Penalty success for under 17 girlsOxford United’s Jennings under-17s Girl side have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Girls’ Youth Cup after beating Norwich City on penalties following a 0-0 draw. Having made the long trip to Norfolk United put in a battling performance in difficult conditions but held their nerve to go through to the last eight of the competition.
Both sides were cagey in the early stages, struggling to maintain any form of possession on a tight, bumpy pitch which left little scope for any flowing football. The hosts settled the quicker and used their experience of the home pitch by looking to play a direct game, looking for runners in behind the Oxford defence. Although they managed to get in behind several times United’s back line held firm and defended well.
Oxford started the brighter in the opening exchanges of the second half and for the first ten minutes put the Norwich defence under considerable pressure. However, the breakthrough just would not come and Norwich gradually got themselves back into the game, thowing everything at the U’s but unable to break through. In the last ten minutes the momentum again swung United’s way as they searched for the winning goal to avoid penalties; Courtney Sumner saw a header well saved by the Norwich keeper and Mollie Dyer, Riva Casley and Ellie Noble all saw efforts go narrowly wide or saved. Harriet Talbot went close with a headed effort from a corner, but it was just over the bar as the match finished goalless.
With no extra time, the match headed straight for penalties with Norwich winning the toss and opting to take the first spot kick. Keeper Paris Sercombe put Oxford on the front foot by making a superb save down to her right from the first Norwich penalty, before Mollie Dyer then stepped up to blast Oxford in front.
Sercombe put United firmly in control by saving Norwich’s second penalty low to her right, but United’s second missed the target and Norwich scored their third. Riva Casley then strolled up to retain Oxford's advantage and Norwich’s fourth penalty sailed high and wide, leaving Harriet Talbot to seal United’s triumph. Her well-struck effort left the goalkeeper with no chance, sparking ecstatic celebrations from the United players.
Congratulations to all involved
United squad: Paris Sercombe, Laura Fenn, Loran Stanley, Brittany Egdan, Harriet Talbot, Rebecca Halford, Ellie Noble, Riva Casley, Mollie Dyer, Steph Weston, Georgia Timms, Courtney Sumner, Molly Lygo-Jackson