LADIES REPORT: LINCOLN 1 CHELSEA 0
Chelsea Ladies missed out on a quarter-final place in the FA Women's Cup, falling to a narrow defeat over Super League rivals Lincoln Ladies at Sincil Bank.
After a long inspection from the referee, the game was given the go ahead half an hour before kick, as rain and snow continued to fall.
It was Chelsea who had the first opportunity of the match, after just four minutes. Remi Allen conceded a free-kick on the edge of the Lincoln area, Danielle Buet fired the ball over the crossbar. From the resultant goal-kick Lincoln almost took the lead. Precious Hamilton raced onto a deep through ball and drove into the box, only to see her shot thwarted by the legs of Nicky Davies in the Chelsea goal.
Cantrell then caused Davies problems again just 10 minutes later as her 30-yard free kick was well saved by the Chelsea keeper. Clarke almost followed in with the rebound but the winger was offside.
Precious Hamilton headed Lincoln's best chance over before the away side asserted their presence in the final 10 minutes of the first half. First of all, Eniola Aluko broke free of the home defence for the first time, but Martha Harris fought back to slide in and win the ball back. The final chance of the half fell to Drew Spence, as space opened up 20 yards out, but the midfielder miscued her shot and it sailed wide.
This was the final action of the first half, with the deadlock still to be broken.
Lincoln started the second half, much like the first, and after 57 minutes they took the lead. A corner fell to Bradley at the back post, the defender driving the ball back at the goal where it hit a defender and looped up. Jess Clarke was the first to react and rose highest to flick the ball past Davies and give Lincoln the lead.
The conditions still proved tough for both teams, as the game turned into a midfield battle. With only 10 minutes remaining Davies's clearance could only reach Cantrell who tried to lob her from 40 yards, but the keeper managed to get back to pluck the ball out of the air.
It was Cantrell who was at it again just four minutes later, as she drove at goal from 30 yards, Davies getting finger tips to the ball to touch it against the underside of the bar and the ball bounced clear.
Chelsea's best chance to equalise came with just four minutes left on the clock. Aluko burst through the centre of the Lincoln defence, she cut back inside Stoney and drove at goal but Lincoln debutant Karen Bardsley made a great save with her legs to maintain her clean sheet.
Chelsea finished the game the stronger but were unable to get the equaliser they craved and went out in what was their first game in this season's competition.
Chelsea: Nicky Davies, Dunia Susi, Katie Holtham, Olina Vidarsdottir, Sophie Ingle, Edda Gardarsdottir (c), Drew Spence (Karin Muya 73), Danielle Buet (Hannah Blundell 61), Eniola Aluko, Helen Ward, Sofia Jakobsson.
Unused subs: Carly Telford, Helen Bleazard, Kylie Davies.