Ashford Town (Middlesex) Women (3) – QPR FC Women (4)

Combined Counties Midweek League Cup Third Round

Team: Francis-Pownall, Carolan, Searle, Hennessy, Blodgett, Lewin, Shephard, Hill, Stanley, Akerman, Ward-Chambers

Sammy collected me from Park Royal and we arrived at the Robert Parker Stadium in good time.

It was the home side who came close to opening the scoring when an in-swinging corner was pushed up in the air by the R’s keeper. The follow-up attempt was stopped on the line and eventually the ball was cleared to safety.

Then, Mya Francis-Pownall tipped the Ashford No.10’s free kick from around 25 yards, over the crossbar.

Ashford took the lead on 8 minutes after a long ball had been belted upfield. As Francis-Pownall advanced to clear, Giuseppina Carnevale clipped her, and the ball meandered its way into the net.

This incident left the R’s keeper grounded and in need of some attention.

Rangers equalised straight from the restart following Ellie Searle’s excellent run down the left-flank. She then squared the ball across the box for Grace Stanley to knock in from close range.

The R’s took the lead 10 minutes later when Courtnay Ward-Chambers’ angled strike went into the goal and out through the net.

As the away side looked to increase their lead, Grace Stanley cut in from the right and her shot was well-held by the Ashford keeper.

Following a handball, Ashford were awarded a free kick in a left-of-centre position, around 25-yards out. As the ball was curled in, the R’s keeper was fouled in her attempt to catch it.

On 35 minutes, Katie Akerman scored with an outstanding looping strike from a very wide-right position. The ball went over the keeper before dipping into the net!

The home side pulled a goal back just before the break in rather fortunate circumstances. An attempted clearance ricocheted into the path of Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins, who then finished from close range. Half-time: 3-2.

Into the second-half and Ashford equalised in less than a minute.

Five minutes later, Katie Akerman’s amazing free kick from 35-yards found the top corner. Without doubt, this was one of the goals of the season!

On the hour mark, Steve Quashie introduced Alice Curr and Emilia Nygaard-Parsons at the expense of Ailish Carolan and Katie Akerman respectively.

Mya Francis-Pownall tipped a 30-yard free kick over the crossbar.

On 72 minutes, Amani Salim replaced Grace Shephard. Further changes were made eight minutes later, as the home side went three at the back, Steve Quashie decided to tighten up defensively. Ellie Rogers and Dahlia Salah came on for Grace Stanley and Courtnay Ward-Chambers.

Ashford went close to forcing an equaliser in the closing stages when, following a corner, the ball came off the underside of the bar, before being cleared to safety.

Then, a backward header from a free kick was well saved by the R’s keeper.

Rangers battled on and earned the right to face Maidenhead in the next round.

It was back to league action next for Steve Quashie’s side when they travelled to Chesham.

Steve Russell                                                                                                                                                       

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