SSE Women’s FA Cup fourth round qualifying: Luton Town Ladies 6 Oxford City 1
Luton Town Ladies reached the SSE Women’s FA Cup first round proper in some style, hammering Oxford City Ladies 6-1 at Stockwood Park on Sunday.
Hatters boss Nikki Baker made two changes to last week’s league cup win over Stevenage with Rebecca Kane and Shanice Jiminez starting in place of Jodie Bellinger and Jodie Southby against their opponents from a league below.
After a beautifully observed minute silence, the hosts pressed high immediately as Kane and Jo Rutherford won the ball back several times high up the field.
Hatters went close when Rutherford’s quick corner reached Jiminez and her cross was headed powerfully over by skipper Rachel Carter.
Luton kept pressing and eventually took the lead on 29 minutes when Jess McKay beat her marker for pace and her cross was teed up by Kane for Rutherford to slot underneath the keeper.
A second goal followed three minutes later as Kane went on a mazy run into the box where she was fouled, Zara Carroll stepping up to blast the resulting penalty home.
The next 10 minutes saw Town go on the rampage to seal the tie as Kane flicked a header in at the near post from a Rutherford corner on 33 minutes, and then swiftly chipped home from 25 yards to make it 4-0.
A fifth arrived before the break too when Jiminez’s powerful shot was spilt into the net by the keeper on 39 minutes.
A lapse in concentration in the 42nd minute saw Oxford pull a goal back, but Luton regained their five goal lead when Kane’s corner was smashed into the net by Nicola Henman.
In the second half, Oxford were determined not to concede any further goals as they defended well, while the Hatters went through the motions.
Kane failed to complete her hat-trick, shooting well over, while substitute Lucy Tape came close to her first goal for the first team, seeing her shot saved.
City fashioned a couple of late opportunities but a fantastic stop from Jess Devoti ensured Luton went through in style.
Hatters have now been drawn at home to FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division side Portsmouth Ladies in the first round roper on Sunday, December 4, as a delighted Baker said: “I am very happy to be going into the next round of the FA Cup.
“To destroy a side in 15 minutes like that is superb and there was no coming back for them.
“At half time we actually told the girls they weren’t doing things well enough.
“We weren’t pressing well enough as a team, weren’t keeping the ball well enough and although we were 6-1 up, the goal was a terrible goal to concede.
“Having said that, that 15 minutes we were outstanding and that won us the game.
“I thought Nicola Henman was outstanding and she is everything you want from a centre midfielder.
“As well as that Bex Kane looked superb, scoring twice and getting three assists, you can’t ask for much more than that from a striker.”
The Town return to league action this weekend when they travel to AFC Wimbledon in the Women’s Premier league.