Swindon Town Women made it two wins in a week as they overcame Selsey in the FA Women’s National League Plate at the weekend, with a narrow 2-1 win seeing them through to the second round of the competition.
The tie wasn’t all plain sailing for James Lally’s side though, as the hosts were reduced to ten on half an hour with Lauren Clark shown a red card for violent conduct, and it took a late Becky Donnelly strike ten minutes into stoppage time to earn Swindon the victory.
The showdown was also a warm up for their league encounter, as the two will meet again this coming Sunday in National League Division One South West.
Town looked strong heading into the clash at The High Street Ground, with Lally making three changes to his side from the win over Maidenhead in their last outing.
Becky Donnelly, Elle Scott and Ella Harries came in for Kat Bach, Tori Taylor and Steph Bent, and Swindon got off to a perfect start with Meg Attenborough finding time and space for a first-time strike after just 15-minutes.
Then the game changed as Clark saw red on 29-minutes as she kicked out at Annie Colston and was given her marching orders.
This should have given Town fresh impetus to take the game to Selsey, but the stubborn hosts played well with a player down and looked to get players behind the ball, and to their credit, forged some attacks of their own.
Lally made five subs in the second half to try and influence the game, with Donnelly, Taylor, Honor Fraser, Briony Hurd and Lucy Durham all entering the action.
Despite ever really managing to test Emily McGrogan in the Swindon goal, they stunned the visitors by scoring an equaliser two minutes from time as they forced the ball in from a free-kick.
However, one thing Town don’t lack is belief and their ‘never say die attitude’ was rewarded in the tenth minute of stoppage time, as a dangerous Lucy Durham cross was stroked home by Becky Donnelly to break the hosts hearts, and send Swindon through to the second round of the competition for the first time since the 2018/19 campaign.
* Photos provided by Sheena Booker #lifebehindthelens