West Ham United Ladies 2-2 (AET) Swindon Ladies (West Ham win 4-2 on penalties)
Aditi Chauhan made a victorious return to the West Ham United Ladies team after saving three penalties in a nail-biting shootout in the FA Women's Premier League Plate first round.
The cup tie against Swindon Ladies was a welcome relief from their slow start to the league campaign, and after just one point from the first five games, it was a chance to hit a run of form.
There were three changes to the team that lost to Crystal Palace; Aditi Chauhan and Amy Cooper came in, while Charlotte Gerr made her West Ham Ladies debut.
West Ham had the better of the early exchanges with Chloe Burr having a shot saved after being put clean through and Sasha Kelly slicing the ball wide after a great run.
Bizarrely in the 42nd minute, the referee called for a water break due to the warm temperatures, and the refreshment seemed to agree with the West Ham Ladies as directly after it Gerr’s close range shot ricocheted off a defender’s shin and into the back of the net.
Swindon Ladies started the second half on the front foot, forcing Chauhan into action and in the 62nd minute the pressure paid off as Georgia Walters floated the ball over the keeper’s head to make it 1-1.
Swindon continued to cause West Ham problems and took the lead in the 80th minute, Walters capitalising on a mix-up in the West Ham defence to grab her second.
The Hammers brought on Jasmine Auguste and Steph Bent for Olivia Sammons and goalscorer Gerr who had ran herself into the ground.
West Ham Ladies continued to press in search of an equaliser with Locke, Burr and Wheeler all going close but they had to wait until the last minute of injury time before Chloe Burr stepped up to bury a 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner of the net to send the game into extra time.
With neither team able to break the deadlock in extra time, it was penalties to decide the tie and time for Aditi to remind everybody why she was voted Asian Woman Footballer of the Year in 2015, as she saved three of the five penalties faced.
With Kat Clifton, captain Katie Bottom and Chloe Burr converting their spot kicks, it was left to Sasha Kelly to step up and beat the keeper to send West Ham into the next round.
She did so, and after the tie, manager James Marrs said: “We were better in the first half once we had settled in and they were better in the second half, so a draw was a fair result in my opinion.
“In extra time, both teams had chances and we obviously snuck through on penalties.
“I’m so delighted to get our first win and hopefully it gives us some confidence moving forward. We will be back to training Tuesday and working hard in preparation for the match against Charlton next week.”
West Ham United Ladies: Chaucan, Sammons, Wheeler, Bottom, Mackie, Cooper, Clifton, Kelly, Burr, Locke, Gerr.
Substitutes: Auguste, Bent