UEL women’s 1st team set up a mouth-watering tie against Essex women’s 1st in the semi-final of the Southern Eastern Conference cup following a 2-1 win over Sussex women’s 1st on Wednesday afternoon. A goal in each half from Otesha Charles was enough to settle a hard-fought contest that lived up to its billing.
The match started off in a rather cagey fashion as both teams tried to settle into the game. As such the first real chance went UEL’s way on 22 minutes. A long diagonal ball was played into the Sussex penalty area and Charles, coming in from the right-hand side, was able to bring the ball down and shoot left footed towards goal but forced a good save out of goalkeeper Jenny Casey.
Sussex came dangerously close to opening the scoring themselves on 31 minutes when Watford Ladies FC’s Kirsty Tenk struck the crossbar from 25 yards out.
However, it was Tenk’s fellow Watford teammate Charles who broke the deadlock on 38 minutes with a close-range tap-in following good awareness from Abbie Weaver.
Their lead would only last three minutes as they were pegged back by a superb long-range free kick from the impressive Tenk.
The winner came for UEL midway through the second half following a delicious long pass from Jay Blackee. The ball was brought down by Charles, taking the ball away from her marker in the process and slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
UEL could have put the game to bed on 85 minutes. Following a sweeping move, a Chantelle Campbell pass put Blackee through in on goal but she could only see her shot cannon off the post. Despite that miss, UEL would go on to see out the game and book their place in the last four of the competition.
After the match, Charles spoke of her delight at reaching the next round saying: “I think we worked really hard, everyone gave 100%. Some girls were not well and they gave it all they had. I think we deserved to go through. We’ve worked hard, we haven’t lost a game yet, it’s a good way to move towards the end of the season.”
Asked if there was any preference on who they would like to play in the next round, she was confident of UEL’s chances: “It doesn’t really matter to us because I feel that as a team we will be able to beat anybody as long as we continue to work together and we’ve got a good relationship, so I’m confident.”
This win puts UEL within touching distance of the final, whilst their impressive unbeaten record in league and cup this season continues. They will now play Essex women’s 1st team on March 1st for a chance to play against either Kent women’s 1st or Surrey women’s 1st in the final.