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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
Grace Pomfret
Emily Hutton
Charlie Shaw
Kay Baker
1 goals for Kay Baker
Lily Robinson

Cartlidge 70'

Feiruz Abdullahi (c)
Abby Bennett
Safron Newhouse
1 goals for Safron Newhouse
Rebecca Foster
1 goals for Rebecca Foster
Laura Tobin
2 goals for Laura Tobin 2 goals for Laura Tobin
Liv Smith
Curzon Ashton Women
Megan Brett
Ingvild Tveit
Abigail Bleasedale
Olivia Chan
Stephanie Upsall
Lauren Beckford
Amy Smith (c)
2 goals for Amy Smith (c) 2 goals for Amy Smith (c)
Pip Wakefield
Simond Drummond
1 goals for Simond Drummond
Megan Stapleton

Longsden 75'

Jessica Cooke
Adora Yau
Naomi Conteh
Kim Cartlidge
Jess Duke
Carmen Troiano
Nic Hamilton
Erin Longsden
1 goals for Erin Longsden
Manager - Nathan Soulby
Manager - Dean O'Brien

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As the old adage goes, there is magic in the FA Cup and that was certainly true of this First Round Qualifying tie between Salford City Lionesses and Curzon Ashton Women. The clubs have a rich history in the men's game, and meetings in the women's game over the last couple of seasons have proved to be just as competitive, but this without doubt will go down as one of the most memorable as Salford came from three goals down to record a first ever win in the Women's FA Cup and they did it in dramatic fashion as Rebecca Foster scored a penalty with the last kick of the game to complete the comeback.

There was a good feeling about the camp throughout the week and in the build-up as the Lionesses looked to improve on last season's exit at the hands of Morecambe, but that was dashed within two minutes as the visitors took the lead. A ball played through the middle was stolen upon by Amy Smith who had made a run from deep, and the captain calmly placed a low shot past Grace Pomfret.

Things drastically improved for the visitors in the sixth minute when Foster was penalised for catching Simone Drummond on the ankle with an attempt to clear the ball, and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Smith again, and from 12 yards she scored low into the bottom left-hand corner to double Curzon's lead.

A particularly shocking start given the performance that the Lionesses put in last weekend, but the home side did start to assert some dominance in the game. In the 10th minute after Charlie Shaw was fouled just outside the penalty area and on the right, Abby Bennett hit a free kick that was cleared back out to her and she caught the re-bound sweetly but the effort flew across the face of goal.

Minutes later Feiruz Abdullahi cut in from the right and had her first shot parried by Megan Brett before seeing her second attempt come off the inside of the far post. She could have then turned provider as good movement off the shoulder of her marker forced the Curzon defence into giving the ball away to Safron Newhouse who blasted a shot over off the left.

The Lionesses kept the pressure and territorial advantage up, and Kay Baker headed a couple of corners over the bar before Abdullahi failed to take the best opening of the game. The captain gambled on a ball back towards Brett and gained control of possession, but from a narrowing angle and off-balance she sliced the shot wide of the near post. That would prove costly as a couple of minutes later, in the 33rd minute, Curzon scored a third. There seemed to be little danger as Megan Stapleton approached halfway and hit a long ball forward, but the bounce and spin of the ball caught out the Salford defence with the lob bouncing over Pomfret and towards goal where Drummond, following in, got a touch on the goal line to make sure.

Trailing by three goals isn't something the Lionesses have experienced often, in fact the only time that memory re-calls such a scoreline was in last season's qualifying round defeat at Morecambe, so with just over half an hour on the clock there was definitely a feeling of surprise but the Lionesses channeled that in a positive way by stepping up to match the physicality of their opponents. Good work by Lily Robinson and Liv Smith to win the ball back on halfway opened up a chance for Newhouse from the left, but her near post effort was saved.

In the first minute of injury time Lauren Beckford, who had been a strong presence in the Nashettes' midfield, muscled her way in from the left but her shot from outside the area was blocked by Baker and it proved to be an important stop in the grander scheme of things, especially with what happened three minutes later. Laura Tobin was played through one-on-one with Brett and kept her composure to pull a goal back for the Lionesses before the break.

HALF TIME: Salford City Lionesses 1-3 Curzon Ashton Women

The break was a chance to re-group, although the second half took a while to get going again and it wasn't until shortly past the hour mark that the first opening came. Tobin threaded a fantastically weighted through ball into the path of Newhouse on the right, but the winger drilled her shot wide of the near post.

A minute later Salford could have again been made to pay as Stapleton came in off the right for Curzon and opened up for the shot, but Pomfret came up with an excellent save to deny the full back.

Salford were the side on top, now winning the midfield battle but another goal had to come soon with time running out. In the 69th minute Newhouse found space in behind on the right and squared a pass for Abdullahi, but the captain was denied at point-blank range by Brett's instinctive save. The stopper was at it again a few minutes later to deny substitute Kim Cartlidge, but the former Port Vale attacker's introduction helped the Lionesses to take their dominance into another gear and soon they had a second goal back.

Abdullahi drove into the area on the left-hand side with Brett coming out to close her down, but the goalkeeper left her goal exposed with Abdullahi knocking the ball between her legs and passing into the middle where Newhouse arrived to covert and make it 2-3, Cartlidge providing the secondary run to cause the confusion amongst the Curzon defence.

It was the added boost of confidence Salford needed, and with just over 10 minutes to go the hosts found the leveller. A corner from the right was delivered by Bennett to the back post where Baker, having missed a couple in the first half, planted a header down past Brett to make it 3-3! The equaliser sparked emphatic celebrations, but there was still a job to do and that was made harder after the restart when Curzon went up the other end and restored their lead through substitute Erin Longsden.

That didn't deter Salford from their task and in the 84th minute a clever lay-off by Abdullahi to Cartlidge played the substitute through, but she could only fire over from a central position. Belief was flowing through the Lionesses still, and in the 86th minute that industry won another corner. This time Bennett delivered from the left, and at the near post Brett came to punch clear but only found Tobin in the way, and the ball duly ended up in the back of the net.

A truly breathtaking FA Cup tie wasn't done yet, and in the 89th minute Salford should have taken the lead for the first time as Abdullahi forced a good save from Brett. The ball fell to Cartlidge who hit the bar with her effort, then on the re-bound Abdullahi saw her shot saved. That could have been the last big chance, but there was still one final twist in this tale when Abdullahi was felled just inside the box and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped summer arrival Foster who buried the penalty low to the bottom right, and settled a thoroughly entertaining tie to set up a visit to Chester in the next round.

FULL TIME: Salford City Lionesses 5-4 Curzon Ashton Women

A first ever win in the Women's FA Cup is a memorable enough result as it is, but the manner in which the Lionesses came from behind, twice, to win with the last kick of the game is massively commendable and tremendous credit has to be given to the players for their attitude and heart.