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Megen the star as Spurs Ladies reach second cup final

Posted on 27 February 2017  - 19:00

Spurs Ladies have done it again! They came through a scare to beat Crystal Palace on penalties to reach the final of the Capital Women's Cup on Sunday.

Spurs celebrate as Jenna Schillaci slots home the winning penalty - all photographs: Wu's PhotographyKelley Blanchflower tries her luckLucia LeonRenee Hector heads home the equaliserRenee Hector and Jenna Schillaci celebrateThe ladies celebrate their equaliserJosie GreenThe players all bundle in after the shoot-out

Goalkeeper Megen Lynch was the star of the show with four penalty saves in the shoot-out in the semi-final at Bromley FC. Palace had a penalty to win the tie, but Lynch denied Freya Holdaway and made two more saves before skipper Jenna Schillaci buried the winner to set-up another final against old rivals Charlton.

Opponents in three cup finals in the last two seasons, Spurs and Charlton will face each other again twice more for cup glory again this season - the Capital Cup and Boux Avenue (Ryman) Cup.

Manager Karen Hills described it as an 'emotional rollercoaster' as her team came from 1-0 down before winning the shoot-out. The 1-1 draw on 90 minutes also maintained their incredible unbeaten run this season, now stretching to 23 wins and two draws in 25 matches in all competitions.

"You always talk about defining moments in football and once again we showed the character to come through," said Karen.

"We could have gone out in the shoot-out but Megen saved that crucial penalty and went on to win it for us with four saves. She also made a brilliant save in the second half of the game.

"It was another fantastic win. It was a tough day - but worth it!"

Below: Spurs Ladies at Bromley - back row, from left - Eartha Pond, Lucia Leon, Wendy Martin, Renee Hector, Josie Green, Megen Lynch; Front row, from left - Kelley Blanchflower, Sophie Mclean, Jenna Schillaci, Riana Soobadoo, Bianca Baptiste

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CRYSTAL PALACE 1-1 SPURS
Spurs win 6-5 on penalties
Capital Cup semi-final

Report from Khalid Karimullah at Bromley FC, Hayes Lane
Photographs with thanks to Wu's Photography

Spurs Ladies ensured progression through to their second cup final of the season in enthralling fashion - following a 1-1 (6-5 on penalties) - Capital Women’s Cup semi-final victory at Crystal Palace.

Jenna Schillaci and Kelley Blanchflower recycled, the latter crossed deep to the far-post searching for Wendy Martin who came within inches of connecting. Schillaci’s looped free-kick found Martin, who clashed with Chanelle Yardley whilst simultaneously placing into the net - but the goal was ruled out.

Schillaci’s inswinging corner forced Pamela McRoberts to head off the line, Lucia Leon followed up on the volley, but Rosie Paye cleared. Against the run of play, McRoberts’ corner bobbled through to Ellie Bailes, who fired into the top right from a central position after 16 minutes.

Gemma Bryan countered rolling across to Roschelle Shakes, whose attempted placement saw Josie Green scatter to block. Eartha Pond’s audacious free-kick from just inside the hosts’ half sailed towards the top corner and Yardley had to come across to collect.

Bianca Baptiste’s cross found Blanchflower charging towards the near-post and her deft touch was guided inches away by Megan Goss. Bryan collected deep, cut inside getting her shot away forcing Renee Hector to throw her body in the way.

Pond’s corner saw Hector’s header sail inches over. Baptiste fired low from Pond’s lay-off, which Yardley got down to collect.

Below: Wendy Martin in action against Palace

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Leon’s byline cross found Riana Soobadoo whose strike hit Freya Holdaway. Just before the break, Leon played into Mclean, who chested and volleyed across goal for what looked like the equaliser - which was ruled out for what was deemed a tussle away from play.

Baptiste connected with Martin’s cross on the half-volley, but couldn’t get the power. Bryan’s swerving volley crashed off the post, Ciara Sherwood following up couldn’t guide in.

Karen Hills’ team found their way back on 62 minutes. Eartha Pond’s edge of the area free-kick cannoned off the underside of the crossbar, which Hector was first to react heading home.

McRoberts’ cross fortuitously arrived to Bryan for a one-on-one from six-yards, which Megen Lynch got down low to keep out. Pond’s driven free-kick found Baptiste whose acrobatic piledriver was dived onto by Yardley. Blanchflower set Nikita Whinnett away cutting in from the left, her 20-yard curler saved down low. McRoberts was given a straight red for a late challenge on Mclean, however the Lilywhites couldn’t take advantage with the clock running out.

Into the penalty shoot-out. Bryan and Sherwood put away as did Mclean and Martin for 2-2. Lynch stopped Leesa Haydock, Yardley followed suit from Hector. Sarah Jones made it 3-2 for Palace as Baptiste was kept out. Holdaway had a chance to send her side through to the final, unable to beat an inspired Lynch. Pond levelled for 3-3 to send the tie into sudden death.

Fran Ali made it 4-3, Whinnett slotted for 4-4. Lynch denied Bailes, Green’s top corner placement was palmed away by Yardley – who stepped up herself to make it 5-4. Rawle made it 5-5 as Lynch made her fourth stop from Alma Donohoe, leaving skipper Schillaci to step up.

She guided in the decisive kick to create rapturous celebrations at the final whistle.

Matchday Squad: 13. Megen Lynch, 2. Lucia Leon, 11. Jenna Schillaci (c), 19. Renee Hector, 18. Eartha Pond, 7. Josie Green, 12. Riana Soobadoo (9. Nikita Whinnett 71), 5. Sophie Mclean, 8. Bianca Baptiste, 10. Wendy Martin, 20. Kelley Blanchflower (3. Leah Rawle 90+3). Substitutes (Not Used): 1. Toni-Anne Wayne, 16. Maya Vio