Tuffley Rovers Ladies suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak in their GFA Women’s Challenge Cup tie with Gloucester City Development having scored a 98th minute equaliser in the 5-5 draw in 90 minutes.
Both sides started the game brightly and both sides matched each other for long spells – in particular in the first quarter of an hour.
On 17 minutes though City Development took the lead through Kate Ambrey.
Ambrey, who has appeared for the City Women First Team this season and appeared in the Severn Sport Team of the Month earlier this campaign, ran through from the half way line and clipped her effort over Tuffley keeper Leah Whiffen from nearly 30 yards.
Tuffley, to the credit, nearly equalised instantly when Chloe Taylor was slipped in down the middle, but her effort was well saved by Charlie Priday.
However moments later Taylor was slipped in again and this time she ran in on goal and levelled the game with a smart finish.
Three minutes later Gloucester City nearly regained the lead as Ambrey closed down a back pass to Whiffen and after the ball struck the forward she was about to slot home before Rovers defender Megan Hamblett came sliding in to block.
From the resulting corner City did in fact retake the lead as the ball in fell to Hannah Clark who curled into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Tuffley had two quickfire chances to level when first a lovely move ended with Danielle Proctor sliding her effort wide, before Hamblett stepped in on the halfway, ran up into the box, but then sliced her effort wide.
Sixty seconds later though it was 2-2 as Hamblett lofted a free kick into the box, Taylor cushioned the ball down and Beth Parker tapped home to restore parity.
Still the action wasn’t over for the first half an hour as Tuffley took the lead for the first time through Parker.
Chloe Taylor found space on the right hand side of the box and whipped in a beautiful cross for Parker to knock down into the bottom corner, despite a hand from Priday.
Tuffley nearly extended their lead soon after when Taylor got in down the right side of the box again, only to see her shot saved.
Then Beth Parker was found at the back post from a cross, but she couldn’t squeeze her shot home.
Rovers were made to rue their missed chances with five minutes left on the first half clock when Hannah Clarke was found on the diagonal. Clarke cut in from the left corner of the box and curled the ball past Whiffen to square the game up again.
Honey Draper fired one wide for Gloucester just before the break and just when it seemed like the game would be level at the break Tuffley got their noses in front once again.
Again it was a cross from the right hand side, but this time the ball was sliced into her own net by City defender Nicole Lewis.
The second half started with Chloe Taylor hitting the side netting after getting to a good position.
Ruby Bardgett was then played in for Gloucester, but Whiffen stood tall to save the shot.
Just after the hour mark City made it 4-4 when Zoe Gabb’s shot was deflected towards goal and Lannece Hole pounced to squeeze her effort below Whiffen.
Gabb then fired over for City as both sides pressed for a potential winner.
Kate Ambrey was slipped in one on one with five minutes to go, only to be denied by another fantastic piece of defending from Megan Hamblett, who slid in perfectly again to deny her.
Ella Nasser had an effort that flew just over the Gloucester goal with sixty seconds left of normal time, before Ambrey went in one on one but missed the target in the 91st minute.
That felt like “the chance” to win, but then in the 4th minute of injury time Ambrey was slipped in again and once again she delightfully clipped the ball up over Whiffen to spark scenes of celebration.
Tuffley heads didn’t drop though and after Hamblett was fouled just inside the Rovers half the long ball forward fell to Jess Dobbins, who smashed home to make it 5-5 and send us to penalties.
In the shoot-out Charley Reynolds and Zoe Gabb scored CIty’s first two spotkicks, with Jess Dobbins scoring and Katie Morrissey missing for Tuffley Rovers.
Lannece Hole and Emily Hawley exchanged converted penalties before Chloe Golding stepped up.
Golding’s penalty hit the bar, bounced down, hit the post and rolled away but the referee was on hand to award the goal as the ball had bounced behind the line.
Amy Brinkworth stepped up to keep Tuffley Rovers in the game, but she unfortunately sent her penalty over the bar.
The result was tough on Tuffley who played their part in a fantastic cup game. It was open, there were chances for both sides and the goals that were scored were quality efforts.
Both sides gave it their all but unfortunately one of them had to be the unlucky ones.
Gloucester City Women Development go through to play Southmead Community Sport Ladies away in the Second Round on Sunday 21st November.
Tuffley Rovers Ladies: Whiffin, Parker, Taylor, Nasser, Carrinlton, Keogh, Proctor, Morrissey, Hamblett; Maynard, Dobbins
Subs: Lee, Hawley, Brinkworth
Gloucester City Women Development: Priday, Golding, Chloe Day, Charlotte Day, J Ambrey, Davis, Draper, Clarke, K Ambrey, Bardgett, Reynolds
Subs: O’Neill, Hole, Lewis, Powell, Gabb
M&S Roofing Player(s) of the Match – Chloe Taylor (Tuffley Rovers Ladies) & Kate Ambrey (Gloucester City Women Development)