Town Women beaten by WSL side Brighton & Hove Albion
- Town Women exit Vitality Women's FA Cup in Fifth Road
- Terriers were beaten by Women’s Super League side Brighton & Hove Albion
- That defeat sees the 2020/21 campaign come to an end
Town Women exit the Fifth Round of the Vitality Women's FA Cup after losing 6-0 to Brighton and Hove Albion Women.
The scoreline may read a harsh one, but to face a team two divisions above - in the Women’s Super League - and hold their own for large parts of the game is credit to the Terriers' spirit.
In a game surrounded by heavy rain and muddy conditions, both teams continued with the tie at the People’s Pension Stadium, looking for a place in the Quarter-Finals and the hosts looked the more likely to open the scoring in the early stages, an early chance for the Seagulls coming after the ball was deflected behind for a corner.
Brighton showed no respite despite Town staying in the game and soaking up early pressure in the opening minutes as another chance came the hosts’ way as the ball was delivered into the box, but the header went well over Bethan Davies' goal.
Just after the 15-minute mark, though, the hosts took the lead. A misguided header played Nora Heroum through and the number 11 fired the ball beyond Davies, giving her no chance.
Town registered their first attack in the game two minutes later when Britt Sanderson broke away only for a Brighton defender to get back to cover before the ball bobbled up for Katie Nutter to get a shot away, but Katie Startup was equal to it and palmed the ball away from danger.
As the rain continued to constantly Lash down, the hosts went about doubling their lead as Rianna Jarrett headed in from close range after getting on the end of a curling cross in the danger area. An own goal would make it three for the Seagulls shortly after.
Town did restore some hope, however, after Brighton were awarded a penalty in the 39th minute and the Terriers’ ‘keeper Davies was the heroine, tipping the ball over.
But Town’s hopes of a comeback were soon squashed in the second half as the Seagulls continued to dominate the contest. The Terriers tried to force proceedings to find a foothold in the game, but Brighton continued to hold out.
Despite an energetic start to the second half by the visitors, looking to find the killer pass to open up the Brighton defence, the Seagulls registered their fourth and fifth within four minutes of each other.
Felicity Gibbons nodded in shortly before Danique Kerkdijk scored after the ball fell into her path following a corner, the header from another Brighton player ricocheting off the Town defence.
Macy Ellis was brought on in the 69th minute and made a good impact with her energy but the game was all but put out of sight once a sixth goal was added in the 77th minute, another goal by Danique Kerkdijk rounding off the scoreline.
Although the result wasn’t what the visitors were looking for, the Terriers are proud to have represented the National League in the competition amongst fellow lower-league side Southampton who were also eliminated away from home at Birmingham City.
Town Manager Jordan Wimpenny praised his players for the run in the competition at full time.
“Proud is the perfect word to use. I couldn’t be prouder of the players and the staff for the performance that they showed not only today but all season.
"Despite the result and not progressing further, I couldn’t fault their efforts. They never gave up, they kept going and showed a great character and desire through the game to not give in and like I said I couldn’t have been prouder of them.”
Wimpenny said he thought Town's 'keeper, Davies, had a great game between the sticks.
“If she didn’t save the chances that Brighton had, the scoreline would have been a lot heavier. Without her in goal, the score would have been different. Credit to her and some of the saves she made: a strong right hand in the first half, a penalty that if she hadn’t have saved would have gone in, the ones in the second half she put her body on the line for. I think she had a tremendous game.”
So that's that for 2020/21. A campaign that saw Town finish top of the league before it's curtailment, a record points haul, and the joint-longest FA Cup run in their history. They'll now have a six-week break before regrouping for pre-season and preparing for 2021/22.