Albion Women secured their passage into the semi-final of the Birmingham County FA Challenge Cup on Sunday with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Birmingham City.
Head coach Siobhan Hodgetts-Still made two changes to the side that triumphed in the FA Cup over Lye Town last weekend.
Lucy Jones was restored between the sticks in place of Anna Miller, while Hayley Crackle dropped to the bench and made way for captain Hannah George.
The Baggies started with plenty of attacking intent and drew the first chance of the game through Abi Loydon, who saw a loose corner fall her way, but her shot was lashed wide of the target.
Birmingham soon created an opportunity of their own, and grabbed the opener through it as pinball in the penalty area left Grace Murphy free to finish high into the net.
Albion looked to capitalise on some positive moments as the half went on, Kate Evans found herself with opportunity to shoot thanks to some good work from Phoebe Warner on the right, however the shot was juggled then eventually saved by Poppy Irvine in the Blues’ goal.
However, Birmingham created one last chance before the halfway mark as Millie Pullen broke in-behind the defence before Albion shot-stopper Jones denied a low effort as the bore down on goal.
The second period brought plenty of action with Albion starting brightly as Warner broke down the side of the Blues’ defence, yet her square ball wasn’t converted by onrushing midfielder Fran Orthodoxou.
Steph Weston was the next Baggies’ player to have a chance on goal, as Warner fed her into the box only for her to fire over the bar.
Albion could’ve equalised just minutes later through Lucy Newell - she bombarded into the penalty area during a corner, but her header was saved from close range by the goalkeeper.
The Baggies didn’t wait long to grab the leveller as Delphi Cole pounced onto a mistake from Irvine in the Birmingham goal before squaring to Simran Jhamat who tapped home to send the game to penalties.
The penalty shootout, as expected, brought with it some drama. It went to sudden death, but goalkeeper Jones was the hero of the tie as she saved two Blues penalties to guide the Baggies to victory.
“We deserved the win overall,” said Hodgetts-Still. “I thought first half Blues caused us a few problems, we weren’t great in-possession at times and didn’t take advantage of the wide areas.
“We had chance after chance that we should’ve been putting away but we got the goal to get back into it at 1-1 and it took us to penalties.”
Albion are next in action against Needham Market in the second round of the FA Cup at Birmingham County FA, Ray Hall Lane.
Albion: Jones, Brown (Crackle 85’), Newell, George, Rabjohn (Green 49’), Evans, Loydon (Orthodoxou 57’), Mahmood (Weston 57’), Jhamat, Warner, Cole.
Albion shootout order: Fran Orthodoxou – Scored. Simran Jhamat – Scored. Lucy Newell – Saved. Hannah George – Scored. Hayley Crackle – Saved. Phoebe Warner – Scored. Delphi Cole – Scored. Kate Evans – Scored.