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Match report: Maidenhead United Women bow out of FA Cup after defeat to Bowers and Pitsea Ladies

Maidenhead United Women 1, Bowers and Pitsea Ladies 2

Maidenhead United Women bowed out of the FA Cup on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat to Bowers and Pitsea Ladies in the second qualifying round.

The Magpies endured a tough test against a pressing Bowers & Pitsea team that capitalised on the home team’s mistakes for the majority of the afternoon.

Both sides had merely been on the pitch for five minutes when the visitors chalked on the first goal of the match. Ebony Moore's whipped ball into the box caused confusion amongst the defenders in the Maidenhead area, eventually resulting in the Magpies’ Gemma Bloor turning an attempted clearance into her own net.

Bowers & Pitsea pressed well and were unfortunate not to double their lead just minutes later from Megan Harley who shot a fierce drive from range that could only sting the gloves of Ellie Parker.

Down the other end, a lack of communication squandered Maidenhead opportunities to level the game as Steph Nelson repeatedly found herself in good positions but passes were delivered elsewhere.

The partnership of Bowers’ Donna Fletcher and Danielle Styles frustrated the Maidenhead attack, the defenders able to keep the visitors in front with their quick pace and physicality by cutting out the surging runs of Le Cumbre and Reid.

Just after the half hour mark, Ellie Vietz provided Maidenhead's best chance of the game with two golden opportunities. A long ball was threaded down the right side finding the number seven who then ran into a one-on-one encounter against the Bowers’ keeper, Violet Hickman.

Vietz struck the ball at Hickman who could only palm the ball as far back as the Maidenhead attacker’s feet, who then shot her second attempt back towards the keeper’s body.The crucial double save thwarted Maidenhead a route back into the game and aimed anywhere else, Vietz could have gifted her side an invaluable equaliser.

The only other real Maidenhead chance of the first half came from Simone O’Brien who picked up the ball on the outside of the box before hitting a strike that looped over the Bowers’ backline and skim the crossbar to go out of play. Bowers and Pitsea entered half time with just the one goal margin.

Immediately after the break, Ellie Parker was called into action as Yasmin Cowley forced a good save from the Maidenhead keeper with a testing strike within a minute of the second half.

Maidenhead were just finding their feet in this second half, when Bowers doubled their lead against the run of play. On the 66th minute, Sophie Dowman hit an effort from range which took a wicked deflection to change the trajectory of the ball and wrong-foot Parker.

As Bowers continued to apply pressure on the Maidenhead defence, Sophie Modak and Kate Mace were only able to hoof the ball as far as a Bowers player which had their attacking line further up the pitch as they looked to finish the game off with a third goal.

Maidenhead turned to attack-minded substitutions to try and turn the game on its head in the final ten minutes, Vietz making way for Carty-Duhaney.

The hosts were able to pull one back and set up a nervy finish with two minutes of normal time to play with a superb free kick from skipper Alex Dover which floated over the wall and crashed down off the bar and into the back of the net.

Maidenhead threw everything at Bowers in the game's dying embers, a few corners at the end of the game could have taken the game into extra time had they been converted, but Bowers held strong until the referee blew for full time ensuring the visitors’ 160 mile trip was all worth it and have them progress into the next round.

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MAGPIES: Parker, Thompson, Mace (Sub Langston-Lloyd ’36), Dover, Modak, Bloor, Vietz (Sub Carty-Duhaney ’75), Le Cumbre, Nelson, O’Brien, Reid (Sub Saunders ’45).

Subs not used: Nazif, Halfacre, Thompson.

SCORERS: Bloor OG (6) Dover (88)

BOWERS & PITSEA: Hickman, Adcock, Lewis (Sub Browne ’90), Fletcher, Styles, Harley, Walters (Sub Skelton ’84), Moore (Sub Young ’70), Dowman, Adcock, Cowley

Subs not used: Fuwa, Jones, Kemp, Moore.

SCORERS: Dowman (66)

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M4 closures this weekend

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