FOOTBALL - Knowle Ladies through to League Cup semi-finals on penalties - The Solihull Observer

FOOTBALL - Knowle Ladies through to League Cup semi-finals on penalties

Solihull Editorial 10th Mar, 2023   0

DEMI Rolph scored the winning penalty as Knowle Ladies beat Shifnal Town on spot kicks to reach the League Cup semi-finals.

Knowle looked to have won the tie in regulation time after first-half goals from Rolph and Maz Byrne put them in command at the break.

However, Shifnal halved the deficit before Knowle had Jess Holland sent off and the visitors grabbed an equaliser to take the game to penalties.

The Robins held their nerve in the shootout as Rolph converted the decisive penalty to secure an impressive victory over the West Midlands Regional Women’s Football League Division One North leaders.

Knowle opened the scoring on 20 minutes when Natalie Gibson spotted the run of Rolph who calmly slotted the ball past Shifnal goalkeeper Rebecca Williams.

And Byrne doubled Knowle’s lead when she headed home Gibson’s corner as the Robins were rewarded for a dominant first-half display.

Gibson struck the crossbar later in the half with Nadia Bacciochi inches away from converting the rebound.

Shifnal spurned two glorious chances to reduce the deficit as Knowle keeper Katy Smirthwaite smothered Rebecca Bown’s shot before Jenna Boddison struck the inside of the post.

However, the visitors eventually pulled a goal back when Boddison blasted home a superb volley from Maria Bell’s cross after the latter capitalised on a mistake in the Robins defence.

And Knowle were dealt another blow as the half wore on when Holland was sent off after she reacted angrily to a cynical pull back.

Shifnal equalised in style as Holly Bullock’s free-kick from 25-yards out found the net to set up a tense finale as Knowle held on with Bown sin-binned for dissent which meant both teams finished the game with 10 players.

The tie went straight to penalties as Gibson and Sam Smith buried Knowle’s first two attempts before Shifnal’s second taker blazed her effort over the crossbar.

However, visiting goalkeeper Williams scored and then saved Bacciochi’s attempt only for her opposite number Smirthwaite to palm Shifnal’s fourth penalty onto the crossbar.

That meant Rolph had the chance to win the game for Knowle and she duly delivered to spark scenes of celebration amongst the home players as the Robins triumphed 4-2 in the shootout.

Knowle are next in action away at Bewdley Town on Sunday, March 12 with kick-off at 2pm at Ribbesford Meadows.


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