Poole Town Ladies 0

Weymouth FC Women 2

Ackerman 71’, Wilson P 80’

Vitality Women’s FA Cup 3rd Round Qualifying (30/10/22)

Report: James Spring Photo: Ian Middlebrook

Terras sprinkle FA Cup magic!

Weymouth took full advantage of their second chance in the FA Cup 3rd qualifying round following last week’s abandonment, as they put in an absolutely stunning display to shock South West Premier division side Poole Town. The result sees the Terras create history in qualifying for the first round proper for the first time since re-forming.

Following an injury crisis over the last few weeks, Weymouth were finally able to welcome back a lot of key players. Annie Redding, Dani Ackerman, Kristina Manktelow, Ruby Clark, Jasmine Wareham, and Sophie Bonfield all returned to the fold. In changes to last week’s starting XI, Charlie Wilson, Ruby Clark, and Annie Redding started, with McManus and Sewry on the bench, and Johnson missing out as she nurses a knee problem.

Last week Weymouth got off to a slow start and fell behind in 4 minutes, but this game had a different feel about it from the very start. The Terras were pressing Poole high up the pitch and forcing them into mistakes.

Just 5 minutes in, Manktelow forced the home goalkeeper to tip one wide of her post low down to her left, before she turned her marker and shot over the bar from the edge of the box on 12 minutes following good work from Ackerman.

Weymouth continued to pose the early questions, with Gracie Billing seeing a shot held by the goalkeeper, and Ackerman seeing a free kick from around 25 yards gathered at the second attempt.

The high press continued to cause problems, and with a quarter of an hour gone Manktelow forced a defender into a mistake on the edge of the box. She played the ball across to Ruby Clark who saw her stinging shot blocked by a recovering defender, before the follow-up header was gathered by the goalkeeper.

Poole had their first real foray forwards on 25 minutes as they worked it well down the channel, but the ever-dependable Emma Potter was there to race back and block the attempted cross behind for a corner which Weymouth cleared.

The Terras were dominating the midfield battle and moving Poole around with slick passing football. Just after half an hour, Manktelow played a through ball into the path of Redding who ran into the box, but a brilliant defensive challenge thwarted her before she could hit the shot.

Ten minutes before half-time, Poole had their best chance when a header from a corner was claimed by Osment on the bounce.

But it was still Weymouth doing most of the running, they just couldn’t find a breakthrough. On 39 minutes, more slick passing from Weymouth led to Ruby Clark playing the ball around the corner into the path of Ackerman, but she could only fire it into the side netting from a tight angle.

Three minutes before the break, Weymouth came their closest yet to a breakthrough. Ackerman showed good feet to skip past a couple of defenders and find Manktelow in space on the edge of the D. She hit a powerful shot which cannoned back off the crossbar. It looped up and fell for Gracie Billing who hit a first-time shot on the angle and it flew the wrong side of the post. A big let-off for Poole, but the signs were there that the game was there for the taking if Weymouth could put their chances away in the second half.

Weymouth picked up in the second half where they’d left off. With 49 minutes on the clock, Annie Redding found Ackerman who held off the attentions of two defenders and forced the home goalkeeper into a good save before the resulting corner was cleared.

The next 20 minutes or so saw the game settle down into a midfield battle. Poole managed to stem the tide slightly and spent a bit of time in Weymouth’s half, but the Terras’ defensive unit were rock solid and Poole just couldn’t create any real chances.

A couple of stoppages in play for players on both sides needing treatment also slowed things down, but Weymouth didn’t let it disrupt their rhythm, and with 71 minutes on the clock they finally made the breakthrough. And who else would it be but the prolific Ackerman?

It was a goal typical of Ackerman’s quality. She received Mantelow’s throw-in level with the Poole box, and showed sublime close-control to glide past the defenders to be one v one with the goalkeeper, before calmly rolling it across the goalkeeper into the net to give Weymouth the lead their dominance had deserved, and spark jubilant celebrations among the traveling Weymouth contingent.

Poole had to go for broke now, but Weymouth’s game management from then on was exceptional. They continued to dominate possession and forced a string of corners which would result in the second goal with ten minutes remaining.

As Ackerman’s corner was swung in, Freeman was fouled in the middle of the box and the referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

The skipper Charlie Wilson stood over the ball, and if she was feeling any pressure, it didn’t show, as she emphatically hammered it to the goalkeeper’s right to double the lead, and have Weymouth in FA Cup dreamland.

Poole tried to throw some bodies forward and Potter was there again to block a shot behind for a corner, but the Terras simply didn’t give Poole any hope, and in fact, they could’ve had even more goals.

Some 7 minutes of injury time were played, during which time Ackerman forced another good save from the home goalkeeper, and from the resulting corner Harriet Freeman took a nasty whack to the face.

There was still time for one more corner which resulted in Wilson hitting the crossbar from close range as Poole struggled to clear their lines.

The final whistle brought sheer jubilation for Weymouth and utter disbelief for Poole. It was no doubt a hard one for them to stomach after the abandonment last week, but in truth, they could have no

complaints about this result, as on the day Weymouth were the better side all over the pitch throughout the 90 minutes.

This was certainly Weymouth’s most complete performance of the season. It was one of those days where everything seemed to fall into place. Every player won their battles. Osment’s handling and kicking were spot on and she was well protected by a solid back 4. Billing, Clark, Bonfield, Barnard-Irons, and Bywater ran them ragged with Wilson battling heroically in the middle of the park, and of course, Manktelow and Ackerman showing their class.

Their reward is a home game against Keynsham Town in 2 weeks’ time. It’ll be a big test again with Keynsham having been a step 3 side last season, and currently sitting 9th in the National League South West division, 2 leagues above Weymouth. But Weymouth will be absolutely relishing the chance to test themselves against higher opposition again, and if they can play like they did today and be cheered on by a bumper home crowd, well who knows? It’s the FA Cup. And results like today are what it’s all about!

TERRAS: Osment, Potter, Freeman (90+6’), Barnard-Irons, Billing (87’), Manktelow, Wilson (C), Ackerman, Bywater, Clark (49’), Redding

Subs: Taylor, McManus (90+6’), Wareham (87’), Sibley, Howard-Hachem, Bonfield (49’), Sewry

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