United made history with the win against London and South East Regional Women’s Football League Premier Division Aylesford by progressing to the first round of the FA Women’s cup for the first time and a home tie against FA Women’s National League Oxford United on 12th November 2023.
In front of a decent crowd Woodley kicked off but quickly lost possession which allowed Aylesford to shot from range and the ball narrowly going over Sophie Cheadle’s cross bar. The visitors buoyed by this start enjoyed good possession with United first chance coming six minutes into the game when Sarah Lawrence ran down the right wing before passing to Saj Turner who in turn passes to Maddie Sawyer in the Aylesford penalty area. Sawyer’s blocked shot fell to May Hamblin who’s under hit shot was easily cleared of the goal line. United recovered the cleared ball and again Lawrence was involved in forward play that was followed by Kate Hudson shooting wide from outside the penalty area.
Aylesford took the lead in the fourteenth minute when Beth Hulme was allowed to head home at the far post Amy Panayi’s corner kick. However, the lead was short lived as six minutes later United was level. Gemma Sims pass found the lively Lawence twenty five yards from goal and the forward turned and under pressure from a defender and shot at goal that saw the ball go over keeper Sade Rider and into the net.
Lawrence was again involved in the action in the twenty seventh minute when her cross into the penalty area was gathered well by Rider under pressure from Hamblin. Woodley survived a scare on the half hour when Milly Penfold’s from forty yards hit United’s cross bar, with Cheadle of her line, and go out of play for a goal kick. Cheadle was called upon shortly afterwards to deny Hulme in an one on one situation and also palm away Immy Armstrong’s corner a minute before half time.
The second half started with both teams creating opportunities in the opening five minutes. United shot wide following a corner kick and sent a free kick direct to Rider which Cheadle was called upon to block a shot for a corner kick.
Aylesford remained dangerous at corner kicks with Cheadle collecting Hulmes’ header after fifty four minutes. With fifteen minutes remaining Sawyer’s free kick found Simms who controlled the ball well when though on goal only to shot wide.
Six minutes from time United survived a scare when Rose Boichat rounded Cheadle but over hit the ball as went pass the keeper allowing Simms time to clear. United finished strongly but with no further score the match went to penalty kicks to decide the winning team.
United went first and both teams saw their opening kicks saved before Simms opened the scoring and Aylesford putting their second kick wide. Both teams scored with their third kicks, Charley Evans for Woodley. United’s fourth kick was saved and the visitors hit the post to leave the hosts leading 2-1 after four kicks apiece. At this stage the referee indicated Woodley as winners before being correct by an assistant referee. The teams regrouped and Michelle Quinn placed her kick to Rider’s left and although the keeper got a hand to the shot could not prevent it from entering the net and giving Woodley victory.
Cheadle, Evans, Hobson, Hudson (Quinn), Sims, Surtees, Lawrence, Sawyer, Turner (Powell), Messitt, Hamblin
Pic courtesy of Andy Wicks