Ladies beaten in penalty thriller

West Ham Ladies were edged out by Tottenham Hotspur in a penalty thriller on Sunday
West Ham United Ladies crashed out of the Capital Women’s Cup on penalties at the quarter-final stage on Sunday after a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.
In the early stages of the game, Avilla Bergin put Spurs ahead with a well taken finish, before Italian forward Romina Pinna equalised for the home side with a rocket of a free-kick.
Neither team could break the deadlock for the remainder of the game, so it took a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner where defender Danni Ritson’s spot kick was saved by former Hammer Toni-Anne Wayne before Sydney Hinchcliffe sealed the win for the visitors.
After last weekend’s FA Cup second round heroics against Crystal Palace Ladies, manager Marc Nurse made just one forced change to his starting eleven. Midfielder Shirvae Edwards was unavailable for selection, allowing Erika Campesi to return to the Hammers midfield.
A couple of weeks ago the Hammers fell to a different cup defeat away to Tottenham where the score ended 5-0 and Spurs couldn’t have been blamed to eyeing up a similar result after just five minutes when Bergin found room inside the penalty box to fire the visitors ahead.
Nurse’s side were out to gain victory though and refused to be pushed aside and suffer the same consequences. Pinna, along with new French signing Cindy Ferreira and Whitney Locke were causing the Spurs defence all sorts of problems.
That is where the Hammers’ equaliser came from too. After Alexandra Keown fouled Pinna just outside the box, the Italian star stepped up and bent an unstoppable free-kick into the corner of the net past Wayne.
The hosts could have then even pushed themselves ahead on several occasions as the time ticked on towards extra time, but Locke spurned a good opening, whilst Campesi smashed a shot off the crossbar that appeared to bounce over the line before being cleared.
Into extra-time and Nurse’s side were the much stronger team and most likely to win it, with Pinna having several chances inside the box but failing to get a meaningful shot off at Wayne’s goal.
The referee blew for full time after 120 minutes of pulsating football meaning penalty kicks were needed to decide which team would face Camden Ladies in the semi-finals.
Pinna, captain Katie Bottom, Ferreira, Campesi, Gemma Abela and New Zealand-born Rosie Missen all converted their efforts, before former Palace defender Ritson saw her penalty saved by Wayne, allowing Hinchcliffe to confidently beat Hammers keeper Lauren Picton and secure the victory.
The Ladies return to cup action on Sunday 7 February as they host FA Women’s Premier League North side Blackburn Rovers Ladies in the FA Women’s Cup third round at AFC Hornchurch, with kick-off scheduled for 2pm.
Ladies: Picton, Ritson, Bottom (c), Wheeler, Sammons, Abela, Missen, Campesi, Pinna, Ferreira, Locke. Subs not used: Kelly, Hinz, Strange, Smith