FA WOMEN'S CUP: Spitfires exit in first round proper

SWINDON Spitfires’ adventure in the FA Women’s Cup came to an end on Sunday with a 3-0 defeat at Larkhall Athletic in the first round proper.

Despite the scoreline Spitfires were not outclassed by their opponents from a higher division but paid the price for giving their opponents too much respect in the first half,.

By the time the visitors upped their game in the second period they were already chasing a two-goal deficit and there was no way back.

The hosts’ first chance of any note came when Kate German fired wide after 12 minutes while, at the other end, Spits were struggling to break down the backline.

Larkhall opened the scoring in the 22nd minute from a goalmouth scramble that saw one strike hit the crossbar before Tasha Miller fired the loose ball into the net.

The lead was doubled after 38 minutes when a break down the right ended with Emily Hannington slotting home.

Despite trailing, Spitfires set about the second half with renewed vigour, giving their opponents far less time on the ball and working closer as a team.

Good build-up play from Spitfires in the 56th minute almost reaped the reward when Ria Salleh and Mel Bristow combined to set up Cara Costello, only for the final shot to go agonisingly wide.

The game was now a much more even affair, with both Laura Stallard and Emma Skinner getting shots away for Spitfires, but a momentary lapse in concentration in the 70th minute cost Spitfires the third goal as Hannington latched onto a misplaced clearance wide on the right before cutting in and finishing at the near post.

After the game, Spitfires manager Paul Martin said: “Although it was obviously disappointing to lose the game I’m proud of the way the girls gave it their all and I couldn’t have asked for more in terms of commitment and effort especially in the second half.”

Elsewhere, Spitfires’ under 17s showed they can mix it with the best when they convincingly beat second-placed Oxford Bluebirds 4-1 in the Oxford Girls League.

Spits’ goals came courtesy of Georgia Coward, Mya McKnight and Sarah Uzzell twice. Heidi-Mae Miles got the Bluebirds’ consolation.

Spitfires Under 15s chalked up a 4-0 win at Bardwell with goals from Amy Connaghan (2), Meghan Larkin and Poppy Cottrill giving them all three points.

The under 12s were 8-0 winners at Harwell & Hendred where victory was secured thanks to strikes from Aimee Prinzi (5), Chloe Neate, Courtney Gleed and Shannon Whitely. Spits’ under 14s were held to a 0-0 draw by visitors Benson United.

Finally, Spitfires had several players in action for the Oxford Girls League representative sides that faced their counterparts from the Hertfordshire Girls Football Partnership over the weekend.

Danielle Jones, Mia Sanghara, Helena Butcher, Lucy Goodright, Natalie Goodright and Poppy Cottrill turned out for the under 14s, who lost 5-1, while Katrina Reynolds and Meghan Larkin played in the under 16s’ 5-2 win.

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