Nottingham Forest progressed to the quarter-finals of this seasons’ FA Women’s National League, League Cup at the weekend, following a come-from-behind, extra-time success, away to Stoke City.
Having made four changes to his starting eleven, Head Coach Andy Cook bringing in Aja Aguirre, Becky Anderson, Charlotte Greengrass and Mackenzie Smith, the Reds, although taken to the extra thirty in a tough encounter on the road, were buoyed by the return of LJ O’Neill, after a year out.
O’Neill, who has been an unused substitute in recent games, came on in the closing stages of extra-time, replacing one of the four scorers, Yasmin Mosby, much to the delight of those both on, and off, the field of play.
The hosts, featuring a couple of former Reds in Rosie Axten and Sophie Bramford, opened the scoring midway through the first period, Roisin Kivel heading home following a ball back across goal from Molly Holder.
That was enough for an interval lead, although the Reds, they bringing on Rosetta Taylor for Mai Moncaster around the time of the goal, however, shortly after the restart, within five minutes of it in fact, the Reds had overturned their interval deficit to take a 2-1 lead.
Charlotte Greengrass equalised within minutes of the restart, her ninth of the season thus far, before Mosby, with her seventh of the campaign, had the visitors in front for the first time; the Reds, now in the ascendency, looked to build on those two, quick-fire goals, and, as the time ticked towards the hour mark, Greengrass would see an effort cleared off the line, before Olivia Cook struck the crossbar from a corner.
Carra Jones, a second-half substitute for the hosts, would see a curling effort whizz past Aja Aguirre’s past just after the hour mark as they sought an equaliser, one which would arrive as the tie headed into the final ten minutes.
Beth Roberts wins a corner and, from the resulting set-piece, the ball reaches Sarah Woodbyrne at the back post, she volleying home, Kivel having a late chance to win it for the hosts in stoppage time, but its 2-2, and extra-time is needed to split the two sides.
Not long into the first period pf extra-time and the Reds lead for a second time, Sophie Thompson having cleared a goal-bound effort only as far as Taylor, she firing home the Reds’ third, before Niamh Reynolds, having come on for Smith midway through the second, snatches the decisive fourth, early in the second period of extra-time.
With five minutes remaining in the contest, and Forest 4-2 ahead, Cook replaces Mosby with the returning LJ O’Neill, she coming on for her first minutes after a year on the side-lines with injury.
The hosts meanwhile, they finished the game with ten following the late dismissal of Jones in the closing stages, Forest set to play one of Burnley, Cardiff City, Hashtag United, Huddersfield Town, MK Dons, Oxford United, Plymouth Argyle, Portsmouth, Wolverhampton Wanderers, or Watford, in the final eight.
Meanwhile, next up for the Reds, it’s another road trip, this time to Sheffield United on Sunday 11 December, in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
Nottingham Forest – Aja Aguirre, Lyndsey Harkin, Georgia Hewitt, Olivia Cook (Arryana Daniels, 75), Mai Moncaster (Rosetta Taylor, 24), Yasmin Mosby (Laura-Jayne O’Neill, 115), Amy West, Becky Anderson, Hayley James, Charlotte Greengrass (Naomi Powell, 75), Mackenzie Smith (Niamh Reynolds, 66)
In the East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League Premier Division, leaders Notts County were made to fight for the points when ‘away’ to Basford United, County edging a five-goal thriller thanks to a stoppage time winner from Nikki Emery.
Basford, they took an interval lead when Katie Platts scored with ten minutes left in the half and, although Nya Chambers equalised for the leaders ten minutes after the restart, it was short-lived as Emma Ward restored the hosts’ lead on the hour.
That goal, from Ward, looked to be enough to give the hosts all three points, before County captain, Holly Fowler, bagged a rare goal, volleying home their second equaliser with a few minutes remaining.
If that wasn’t enough there was still time for more drama as Nikki Emery would bag what would eventually prove the winner, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, the goal opening a four-point gap between them, and second place Lincoln United, at the top of the table, although County have played a game more.
Mansfield Town are in fourth place still, and were held to a goalless draw when away to third place Chesterfield, just two points splitting the two sides, and Arnold Eagles fell to a fifth defeat in six, going doing 3-0 at home to Oughtibridge War Memorial.
Just one point separates the top four sides in Division one Central, Nottingham Trent University entrenched with leaders Ilkeston Town (they won 2-0 at Notts County Development), Asfordby Amateurs (who drew 1-1 away to West Bridgford Colts), and Dronfield Town (held to a goalless draw with Sherwood).
Nottingham Trent, they won 5-2 when home to the other Notts side in the division, Mansfield Hosiery Mills, the hosts netting through Eloise and Bea Hembrough, Mia Pinkham, Bailey Sipos, and substitute Piper O’Neill.
There was even a rare win for SJR Worksop, they collecting a 5-1 win at home to Lincoln United Development, who they swapped places with, on goal difference, at the bottom of the table as Stacey Buxton and Deysha Pressley both bagged braces.
Meanwhile, in the Nottinghamshire Girls & Ladies League, Retford hold a two-point lead at the top of Seniors 1 following their 5-2 win away to bottom club, Radcliffe Olympic, Emma Broome registering a four-goal haul for the victors.
Second place Mansfield Town Development picked up a 5-1 win away to Sports Gateway Hucknall, and Nottingham Trent romped to victory in the battle of the university’s, seeing off visitors University of Nottingham, 7-0, Cerys Griffiths-Jones with a brace.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFCWomen Forest celebrate during their 4-2 win at Stoke.