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Match Reports

Report: Bowers & Pitsea - League Cup (A)

Bowers & Pitsea 1 – 3 Stevenage FCW

30 January 2024

Match Reports

Report: Bowers & Pitsea - League Cup (A)

Bowers & Pitsea 1 – 3 Stevenage FCW

30 January 2024

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Stevenage cast out the demons of their previous trip to Basildon with a two goal victory over Bowers & Pitsea in the League Cup Quarter Final at the weekend. A fifth goal of the season for Matilda Thomas-O’Keefe and a brace from Kelsey Millen was enough to ensure that Millie Isherwood’s penalty was nothing more than a consolation as the ladies marched on to the next round.

In truth, the opening twenty minutes was a battle of attrition. Both sides did well at the back and restricted chances to long shots, akin to a boxer testing their opponent with light jabs. Mia O’Brien and Katie Quinn made one save each of note, but both would have been expected to collect.

If anybody had looked likely to score initially, it was the hosts. Isherwood and Locke the two players who tested O’Brien, the former at the near post with a strong hand from the stopper, the latter in a foot race that O’Brien happily won.

Boro’ however are aways capable of finding their groove and with just three minutes until the half hour mark, Thomas-O’Keefe struck. The hard work was completed by Lilia Dempsey, who worked hard to win the ball high up the pitch. Her run into the box was excellent and Thomas-O’Keefe sorted out her feet, found the angle and struck a low right-footed shot into the bottom corner. Boro’ had the lead.

Five minutes later, the striker was clear again after pouncing on a loose ball caused by a deflection from a Dempsey effort. This time, her radar was slightly off kilter and the powerful shot rippled the side netting to the relief of the Bowers back line.

The previous outing here saw Boro’ lose their lead following an hour long break for treatment to young Katie Boyle, who has recently returned to training. With just four minutes of the half remaining, Boro’ did their level best to ensure that the script would be different this time around. A Hannah Nebbitt free kick was swung in from the right and Chloe Gunn rose highest to head back towards the far post. It looked as though it would sneak in, but instead bounced off the post for Millen to send the ball across the line with a thrust of the hips.

Bowers, predictably, came out fighting in the second half. Whilst not creating many clear cut chances, O’Brien was called into action with a strong stop at her near post once more. However she was unequivocally beaten just before the hour mark. The Boro’ goalkeeper could only watch as Isherwood created some space and sent a curling effort high and onto the bar. Boro’ had been warned,

As the halfway point of the half ticked round, Bowers were offered a lifeline. Erin Williams raced into the box to meet a cross, only to be clattered by Gunn as she tried to intercept the pass. David Dice pointed to the spot and the defender could have no complaints. Isherwood stepped up and hit a hard shot into the net, which O’Brien may have just got a fingertip to.

The game was on a knife-edge and Amy Makewell, who was again leading by example with workrate, had an audacious effort that sailed over the bar. It may have been a catalyst though, as Boro’ searched for the goal to put the tie out of doubt.

It came with six minutes remaining. Sophie Hendy saw her effort blocked and the ball deflected high for Millen to beat Makewell to the ball and hit her tenth Boro’ goal of her career. Boro’ will progress to the semi finals where they will travel once again, this time to Wroxham for the opportunity to play in the final for the second consecutive season.

Bowers & Pitsea XI – Quinn, Thomas, Moore, Strange, Bilson, Cooper, Drewitt, Isherwood, Locke, Farmer, Harris

Subs: Darby, Elmes, Williams, Barrett

Goal: Isherwood (pen)

Stevenage XI – O’Brien, Nebbitt, Brooks, Rogers, Schofield, Bodily, Gunn, Makewell, Dempsey, Thomas-O’Keefe, Millen

Subs: Gooderham, Hendy, Green, Clarke

Goals: Thomas-O’Keefe, Millen x 2

You can see Stevenage FCW First Team in action at home against AFC Dunstable on Sunday 4th February. Keep your eyes on the social media platforms for more details - @stevenagefcw

The Under 23s have a weekend off, and will be in action again on Sunday 11th February away to Fakenham Town.

Visit our YouTube channel for more Stevenage FCW interviews, highlights, challenges and content at’t forget to like and subscribe!

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