting into the swing of things and bringing the ball towards Histon’s goal with more promise.
In the 18th minute, a fumble in the goalmouth meant Nettleham took the lead thanks to an own goal and just one minute later, Lucy Farrow doubled the lead for the hosts.
Katy Thornley added a third when the ball rebounded off the goalkeeper and fell to her feet.
Soon after, Ella Thompson-Moulding scored two for Nettleham in just three minutes with her second in the 35th minute coming as a corner from the right was lifted in and headed towards her. With her back to the goal, she put the ball into the corner of the net with an overhead kick.
Three minutes later, Abi Ringrose put the hosts six goals in the lead with a left-footer into the top corner of the net. The half ended with a goalmouth scramble and came to a close with a 6-0 scoreline.
Nettleham came out with the same vigour in the second half. Their first attempt came in the 46th minute and many more on-target shots followed. Farrow scored her second in the 56th minute and Holly Newman scored her first goal of the game for the Netts just shy of the hour mark.
16-year-old Holly Wilson, making her FA Cup debut, then scored in the 88th minute to complete the scoring at 9-0.
After the game, Wilson said: “I feel delighted to get onto the scoresheet after putting my all into my time on the pitch, and I’m proud to be part of such a great performance from everyone on the team.”
Nettleham will take £600 from the prize fund and proceed to the first round proper next month and Cooper isn’t scared of what’s to come in the next round.
“I think on our day we can beat anybody at this level,” he said.
“I certainly don’t think we need to be frightened of anybody that will go into the hat after today’s round of games.”