Wembley's flair rewarded in shoot-out
Wembley 2 Doncaster Belles 2 (aet; Wembley win 5-3 on pens)
Monday 11 March 1996
Wembley started at a gallop and took the lead after six minutes. Striker Naz Ball chased down Sue Jones's lofted ball beyond an uncharacteristically disorganised Belles defence, and struck first time from 15 yards.
For 30 minutes Wembley stayed on top of a tentative, error-strewn Doncaster but with Debbie Biggins making one sharp save and a second brave one they failed to capitalise - costly, when Karen Walker is about.
Walker, who had scored a hat-trick in every previous round equalised in the 40th minute with a low drive from 18 yards. Four minutes later the save forced by her header popped loose to Rebecca Lonergan lurking by the post and her volley was tight but true. The Belles went into the interval leading 2-1 on the board if not on merit.
Playing down the slope in the second half, the Belles were altogether more authoritative and seemed to have the game safe - until five minutes into injury time Jackson tripped the ball for a clear penalty which Alya Liran put away to send the game into extra time.
For their willingness to hang in there at the death, Wembley were rewarded. Inseparable in extra time, the two weary sides treated the meagre crowd of 487 to a penalty shoot-out - and when Sarah Beggs blasted wide for the Bells, Wembley duly won their first major trophy. It's unlikely to be their last; the Bells meanwhile can concentrate (as they say) on the league. And, of course, on staying solvent.
Doncaster Belles (4-4-2): Biggins; Pollard, Woodhead, Jackson, Utley; Coultard, Exley, Sherrard, Borman; Walker, Lonergan (Begg, 76). Substitutes not used: Bagley, Clarke, Davis (gk).
Wembley (3-4-2-1): Higgs; Harwood, Darby, Liran; Coch, Smith, Lorton, Jones (Frampton, 76); Grant, Lee (Jerray-Silver, 50); Ball. Substitutes not used: Wood, Reed (gk).
Referee: S Lomas (Chiswick).
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Paul Pogba to Chelsea? Juventus star linked with £60m transfer spotted in west London
World Cup 2014: Neymar's agent launches scathing attack on Brazil's Luis Felipe Scolari, labelling him 'an old jerk, arrogant, repulsive, conceited and ridiculous'
Loic Remy to Arsenal? Gunners close in on move for QPR and France striker - reports
Angel di Maria: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal 'monitoring' Real Madrid star
World Cup 2014: The 50 best players of the World Cup
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
- 3 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 4 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...