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Ladies Bow Out

Hannah Keryakoplis

STOKE CITY LADIES’ run in the SSE Women’s FA Cup has come to an end following a closely fought 2-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa, writes James Knowles.

The underdogs took the lead at Community Drive, but two Villa goals during an eight-minute spell in the second half was enough to ensure the Championship side’s progression to the fifth round.

Hannah Keryakoplis had given the Potters the perfect start in the sixth minute. The forward jinked beyond her marker before unleashing a swerving strike on the angle that deceived Sian Rogers and fizzed into the back of the net.

Stoke continued to enjoy the majority of the play early on and Beth Roberts whipped in a teasing cross before Amy Hughes missed the target from the edge of the area.

But Villa grew into the contest and Sophie Haywood missed a brilliant chance to equalise when she was left unmarked at the far post.

City were then grateful for the intervention of former Villa ‘keeper Amy Burnside, who made two saves in quick succession from Alison Hall and ensure the hosts took their lead into the half-time interval.

But the visitors turned the match on its head during a dominant spell at the start of the second half.

Firstly, Kerri Welsh profited from a fortunate ricochet that enabled her to equalise from six yards out.

And then matters worsened for the Potters, as Burnside’s heroics to deny substitute Jodie Hutton only delayed the inevitable, as Haywood was on hand to tap home the rebound following a brilliant double stop.

Stoke still had 25 minutes to take the match to extra-time and Nic Hudson’s effort brought the best out of Rogers before the ‘keeper presented City with a glorious chance.

Faye McCoy’s free kick was spilled into the path of Cassie Hyde by Rogers, but the centre back, who was running at pace towards the loose ball, couldn’t control her body and fired wide from close range.

Despite the Potters' efforts, they couldn’t conjure up an equaliser, but they could hold their heads high following a record-equalling run in the FA Cup in front of a record crowd of 252 at Community Drive.

Stoke City: Burnside, Hudson (Pemberton 80), Hyde, Bowyer, Owen, Roberts (Hayes 85), Tezgel, Richardson, McCoy, Hughes, Keryakoplis. Unused: Wright, Kolbuck, Robinson.

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