Match Report | York City Ladies 2-2 Middlesbrough Women (Middlesbrough win 4-3 on penalties)

The MinsterBelles exit the County Cup following penalty shoot-out defeat against Middlesbrough at Haxby Road.

After coming back from two goals down, City took the game all the way before losing 3-4 on penalties in the fourth meeting between the two sides in all competitions this season.

Despite coming out brightly and pressing the visitors on the front foot it was Middlesbrough that had the game’s early chances.

In just the fourth minute Becky Sidwell was on hand to save Jess Dawson’s shot as City dealt with the first warning sign of the afternoon.

Boro came again in the 12th minute, Sidwell again called into action saving and holding Jess Mett’s shot at the near post.

A minute later the visitors broke the deadlock. Sidwell initially made a good save from Dawson’s shot before the rebound fell kindly for Armani Maxwell who volleyed in to give Boro the lead.

Maxwell was close to adding her second in the 22nd minutes, Sidwell again produced an important save in the home goal.

Despite the visitors having a number of efforts at goal there was little between the two sides with York enjoying more of the ball without managing to create any clear shooting opportunities.

In the 41st minute City were hit with a sucker punch as Mett, from the right edge of the box fired into the far top corner to put Middlesbrough two to the good.

A big second half was needed for the MinsterBelles and they were fast out of the blocks for the second forty-five.

Less than ten minutes into the second half and Alice Hughes halved Middlesbrough’s advantage. A brilliant corner from Milly Ash was headed into the far corner by Hughes in the 53rd minute.

Now in complete control and with momentum City went on the hunt for an equaliser, just before the hour mark Ash tried her luck from range, her strike was taken by the keeper.

Hughes was next to have a shot on target, a low drilled effort from the edge of the box was watched by the keeper into her hands.

The one-way traffic continued with York ramping up the pressure and coming agonisingly close to an equaliser in the 63rd minute. Again an Ash corner caused problems, when the ball finally dropped for Hughes, her goal bound effort hit a player on the line, possibly even a teammate and somehow stayed out following a scramble.

It wasn’t to be long before City got their equaliser, in the 64th minute former Middlesbrough player Jess Holder fired into the roof of the net from inside the box to deservedly level the game.

It was almost two goals in as many minutes. Great football from the hosts saw full-back Jess Heald in behind, her left footed effort under pressure almost found the bottom corner but for an important save.

Having survived the City onslaught Boro launched a rare attack of their own in the 82nd minute, Maxwell curled an effort off target as Sidwell watched the shot over her bar.

With City threatening every time they went forward a golden opportunity passed by in the 85th minute, Holder’s flick on put Elisha Hardcastle in behind, as the keeper came out the City midfielder attempted a lob and overhit the effort clearing the bar.

With the game heading for the dreaded penalties, there was to be time for a chance a piece before the final whistle. In the 87th minute City captain Nikki Brown had a shot parried and claimed at the second attempt by the keeper before Sidwell got down smartly to her right to push a shot wide in the 90th minute.

The referee’s whistle brought about the end to the 90 minutes, the game was to be decided from twelve yards.

City were up first, Hughes dispatched her penalty, as did Middlesbrough, the next two penalties for City were both missed, Parkin and Brown failed to score and Middlesbrough extended their lead to go 1-3 up. Jess Heald netted York’s second before Sidwell made a huge save to keep York in it. Holder then levelled the tie three-all with her penalty however Middlesbrough only needed to score to win, Maxwell obliged and through went Middlesbrough to the County Cup Final.

Focus now returns to the league for the MinsterBelles who host Chorley next Sunday at Haxby Road in a massive game in the FA Women’s National League Division One North, kick off 2pm.


Minsterbelles: Sidwell, Parkin, Smith, Cattle, Heald, Hughes, Hardcastle, Ash, Findlay, Brown, Holder.

Subs not used: Harriott, Bowman, Bell, Sellars.