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Conti Cup Round-Up

Sunday, 15 October 2023

Recap the first action of the Conti Cup across Groups A-E

Adam Mitten


The 2023/24 Conti Cup (FA Women’s League Cup) got underway on Wednesday evening with 10 group stage matches.  There was plenty of drama with 36 goals scored, comebacks, late winners/equalisers and three penalty shoot-outs.  Here is a round-up of what happened.

In Group A, Durham’s Saoirse Noonan scored the opening goal of the 2023/24 Conti Cup when she found the net in the 2nd minute of the Wildcats match against fellow Championship side Blackburn Rovers.  Helen Seed equalised for Rovers before Mille Chandarana put them ahead in the 29th minute.  Noonan scored her second goal of the match, this time from the penalty spot, in the 72nd minute to equalise for Durham.  The Wildcats were awarded another penalty which Eleanor Ryan-Doyle converted in the 91st minute to secure a late 3-2 win for them.

The other Group A match was also an all Championship affair when Sheffield United took on Sunderland.  Ellie May gave the Blades the lead in the 7th minute before Emily Scarr equalised for the Lasses on the half-hour mark from the penalty spot.  Tara Bourne put United back ahead three minutes later, but it was level at half-time when Mollie Rouse scored Sunderland’s second equaliser in first half stoppage time.  The Black Cats made it 3-2 in the 67th minute when Mary Corbyn found the net, and this turned out to be the winner as Mel Reay’s side continued their undefeated start to the season.

All the sides in Group B play in the Women’s Super League. The early top two in the league and the only ones with a 100% record so far, Leicester City and Liverpool, took on each other at the Pirelli Stadium.  Aimee Palmer gave Leicester the lead in the 35th minute before Natasha Flint equalised for the visitors three minutes into first half stoppage time.  Hannah Cain put the Foxes back ahead in the 50th minute and this was the way it remained as Willie Kirk’s side won 2-1.

Everton played Manchester City in the other Group B game. Jess Park opened the scoring for City in the 21st minute before Bunny Shaw got their second three minutes into the second half.  Toni Duggan scored a consolation goal for the Toffees four minutes into stoppage time at the end of the match, but it was Man City who took the three points with a 2-1 win.

Group C features four sides who all play in the Championship, guaranteeing at least one of them a place in the quarter-finals.  At Princes Park, London City Lionesses were up against Watford.  Annie Rossiter put the Hornets ahead in the 16th minute before Lois Joel equalised five minutes later for the home side.  Grace Neville gave the Lionesses the lead four minutes into the second half but Coral-Jade Haines scored a late equaliser for Watford as it finished 2-2.  The Golden Girls won the penalty shoot-out to determine who gets an extra point 7-6 with Paige Satchell’s miss for London City Lionesses being decisive.

In the other Group C match, there was late drama at The Dripping Pan when Lewes took on Crystal Palace.  The Eagles were awarded a penalty which Elise Hughes converted in the 64th minute.  Kate Oakley (Lewes’ social media thinks) equalised for the Rooks five minutes into second half stoppage time to take the match to a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.  Lewes’ goalkeeper Emily Moore turned out to be the hero in the shoot-out making a hat-trick of saves as they won it 2-0 and picked up the extra point.

The current bottom side in the WSL, Bristol City, played the one top of the Championship at the moment, Southampton, in Group D.  Rachel Furness gave the Robins into the lead in the 34th minute before Lexi Lloyd-Smith equalised for the Saints in the 50th minute.  There were no further goals as it finished 1-1.  In the shoot-out, City’s Brook Aspin missed the decisive spot kick which meant Southampton won 4-3 and got the extra point.

I was at Brisbane Road to watch Tottenham Hotspur play Reading in the other Group D match.  WSL side Spurs overcame their Championship opponents with ease as they won 6-0.  Zhang Linyan and Kit Graham scored goals in the first half for the home side and Asmita Ale, Ria Percival, Jessica Naz and Martha Thomas added further goals after the break.

In Group E, Brighton & Hove Albion travelled to St Andrews to play Championship side Birmingham City.  It was the WSL side who won this one 3-0 with the Seagulls goals coming from Charlie Rule, Katie Robinson and Elisabeth Terland.

There was another WSL vs Championship clash in the other Group E match as West Ham United took on Charlton Athletic.  The Addicks took the lead in the 20th minute when Carla Humphrey found the net.  The Hammers came back in the second half though with Emma Harriers getting the equaliser just before the hour mark then Izzy Atkinson put them ahead in the 78th minute.  No more goals followed as West Ham won 2-1.

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