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Salford City football Club

Lionesses

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Salford City Lionesses successfully navigated the first round of the Argyle Cup thanks to a late winner from Laura Tobin.

The striker scored in the 84th minute against Penrith AFC Ladies, adding to Charlie Shaw’s first half goal which had been cancelled out.

It was a foggy affair and visibility at times threatened the already once postponed fixture but the Lionesses’ progression in the competition was much clearer than the conditions in truth.

Penrith were relegated from the Premier Division last season and put up a stern fight, showing some of the quality that the Lionesses will be expecting to face on a more regular basis in the coming seasons, but on the day they didn’t threaten Jess Duke’s goal enough to go through from this round.

Shauna Duffy’s side, depleted of a few numbers, started brightly and within three minutes a Molly Etchells cross forced Michelle Jones to palm the ball from underneath her crossbar. It ran loose on the left, but the Lionesses couldn’t do anything with the return and Penrith cleared their lines.

Jones was being kept busy and a blocked Phoebe Duckworth effort dropped kindly for Tobin around the edge of the area to shoot, but an accurate strike to the bottom left hand corner was turned round the post by the keeper.

From the next action the Lionesses took a hold of the game. There was a hint of controversy about the awarding of a corner as Penrith felt Etchells may have been offside in the build-up, but referee Kenneth Allen stood by his decision. It was swung in from the right, and Shaw popped up unmarked at the back post to head back across goal, netting both the opening goal and her first since joining in the summer.

A deserved lead on the balance of the opening 11 minutes, but by the quarter hour mark Penrith were level and again from a set piece. Delivered from the right, it was met by a Penrith head and Salford scrambled it clear off the line initially, but Jodie English remained around the action and made sure it went over. Not the cleanest of finishes, but not all goals can be and Penrith looked to use the equaliser as a mark to push on.

However the response just didn’t formulate, not that the Lionesses were blessed with a plethora of chances either but they controlled the possession and had the odd opening. Beth Tattersall was brought down after a burst of speed threatened to beat her marker, and from the free kick Abby Bennett elected to shoot. We’re used to seeing spectacular efforts from the midfielder, but this one from 35 yards out and right of centre may have been a tad too much and Jones gathered the dropping shot. 

Duckworth was handed her first start of the season and nearly notched Salford back in front with a low shot across goal from the left, but she couldn’t quite find the inside of the far post.

The winger was showing plenty of worth from the wing though and in the second half beat the offside trap to receive possession on the left. She picked out Tobin in the middle of the box, in plenty of space, but she chose to lay a pass off to Tattersall, who in turn squared for Bennett whose shot was charged down. A warning for Penrith, but not one they heeded and the Lionesses spent a lot of time in the final third, but without too many troubling efforts for Jones either.

The NWWRFL Division 1 North side did have chance to go ahead in the 62nd minute as a ball was sent high up the left. Duke came charging out, but was left deceived as the ball was outside the area and English rounded the Salford stopper. However from a decent angle she endeavoured to miss at the near post.

Jess Lawson had a couple of good opportunities from the top of the are a where she was finding some space between the defence and midfield, but on both occasions Jones was equal to her efforts. It was a common theme, and ultimately it would lead to the visitors’ exit from the competition. 

In the 84th minute, Bennett found herself in one such pocket of space after a decent move forward on the left by Salford. Her shot dipped and bounced off the post, and after Penrith failed to clear Tobin stole in to tuck the loose ball away and seal the victory.

Tattersall broke away on the right late on and could have added some gloss to the scoreline, only to be denied by Jones, but it didn’t matter in the end and we now wait to find out our next round opponents!

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