Hashtag United won the FA Women’s National League Cup on Saturday 23 March following a shock victory over Northern Division league leaders Newcastle at Kenilworth Road. 

First half

Despite their 2-1 defeat, Newcastle had a promising start, dominating ball possession and pressing high against Hashtag United’s defence.  

The first goal of the afternoon came from an own goal in the 16th minute by Hashtag United’s Malika Apindia following a cross that was whipped into the box by Lia Cataldo.

Newcastle did not hold onto their lead for long however, as just minutes after the opening goal, an equaliser came from Hashtag’s Macy Nicholls.

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After the opening 20 minutes, Newcastle then went on to have a frustrating lack of clinical ability in the final third. 

They just couldn’t seem to find the goal and get past 20-year-old goalkeeper Frankie Angel.

Although the first 45” saw Newcastle hold more of the possession, Hashtag defender Courtney Lumley also had an impressive first half display, consistently blocking many of Newcastle’s attacks.

After two minutes of extra time it was level at the break and still all to play for.

Second half

The second half once again started bright for Newcastle and they were all over the Hashtag United defence. 

Katie Barker had a huge chance shut down when through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and the first free kick of the game was also won in a good area by the Magpies. 

The kick was taken by Emma Kelly but Hashtag were able to deal with it well and cleared it up the pitch.

The Tags then became the team to make the first change of the game, replacing Gemma Barker for Phoebe Williams.

Newcastle continued to have chance after chance but still could not find the back of the net, partly due to a lack of accuracy on the ball but also due to the stellar defensive display that Hashtag were able to put up.

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The first few changes for Newcastle saw Kacie Elson and Bridget Galloway replaced by Tyler Dodds and Paige Bailey-Gayle in the 63rd minute.

Six minutes later, Hannah Greenwood was also taken off for Elysia Boddy.

With the clock running down it looked more likely that the game would go to extra time as both teams were equal on the attack.

However a mistimed pass from Boddy in the 72nd minute meant that Hashtag substitute Williams was able to take the advantage and score off the back of a cut-back from Sammy Rowland. 

It was now down to the Hashtag United defence to keep the score line in their favour.

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The final 20 minutes of the match were far from calm and the first incident of a possible penalty came from Bailey-Gayle going down inside the box. 

Newcastle were denied the penalty however, and Hashtag then made another change, bringing on Valentina Pursey for Wiktoria Fronc .

The next shout for a penalty came when Bailey-Gayle was once again taken out inside the box with a late tackle, but the incident piqued no interest from the referee. 

With 5 minutes added on to the second half, Newcastle continued in their push for an equaliser but couldn’t find the back of the net.

The score ended 2-1 to Hashtag United who certainly came into the game as the underdogs.

Newcastle will now return their attention to the league, as they currently sit 12 points clear at the top of the Northern Premier Division of the FA Women’s National League. 

Featured image courtesy of Steve Daniels via Geograph. No changes were made to this image. License details found here