Slough Town Ladies won a dramatic penalty shootout in the League Cup away to Newbury Ladies Development on Sunday.
This was a special day for the Rebels captain Nadine Roberts, who was making her first start of the season after injuring her ligaments in pre-season.
The Rebels were quick out of the blocks and gained early dominance over Newbury. The football was slick and everyone was playing their part, the fullbacks were pushed up high and Nadine was controlling the centre of the park. Newbury’s only way out was long clearances up field.
The movement of the front three was giving the Newbury defence nightmares, with Nadine, Sam and Harlie providing the ammunition and the chances were coming thick and fast with only bad finishing keeping the score at 0-0.
Twenty minutes in, Slough were forced into their first change as Harlie Clark came off injured and was replaced by Merreisha Waul.
Midway through the first half Shannon Daly received a pass on the halfway line, and she brilliantly turned away from the Newbury defender and spotted a great run by Alice Heady. Shannon floated a superb through ball right into the path of Alice and she was one-on-one 25 yards from goal. Alice kept calm and buried her shot into the bottom left hand corner from 8 yards out. That made it 1-0 and it was nothing more than the Ladies deserved.
The passing was slick and free flowing, and the attacking down the wings was great to watch. Shannon and Alice were stretching the Newbury defence with their pace in behind. Slough could have been five goals to the good but the Newbury keeper made some great saves to keep the score to just one.
The second half didn’t start well for the Rebels as they become very sloppy in possession, the difference in the level of performance from the first half to the second was massive and this gave Newbury the confidence to attack. The game became stretched, with Newbury now gaining in confidence and forcing Chloe Hetherington into action.
Both teams were counter-attacking each other and going close, but the Rebels had the clearer chances with Shannon Daly and Alice Heady both going close. Slough’s best chance of the second half fell to Merreisha Waul. She ran on to a through ball from Shannon Daly and was one-on-one with the keeper. Merreisha struck her shot early, but rattled the post.
And six minutes from full-time, Newbury snatched an equaliser. After a good corner was cleared by Vicky Stanford, a goalmouth scramble ensued and the ball was toe poked-home by the Newbury striker to level the scores.
Newbury were now on top and Slough looked ragged, and with a minute to go Chloe Hetherington pulled off a fingertip save to deny Newbury the win.
In the shootout, Slough missed their first two kicks, with Newbury scoring their first three. Alice Heady, Shannon Daly and Sam McKenzie scored the next three and Chloe fantastically saved Newbury’s last two kicks.
In ‘sudden death’, up stepped Nikhita Sangha who slotted her penalty into the top right hand corner to make it 4-3, with Newbury levelling. Kym Stenson buried her penalty into the bottom left hand corner and then Chloe pulled off a great save to send Slough through to the next round.
This was a game of two halves - Slough dominated the first and should have been leading by a larger scoreline than 1-0, and this gave Newbury the confidence to attack in the second half.
Amongst some really good displays, Nadine Roberts was solid in her return, Nikhita Sangha was superb in all three positions she played, but the Player of the Match was Vicky Stanford, who was outstanding in defence.
Slough Town Ladies line-up: 4-1-2-3
GK - Chloe Hetherington
RB – Emma Gaywood
CB – Kym Stenson
CB - Vicky Stanford
LB – Nikhita Sangha
CDM – Nadine Roberts (Capt)
CM – Samantha McKenzie
CM – Harlie Clark
RW – Alice Heady
LW – Shannon Daly
ST – Lucy Passfield
Substitutes: Merreisha Waul, Brooke Pomeroy
Copyright 2020 Slough Town F.C. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.sloughtownfc.net as the source.