Posted: 07.10.21 at 15:49 by Philip Evans
Axminster Town Ladies have made local football history by winning a place in the third qualifying round of the women's FA Cup with a 3-2 victory over Budleigh Salterton.
Led by captain Lauren Struszczak, the ladies were led onto the pitch by a full squad of mascots, who are all part of the Axminster Town Wildcats, in front of 127 spectators.
Axminster dominated the early proceedings and took the lead in the 8th minute through Lorna Button. Lorna pounced on a poor touch by the Budleigh keeper after good pressure before rounding the keeper and cooly slotting the ball home - the first FA Cup goal for Axminster Town!
Axminster kept up the pressure before Budleigh broke free down the right and izzy Rudkin denied the Budleigh forward with a good one-on-one save.
Axminster remained in control after some good work in the centre of the park by Miki Winkler, who rode a number of tackles before playing an inch- perfect pass into Poppy Cloke. She was denied twice by two great saves by the Budleigh keeper and with both defending lines remaining strong, it remained 1-0 to Axminster at half time.
A determined Budleigh led the start of the second half, testing Axminster’s defence and keeper before Miki Winkler delivered a ball over the top for Poppy Cloke to make it 2-0.
Axminster, now in full control of the game, created a number of chances until 63 minutes when Poppy Kitcher was shown a straight red card after a knee- jerk reaction on the goal line saw her raise her hands, stopping a Budleigh Salterton goal.
Izzy Rudkin, unfazed by the incoming penalty kick, took her position only to watch the ball fly over the bar, keeping the score at 2-0.
Axminster hit stright back, breaking down the left hand side and some good work by Chelsea Petherbridge saw her wriggle free, allowing her to run into the box before unleashing a shot too powerful for the Budleigh keeper to stop, sending the Axminster into early celebrations.
But Budleigh had other ideas and with a new lease of life they finally broke through in the 79th minute with long distance free-kick to make it 3-1, setting up a tense last 10 minutss.
After good pressure against the 10 women of Axminster, Budleigh were awarded a second penalty in the 88th minute after the Axminster keeper Rudkin spilt a shot which resulted in her bringing down the attacker while trying to gather the ball. Budleigh didn't make the same mistake again and made it 3-2.
Axminster showed good game management and ran down the clock before the celebrations started.
Manager Russell Weller said: "We had a game plan and the girls executed it fairly well first half and I was a little disappointed we went in only one up at half-time.
"I didn't really have to say much to them at half- time. They knew if they kept doing the right things the second would come and it did.
"The red card really changed the game and being a young side I feared the worst but the girls dug in and got it done showing maturity beyond their years.
"I'm delighted not only for the girls but the club as well. It was great to see so many turn out to support the women and I hope they enjoyed it, we certainly did, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support."
Axminster have been drawn away to Liskeard , who play their trade in the league above, in the third qualifying round. The tie wll be played on October 24.
Commenting on the draw, Weller said: "We have drawn a team in the league we want to be in next season, so I feel its good chance for the ladies to go and show that it's where we belong. We are just one game away from getting into the first round proper with absolutely nothing to lose but everything to gain."
Match sponsors Just Mortgages selected Miki Winkler as their lady of the match.
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