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Lancaster City Ladies win on penalties after incredible cup comeback

Lancaster City Ladies in action against Whitehaven AFC Ladies

Lancaster City Ladies came from 5-2 down before winning a penalty shootout in an epic quarter final tie.

The result against Whitehaven AFC Ladies sends them through to the semi final of the LFA Women’s County League Challenge Cup, where they will play Euxton Girls Development.

The game saw the two sides at the top of the LFA Women’s County League Division 1 North West face off.

The Dolly Ladies had players missing through injury or unavailability and played a rotated side, but players who came into the side stepped up and put in fantastic performances, namely player of the match, midfielder Ellie Parkinson.

Parkinson is on dual registration with both Lancaster and Fleetwood Town Wrens Ladies, and was making only her second appearance for the Dolly Ladies. She won player of the match in her first game as well against Kendal Town Women.

She contributed hugely to three of the five goals on Sunday and ran the midfield in a game she was just meant to be watching but was called up to help the team at the last minute.

Within six minutes, the Dolly Ladies were in front. Jody Campbell was played through and made no mistake in placing it past the Whitehaven keeper.

Whitehaven had good chances to level the scoring, but Lancaster still looked comfortable, especially on the counter.

Charlie Kingham, who started the season as a goalkeeper for the Dolly Ladies before moving to left back, reverted back to being the player in between the sticks and made some quick reactions to deny Whitehaven from her near post, and also coming off the line and picking up loose balls.

However, the visitors got level, in controversial circumstances. A Lancaster player went down with an injury as the Whitehaven attack advanced down the left hand side and culminated in the ball going in the back of the net.

It was the first of five goals that Whitehaven would score in the first half. The away side’s goal glut, with Eden Hetherington (two goals) and Ashleigh McAllister (three goals) at the heart of it, didn’t tell the full story in a relatively even half of football.

The second, third and fourth goals came in frighteningly quick succession. Lancaster’s, and the league’s, top goal scorer, Kayleigh Young chased down a long ball over the top and slotted it coolly into the net to make it 2-4, but a fantastic strike from Whitehaven’s number seven extended their lead to three goals again.

The half time whistle went and the Dolly Ladies had a mountain to climb, but they produced an incredible second half display and made a fantastic comeback.

A smart team goal marked the beginning of said comeback, with player of the match Parkinson with some fantastic skill that led to Kayleigh Young finishing off the move in typical poacher fashion.

Just a few weeks ago, Jody Campbell scored a crucial free kick goal in the dying embers of the game against Chipping Ladies to seal promotion. Campbell was at it again with a fantastic direct free kick, which went in via the back of a Whitehaven defender.

Lancaster were throwing everything at trying to get that equaliser and, with just moments remaining, they did just that. Sammy Auty got her first goal for the club in her third appearance to level the scoring and take it to a tense penalty shootout.

The Dolly Ladies won 4-3 in the shootout, and the players jubilantly celebrated afterwards.

One player who didn’t make it through the 90 was Yasmine King who had to go to hospital after the game, in discomfort after landing awkwardly on her shoulder.

Ellie Parkinson said afterwards: “I’m feeling good, a good team game and to come from 5-2 down is fantastic. It helps a lot, playing at a high level, and I’m pleased with my performance.

“We’re so happy to be in the semi final, and to be doing so well in the league.”

Lancaster City Ladies assistant manager Joe Pickles also spoke to Beyond Radio post-match.

“Delighted with that one, especially with the comeback. It was a great performance apart from that five minute wobble in the first half but we came back brilliantly," he said.

"The character we showed in the shootout at the end was brilliant too.

“Whitehaven had a point to prove, with the title in our hands, they gave it a fair go but we stood up strong. We didn’t field our strongest team so to play that well is a massive bonus and gives confidence to all.

“Ellie was fantastic, creating two or three goals, slotting in like she’s played with us all season.

“It’s such a great season, promotion and a cup semi final. It’s the ladies team’s first time back in seven years and it’s been fantastic.”

Lancaster City are awaiting confirmation on what will happen with regards to their final game of the season against Kendal Town Women, which was postponed last week. It remains to be seen whether it will eventually be played or given as a walkover for the Dolly Ladies. A win in that game will secure them the league title.

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