1st Team
Sun 10 Sep 2023
1st Team
S Evans (7')


Doug Outt12 Sep 2023 - 15:43
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Pride’s FA Cup run ended ended at the first hurdle but only after a terrific effort against higher League opposition in front of a crowd of over 200.

After taking an early lead Pride were pegged back by what looked a soft penalty. The hosts went ahead from a deflected shot at the start of the second half before Pride gradually built up pressure on the Nuneaton goal. Despite their best efforts they couldn’t find the breakthrough, before Borough hit Pride with a sucker punch on the counter five minutes into time added on to clinch the win.

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The new season got underway on Sunday with a trip to Nuneaton Borough for the Women’s FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round. There were competitive debuts for Ellie-Mae Coleman, Loren Kitching, Katy Sharpe and Aimee Healy-Raynor.

Pride were quickly into their stride from the kick off, making all the running with some sublime football as they found little pockets of space and moved the ball around quickly - Tash Allderidge getting the first shot on goal within the first minute, but it was partially blocked and was collected by the keeper.

Beth Jones fired in a shot, held by the Nuneaton ‚keeper, before Pride took a deserved lead after 7 minutes when Beth Jones slid a terrific pass through the Nuneaton back line for Summer Evans to finish [0-1].

Despite Pride’s excellent start it was inevitable that the Regional League side would come into the game more, and a close range effort was gathered by Jade Howell after 11 minutes. Two minutes later Nuneaton were awarded what appeared to be a soft penalty after the striker was judged to have been tripped as she entered the penalty area. Borough took advantage from the spot to draw level [1-1].

The remainder of the first half was fairly even - there was a great chance for Beth Jones after combining with Ellie-Mae Coleman, but Beth fired her shot wide after 20 minutes. After receiving the ball back from a corner, Tash Allderidge hit a curling shot which was held by the keeper. Steph Eadon and Summer Evans had shots saved just after the half hour, and at the other end Jade Howell collected one shot on goal and was able to watch a couple of shots go safely wide.

Sophie Ayton did well to block a shot, then in the closing minutes of the first half there was a let off for Pride when Nuneaton’s striker reached the ball just ahead of Jade Howell but her shot from an angle went across the face of goal.

Nuneaton took the lead almost straight after the restart. A clearance was picked up in the centre and although Sophie Ayton did well to close down the striker and partially block the shot, the shot deflected up high and looped over Jade Howell to drop just under the bar [2-1]. It was a cruel way to go behind and it momentarily upset Pride’s rhythm, whereas the goal gave Nuneaton added impetus and for a brief period they pushed for another, but Jade was able to collect a loose ball and watch a header go wide of the post.

Pride recovered their composure and started to push for an equaliser; Sophie Ayton’s opportunistic shot from distance was deflected just wide on the hour, Steph Eadon’s header from the resultant corner was cleared off the line. Ellie-Coleman latched on to a clearance but her volley was held by the keeper. Steph Eadon intercepted in midfield and drove forward before hitting a low, driven shot that had the keeper scrambling but she managed to get down to it and turn it round the post - from the resulting corner Steph got up well but her header dropped onto the roof of the net.

Beth Jones collected a throw-in from Izzy Wilsoncroft before turning and fizzing a shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post. All three available substitutions were made by Pride at the drink break, without any loss of momentum as all three substitutes slotted in seamlessly.

Steph Eadon picked up a clearance, and despite the close attention of a defender got her shot away which the keeper couldn’t hold but gathered at the second attempt just ahead of Summer.

Heading into the last ten minutes of normal time, Beth Jones turned infield after collecting another Izzy Wilsoncroft throw, worked half a yard of space but didn’t quite connect with her left footed shot which ran through to the keeper, and Summer Evans managed to connect with a Tash Allderidge corner but it was saved by the keeper.

In terms of attacking it had been all Pride Park from the hour mark onwards, but the ball just wasn’t falling kindly. As the game headed in to time added on there were a couple of nearly-but-not-quite through balls before, as Pride pushed forward, Nuneaton broke away to deliver the sucker punch in the final minute [3-1].

It was a tremendous effort by the players who gave everything against higher League opposition - a neutral observer would have been pushed to identify which was the higher ranked team, as Pride had the majority of possession and created the most opportunities in an otherwise very evenly contested match, played in a great spirit. The game really could have gone either way - Pride just didn’t have the necessary slice of luck when they needed it, but they can be proud of their performance! The challenge now is to take this level of performance into the league.

FULL TIME: Nuneaton Borough 3-1 Pride Park

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Match date

Sun 10 Sep 2023



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