TOWN Ladies progressed to the second round of the Women’s FA Cup with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory against Leeds Vixens.
And the 5-4 success after a 3-3 draw was sealed Alex Smithies-style by goalkeeper Charlotte Oates, who beat her opposite number from the spot to spark tremendous celebrations.
That was not the only drama, however.
The first two penalties from Vixens and Claire Pearson and Faye Chadwick of Town were successful.
Then Vixens missed one before Debbie Hastings scored for Town.
Vixens scored No4 before Kate Nutter hit the bar for Town, making it 3-3.
Vixens scored with their fifth kick and Kate Mallin stepped up knowing that a further goal was needed for Town to remain in the Cup.
Her effort was saved low to the Vixens keeper’s right, but as the Leeds side celebrated, they were told that Mallin could re-take the kick as the keeper had moved off her line too early.
Mallin made no mistake with her second attempt and the scores were tied up at 4-4 and Town were still alive.
Vixens missed their sixth effort and, knowing victory was within her compass, keeper Oates stepped forward to score and put Town through after a thrilling game.
Town’s second-round tie away to Middlesbrough is their next match on January 6.
Chadwick and Oates were voted joint players of the match in what was a memorable encounter.
Vixens went ahead after four minutes when an attempted clearance appeared to be handled but play was waved on and a long-range shot beat the stranded Oates.
On 17 minutes Vixens went 2-0 up with a nice finish which gave Oates no chance.
In the 29th minute Town pulled a goal back when neat work down the right from Laura Windle gave Hollie Barker an easy opening to score.
Then Mallin levelled when she struck a shot from distance which gave the Vixens’ keeper no chance.
With three minutes of the half remaining, Vixens were ahead again when a speculative cross evaded the Town defence and left a simple finish.
Two minutes into the second half, Emily Heckler struck a shot just over the bar.
On 60 minutes Oates kept Town in it when a Vixens striker ran clear and was one-on-one, but Oates managed to place a head on the ball and stopped the attack with a fine save.
Seven minutes later Mallin came to Town’s rescue when she headed a goalbound effort off the line.
Town were living dangerously and all the attacking pressure was coming from Vixens.
With two minutes or normal time remaining and Town still behind, a corner from the right was headed against the Vixens bar, Chadwick was on hand to head the ball home to tie-up the game.
The two teams entered unwanted extra-time with both having suffered a month of inactivity due to bad weather.
Mallin brought a good save from the Vixens keeper in the 104th minute – getting a hand to a strong shot low to her left.
Two minutes later Nutter hit a post andTown generally had the better of extra-time but could not find the finish.
But they survived the drama of the penalty shoot-out to go through.
All junior games were postponed, while the Under 18s have the benefit of new sponsorship from Ali & Co Solicitors of Westgate, Huddersfield, as they travel to Dronfield on Saturday (11.00).
Town Under 15s are at home to Doncaster Rovers Belles on Saturday (Grange Moor, 10.30) while the Under 13s travel to Dronfield (11.00).