Poole Town Ladies 0

Weymouth Women 2

Beasley 27’ Ackerman 59’

Dorset Women’s County Cup Semi-Final (20/03/22)

Report: James Spring

Photo: Ian Middlebrook

Terras Stun Poole to reach historic final

Weymouth pulled off one of the great cup upsets on Sunday as they bridged a 3 league gap to book their place in the county cup final, at the expense of defending champions Poole Town of the national league.

The Terras came into the game missing 3 key players. Jody Sapsford was cup-tied, whilst Cimon Barnard-Irons and Sophie Webber-Green were carrying knocks.

Poole were heavy favourites but Weymouth settled into the game well and saw most of the ball in the early exchanges. Beasley saw an early cross drift onto the roof of the net, and Ackerman saw an attempted cross blocked and cleared to safety, as the Terras showed no signs of being overawed.

Poole slowly began to see more of the ball in the Weymouth half of the field, and on 23 minutes they had their first real chance when they worked the ball well down the right and the striker looked to be in on goal, but the ever-dependable Emma Potter was on hand to make a last-ditch challenge on the edge of the box to clear the danger.

It proved a crucial intervention, as just 4 minutes later Weymouth stunned the hosts with the opening goal.

Some patient build-up play lead to Kristina Manktelow driving into space and splitting two defenders with a lovely slide-rule pass straight into the path of Lily Beasley. The Poole defence appealed for an offside flag that never came, and Beasley kept her composure to slot the ball past the goalkeeper into the bottom corner from 12 yards to give Weymouth a shock lead.

The Dolphins came to within a whisker of responding just after the half-hour mark when they were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the Weymouth box, and the strike grazed the crossbar and went behind for a goal kick.

Poole then looked to be in again when they switched the ball to the right flank where they had an extra player over. The striker was bearing down on goal, but under pressure from Manktelow, she could only hit a tame effort into the grateful grasp of Osment.

The pace of the game was picking up, and a couple of minutes later it was Weymouth’s turn to go close as Dani Ackerman cut in from the left and ran into space on the edge of the box before playing it across to Beasley who hit her first-time effort over the bar.

From the resulting goal kick, Beasley went even closer, as Weymouth immediately won back possession and Beasley’s shot skimmed the crossbar on its way behind.

The frantic pace continued as Poole counter-attacked a minute later and their striker fired across the face of goal from a tight angle, before the Terras went up the other end and saw Shakira Howard fire narrowly wide of the right-hand post after being played in by De Havilland who had intercepted a clearance.

The Terras took their slender 1 goal lead into the break, and no doubt would have been preparing themselves for a second-half onslaught during the interval.

Poole signalled their intent just a couple of minutes after the restart when a deep corner into the six-yard box bounced around for what felt like an eternity. Numerous attempted clearances were blocked before a shot came in and was a yard wide of the mark, much to the relief of the Terras.

Things gradually settled down again and Weymouth began to enjoy a period of sustained possession. Just before the hour mark, they made it count.

A perfectly judged through ball from Becca De Havilland split the middle of the Poole defence and was latched onto by Dani Ackerman. She ran into the box and calmly rolled the ball in off the post to double the lead.

Poole almost responded 4 minutes later as Weymouth struggled to clear their lines a couple of times before a shot came in from the edge of the box and was well held by Osment.

The home side’s main threat was coming from set-pieces, and into the last 20 minutes another dangerous corner resulted in a shot being blocked on the line before the follow up was blasted wide.

Poole continued to pump long balls towards the Weymouth goal but Weymouth’s back 4 didn’t put a foot wrong, and Osment was on hand to claim anything that came her way.

As the clock ticked into added time, Poole got one more free-kick midway in the Terras half. They sent everyone bar the goalkeeper forwards and launched it into the box, but Osment took the pressure off her defence by coming out to claim the ball safely.

The final whistle followed a few seconds later and confirmed Weymouth’s place in the final of the county cup where they will take on Sherborne Town.

If ever a performance showed how far this time has come in the last 2 years, this was it. They defended superbly across the park. The organisation and work rate out of possession from everyone was spot on, and when in possession themselves they caused Poole plenty of problems.

To go and beat a side from 3 leagues higher away from home is a remarkable achievement, but it’s a testament to the spirit within the group and the quality they possess.

The cup final will be something to look forward to and enjoy come May, but Weymouth’s attention shifts back to the league next weekend when they’ll be looking to wrap up the league title against Merley Cobham Sports.

Terras: Osment, Potter, Johnson, De Havilland, B. Barnard-Irons, Beasley, Whiting, Ackerman, Wilson, Howard, Manktelow.

Subs on: Sibley, Taylor.

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