Magic of the FA Cup still strong for Harrogate Town Ladies coach Ben Sadler

Time for an FA Cup run? Harrogate Town Ladies coach Ben Sadler. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Time for an FA Cup run? Harrogate Town Ladies coach Ben Sadler. Picture: Matt Kirkham

“There’s just something about the FA Cup. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very special.”

Those were the thoughts of Harrogate Town Ladies coach Ben Sadler after a stunning 5-0 win over Fleetwood Town Wrens set up a home tie with Chorley in the second qualifying round of the women’s competition.

“Whether it’s the men’s competition, or the womens’ or the FA Youth Cup, it’s just a bit different and great to be involved in,” Sadler continued.

“We went into the game wanting a reaction from the players after our defeat to Farsley Celtic on the opening day of the league season and we certainly got one.

“We knew that Fleetwood would be a good side and that turned out to be the case, but we pressed them really well from the first whistle.

“We got the first goal then added another one soon afterwards and that really settled the girls down.

“From there we just relaxed and started to knock the ball about nicely. We played some really good stuff, and unlike in the Farsley game, we took our chances.”

Town moved ahead in the 19th minute of Sunday's contest at Wetherby Road after a nicely-weighted ball over the top by captain Lindsey Whitton picked out Sophie Tinson, who tapped home after her initial strike was saved.

A second goal arrived soon afterwards when a Harrogate corner was cleared to Bethany Davies just outside the box and she unleashed a stinging half-volley that crashed off the underside of the cross-bar and then over the line.

Town went 3-0 up early in the second period, Rosie Gill pouncing on a through-ball and slotting an effort under the Fleetwood goalkeeper.

Hollie Smith added number four following a scramble in the visitors’ box, then Tinson wrapped things up with her second of the match from substitute Megan Perez’s pass.

Town’s victory saw them make history, advancing to the second qualifying round stage of the FA Cup for the first time in their short history.

Their game against Chorley will take place at the CNG Stadium on October 6.

Town return to action on Sunday when they host Ossett Town Ladies in the North East Regional Women’s Football League Premier Division.