Ladies denied after superb fightback

Becky Whittingham defending.
Becky Whittingham defending.
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Morecambe Ladies almost managed their second Premier Division scalp of the season on Sunday, in the end just losing out to Middlesbrough Women in a thrilling 3-2 defeat after extra time in the FA Women’s National League Cup Plate.

A fine first half by the Shrimps saw them start quickly, creating their first scoring opportunity within the first two minutes.

Chance after chance followed with Morecambe’s powerful and dynamic front two causing the Middlesbrough defence all kinds of problems, and it seemed like when, not if, Morecambe would score.

Both teams played some exceptional football but it was the visitors who went in at the break 1-0 up, after confusion in the six yard box that saw Morecambe protesting for offside.

The second half began in similar vein with Morecambe having sustained periods of possession in the opposition half as they pushed for an equaliser.

However, mid-way through the second half, following a great opportunity for the home side to equalise, it was Middlesbrough who broke away to make it 2-0.

That could have been game over, but a spirited Morecambe team pulled a goal back with 15 minutes left on the clock.

A sublime cross from Jess Tait was met by Emily Hutton who looped a header over the keeper to make it 1-2.

Morecambe’s tails were up, and with the visitors desperately trying to hold on for the win, it was a superb, pinpoint pass over the Middlesbrough defence by Morecambe captain, Hannah Paling, that was met by player of the match Melissa Brown, who broke through the defence with a late run from midfield to slot home with five minutes to go to make it 2-2.

The home side pushed for a late winner but that’s how it remained after 90 minutes.

Into extra time, and the effort to get back into the game had really taken its toll on the home side, with the Shrimps unable to prevent a slick goal by the visitors to make it 3-2, and that’s how it remained until the final whistle.