Coventry City Ladies 2-1 Morecambe Ladies

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Morecambe Ladies’ historic FA Cup run came to an end with a narrow defeat at Coventry on Sunday.

Playing in the third round for the first time, it looked as if the most significant day in their history was going to be one to forget after they conceded two goals in three first-half minutes.

But the prolific Megan Doherty pulled a goal back shortly before the break to give her side hope of doing what Jim Bentley’s men’s side couldn’t do and knock the Sky Blues out of the cup.

But the home side, three leagues higher in the pyramid, held on at Bedworth United’s The Oval to move into round four despite a brave effort from the visitors.

Morecambe weren’t daunted by the occasion and had the two best early chances.

Lone striker Doherty manufactured the first herself, poking the ball round Emma Hollingsworth only to see Susan Wood race off her line and block Doherty’s effort when in one-on-one.

On 12 minutes good pressure from Doherty in the corner allowed Laura Callis to nick possession and she squared for Becky Whittingham who had the ball taken off her feet as she was about to strike 10 yards out.

Coventry were always a threat however and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk headed into the side netting from a good Jade Formaston centre when she should have perhaps done better.

But the Women’s Premier League side were in front not long after, captain Natasha Lynch poking the ball home from close range on 17 minutes after Helen Dermody’s effort had come back off the underside of the crossbar.

Dermody got her goal three minutes later, a dipping volley from 25 yards sailing into the top left corner leaving Shrimps keeper Catherine Clough with no chance.

Two goals down, the visitors then had to weather a storm, Jade Formaston hitting the crossbar with an effort from distance on the half hour and then four minutes later she saw a strike from 10 yards out well beaten away by Clough.

The game looked to only be going one way until Doherty pulled a goal back on 37 minutes, poking the ball past the on-rushing Susan Wood after she’d been played through by Whittingham.

The home side did nearly restore their two-goal advantage shortly before the break, Clough getting smartly down to her right to tip Formaston’s near-post effort wide.

If the first half had been a free-flowing FA Cup tie, the second was an all together more cagey affair.

The Shrimps did have the first chance of the half however Doherty very nearly bringing her side level on 51 minutes, dragging a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

Barrett’s side got an immediate warning up the other end however, Nicole Dale nicking the ball off Emma Gardner in the box, only to slice her effort wide.

Coventry went on to dictate possession for large parts of the half without creating many openings in what descended into a very tense affair.

The Shrimps ladies battled on, and were nearly rewarded with an equaliser late on, Doherty’s header eight minutes from time cleared away just in front of the goal line.

Despite plenty of endeavour the leveller didn’t come and the ladies exited the FA Cup in the same manner, scoreline and all, as their male counterparts.

Morecambe Ladies: Clough, Paling (capt), Keane, Norris, E Gardner (S Gardner 89), Pendlebury (Fish 68), Callis, Invinson (Pye 74), Relph, Whittingham, Doherty. Subs not used: Roper, Grey.

Booked: Relph

Coventry City Ladies: Wood, Miles, Lynch (capt), Hollingsworth, Wilcox, Ladd, Barber, Dermody, Formaston, Dale (Reay 61), Sweetman-Kirk. Subs not used: Anderson, Toussaint.

Referee: Jonathan Walker