Carlisle Ladies Masters 3 Bretforton Ladies Masters 3 (Bretforton won 3-2 on penalties)
England Masters O35s National Shield
THE PINK Ladies veterans held their nerve to prevail in a thrilling last eight encounter in this prestigious national competition on Sunday.
In a dramatic penalty shoot-out, Bret keeper Vicky Watkins made three superb saves before Tessa Lewinton scored the decisive penalty to seal a home semi-final against either London-based Wapping or Norwich City on March 13 as the battle to reach the final at the Olympic Park’s Lee Valley Stadium on April 30 continues.
The first half saw Bretforton put under pressure by an attacking Carlisle team who were awarded many short corners.
However, a quick counter-attack saw Bretforton win a short corner of their own and Sophie Hamilton stepped up to the mark to fire the ball into the bottom right corner with the aid of a deflection.
The intensity of the game increased and Bret’s experienced players Jane Wheeler, Blanche Surman, Hamilton and Lewinton showed fine composure to deal with Carlisle’s big guns.
However, the equaliser arrived when an unmarked Carlisle defender neatly slipped the ball past Watkins.
At the other end rolling forwards Sarah Hall, Deb Slatter and Sarah Bragg gelled well together and created chances, but there was no further scoring before the break.
In the second half Bret were impressive in their midfield play and Lisa Workman, Sally Beale, Julie Hall and Dani Cox all linked up well.
Their endeavours were rewarded when Slatter swiftly dragged the ball out to Workman who dribbled and crossed the ball back into Slatter waiting patiently on the post to slip the ball under the Carlisle keeper’s feet and make it 2-1.
Carlisle were a constant threat at the other end and eventually they drew level once again courtesy of a short corner.
In a dramatic final ten minutes Carlisle’s keeper was left exposed and she was forced into conceding a penalty flick and the composed Hamilton again stepped up to smoothly tuck the ball into the bottom right corner.
Once again though, there was no surrender from Carlisle and they levelled for a third time from another short corner two minutes from time.
Then came the dreaded penalties which thankfully for Bret went their way and they could enjoy the long journey home.