The THLFC Under-15s hosted
Queens Park Rangers in the League Cup semi final without the services of
Jemma Young and Georgie Richings on a hot morning at Frederick Knights.
What was served up by both teams was a game full of drama right to the
In the first minute of the
game Ayse Mustafa crossed into the box where Rosie Kmita controlled and
fired just over the bar. A minute later Rosie and Renata Inniss
combined to feed Whitney Tango whose shot was gathered by the keeper.
The fine start by Spurs
continued when a ball was played through the QPR defence to Nikki
Hunnable who held off a defender before firing over the bar. Ayse then
went close from distance seeing her shot gather by the keeper.
With 13 minutes on the
clock Rosie fed Nikki who in turn found Laura Smith who fired into the
side netting. Nikki was by this time torturing the QPR defence
with her pace and, having beaten a couple of players, found Rosie who
saw her shot saved.
With all the Spurs
pressure, it was QPR who actually came closest to opening the score on
15 minutes when, after winning a free kick on the edge of the Spurs
penalty area, they fired a fierce shot towards the goal only to see
Daisy O’Sullivan pull off a superb save tipping the ball round the post
for a corner.
Renata then fired over
again before another great run by Nikki set up Laura who saw her shot
saved. QPR then went close again crossing in to the Spurs area
finding an unmarked attacker. Katie Mills flew in with a challenge
to whip the ball away before she could get a shot off.
With 21 minutes on the
clock another good run from Nikki found Renata on the edge of the box.
She controlled, took the ball round a defender and fired past the
keeper to make the score 1-0 to Spurs.
The game seemed to suffer
a lull for the next few minutes as both teams toiled away without
creating any clear chances. Just prior to half time Nikki fired
over from distance before feeding Siobhan Jones whose shot was well
saved leaving the score 1-0 to Spurs at the break.
QPR were awarded a penalty
right after half time after Laura was adjudged to have committed a foul.
The QPR penalty taker made no mistake from the spot levelling the score
With 42 minutes on the
clock Renata fired just wide as Spurs sought to regain the lead. Laura
and Charlotte Dean both had shots saved before Katie was on hand again
to tidy up from some slow reaction to a loose ball.
Renata fired over from a
cross by Phoebe Eshen and both Charlotte and Laura again went close
before Spurs were (rather fortunately) awarded a penalty of their own on
the hour after Renata was fouled. She stepped up to take the penalty
only to see the ball hit the post before being cleared by the QPR
Molly Kmita and Harley
Keenlyside were on hand to tidy up from a dangerous QPR free kick
shortly afterwards as the game became more open. Siobhan won a free kick
on the edge of the box after 65 minutes. Nikki stepped up and fired a
shot at goal that was well saved by the Rangers keeper.
Ayse shot past the post
whilst QPR went close themselves from a corner as the game seemed to be
drifting to extra time. However, there was still time for first Laura
and then Siobhan to go close from a couple of corners before the final
whistle blew with the scores level at 1-1.
The first half of extra
time was fairly nondescript with QPR having one chance gathered
comfortably by Daisy whilst Renata fired over the bar from distance at
the other end.
The second half was pretty
much all Spurs as the QPR team seemed to tire with Ayse first firing
over before combining with Renata only to have her shot saved by the
Rangers keeper. Laura then went close whilst at the other end
Katie was on hand to cut out a dangerous QPR attack.
With a penalty shoot-out
looming, the ball was crossed into the QPR area and it seemed Ayse was
certain to score, but she could not get a shot away with enough power to
beat the keeper and thus this was how extra time finished.
And so it was down to the
lottery of penalties and a question of who could hold their nerve and
gain a bit of good fortune. Both sets of players gathered in the
centre circle as girls from both sides stepped forward in turn,
displaying an incredible amount of bottle, to take the spot kicks.
QPR dispatched the first
penalty with Daisy close to making a save (1-0). Laura stepped up
first for Spurs and dispatched to level the score at 1-1.
QPR scored their second
penalty (2-1) with Daisy again getting close, before Renata fired wide
to leave the score remaining at 2-1 and seemingly the advantage with
Cue Daisy, who then made a
fantastic save from QPR’s third penalty to prevent them from adding to
their score before Ayse drilled home to level the scores at 2-2 after
three kicks apiece.
The pressure was
definitely beginning to tell as Daisy again saved QPR’s fourth kick only
for Siobhan to see her kick saved also when it seemed likely that Spurs
would move ahead.
QPR dispatched their fifth
penalty (3-2) as did Charlotte calmly under extreme pressure and so it
was to sudden death with the scores level at 3-3.
Fortune favoured the U15s
as QPRs sixth penalty was drilled wide of Daisy’s post. Captain
Molly stepped up to take Spurs’ sixth penalty. The parents and
management team collectedly held their breath, but needn’t have worried,
as she fired the ball into the roof of the net to make the final score
3-4 to Spurs and taking the U15s to the cup final where Luton await.
Well done to the girls on
both sides for an entertaining game. Commiserations to QPR, who having
fought back to level the game, were denied by penalties.
player(s) of the match: