Teenager Maddie Biggs scored a first half hattrick to punish poor Huddersfield defending and sent Town crashing out of the FA Cup to lower-league opposition Ipswich.
With little over a minute played, a long ball in behind the Terriers’ defence caused indecision between Olivia Clark and Charley Evans and Biggs stole in to tap into the empty net.
Town’s defensive line then collapsed to leave Biggs onside and unmarked on the penalty spot to freely head home a second before the 16-year-old slotted her third and Ipswich’s fourth just minutes from the break after Natasha Thomas made it three.
Before the away side’s third, Huddersfield had a huge penalty shout waved away when Katie Nutter ran into the box, nodded the ball beyond her marker and was flattened to the ground – the officials somehow didn’t see any contact and simply waved play on.
But it wasn’t all one-way traffic as Ellie White forced Nikita Runnacles into a stunning diving save to preserve the away side’s big lead heading into half time and the second forty-five saw the hosts bombard the visitors’ goal.
Lucy Sowerby smashed in her eighteenth goal of the season from inside the six-yard box to give the home side hope just five minutes into the second half, but Runnacles was in no mood to concede again.
The Tractor Girls’ shot-stopper somehow produced a miraculous one-handed safe back across her body after Sarah Danby’s shot took a wicked deflection before denying Sowerby a second on the day with a brilliant reaction save from close range.
Laura Elford and Kate Mallin, who never truly found their groove in the match, both missed good chances as the home side pushed right until the final whistle and Elford’s header over the bar proved to be the last action as referee Lucy-Anne Briggs blew the full-time whistle to send the travelling support into raptures.
Despite the heavy defeat, though, it was a momentous day for Town Women as the game marked their first ever appearance at the John Smith’s Stadium in front of a club-record 1,115 spectators and their second half showing will surely entice many first-time supporters to watch the FA WNL Cup Quarter Final against Stoke City on Sunday.
Manager Ashley Vickers certainly hopes to see a large crowd at the Stafflex Arena on February 2nd.
Match report by : Jack Walker
SSE WOMEN’S FA CUP – HIGHLIGHTS