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).
Latest in Sport
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Ed Miliband's 'north London set' must be demolished to save Labour, say critics
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...