Terrific Tractor Girls reach quarter-finals of FA Cup for first time
- Credit: Ross Halls
Ipswich Town Women’s love affair with the FA Cup continued as they made history in reaching the quarter-finals for the first time after a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Southampton this afternoon.
A record 1,167 fans packed out the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe to cheer on the Tractor Girls but they had to wait until the second half of extra time to celebrate as Anna Grey looked to have settled the tie, before a dramatic last gasp equaliser from goalkeeper Kayla Rendell.
But, in this tale of two goalkeepers, it was Sarah Quantrill with the last laugh as her two saves in the penalty shootout sent the Goldstar wild.
Both games between the sides that had gone before were tight affairs and the first half here was no different, as both struggled to get the ball down and create anything meaningful.
Chances were at a premium as both sides cancelled each other out, with the only clear-cut chance of note coming from a Southampton corner.
With so much at stake a classic this first half was not.
The second half followed the same pattern, although on 70 minutes it had looked like Elouise King had finally broken the deadlock - only to see the flag go up, to her dismay.
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With the sides so evenly matched it was always likely that either a mistake, moment of quality or the likelihood of extra time and potentially penalties could separate them – another 30 minutes at least was needed to try and make that happen.
Extra time remained cagey, and it wasn’t until the second half that a goal was finally witnessed as Grey took advantage of a poor clearance and riffled one into the top corner – a goal good enough to settle any cup tie.
With the next round in their grasp an extraordinary moment looked to have snatched it away when goalkeeper Rendell came up for a corner and bulleted a header into the roof of the net with the last kick of the game.
But Quantrill stole her thunder in the resultant penalty shoot-out, saving from Lucia Kendal and Katie Rood to send the Goldstar into raptures and help create Tractor Girls history.
Town: S Quantrill, S Hughes (I Bryant 120), P Peake, O Smith, L Eagan (A Grey 83), A Lafayette, B Horwood ©, K Robertson (L O’Brien 120), Z Barrett, N Thomas (E Hubbard 90), M Biggs (E King 67)
Unused: L Jackson, A Jackson,
-- The draw for the quarter-finals will take place on Tuesday morning at 9.15am.