QPR FC Women booked their place in the final of this years Capital Women’s Cup courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Dulwich Hamlet on Sunday afternoon.
Strikes from Jenny Moore and Demi Edwards was enough to secure the victory for Steve Quashie’s side as they now can look ahead to a cup final.
In a tense clash, both sides struggled to get their foot on the ball in the early exchanges. But it was the hosts who were first to have an effort on goal, with R’s defender Ellie Searle having to be alert to hack the ball away from danger.
And with ten minutes on the clock, it was Searle again involved, this time at the other end of the field, who whipped in a dangerous looking ball for Melanie Hall at the far post, only for Dulwich stopper Mia North to be on hand to collect the ball and clear the danger.
However, In terms of early chances, that was it, this was until Moore was able to give Rangers the lead.
A great ball from Edwards fell to the midfielder in the box and at the second attempt she was able to smash the ball home - giving Quashie’s side the perfect start to the tie.
However, only seconds later Dulwich were able to instantly reply. A deflected free kick left Lucie White in the R’s goal helpless and just like that it was all square.
Things quickly became very scrappy with either side struggling to maintain possession of the ball for a prolonged period of time.
But, it was the visitors who were able to carve out the more threatening opportunities, a nice driving run from the increasingly influential Searle, forced North into action, before the danger was cleared.
With the half time whistle starting to loom a somewhat fortunate ball from Katie Akerman struck striker Milly Cutler in the face, setting up Hall, but the R’s attacker could only fire over and it remained all square.
On the stroke of half-time, Searle whipped in a wide free kick which beat everyone and sailed out of play and despite the two first half goals this sort of epitomized a half which lacked that cutting edge in front of goal.
At the break Rangers made a change, with Kasha Petit coming on the field for Hall and only moments after the second half kicked off, R’s stopper White suffered what seemed to be a serious looking injury, ultimately seeing new signing Erin Pope making her QPR debut in goal for the Super Hoops, something which the attacking midfielder probably wouldn’t have imagined.
After an initial nervy few moments, Pope was able to cling onto the ball and this saw the R’s stand in keeper growing in confidence.
This meant that QPR were quickly able to concentrate on their attacking threat, with Cutler and Petit both going on to trouble the Dulwich backline.
And then Quashie’s side were then able to construct arguably the best move of the game, a fine ball to Merle Redhead-Ling saw the Rangers full-back looking to pick out Petit at the far post, but the substitute went agonisingly close to give the R’s the lead, with the ball narrowly sailing past her.
Rangers continued to threaten, with Redhead-Ling again using her pace again down the right-hand side, a fine ball from Akerman found the young full-back, who was able to get in between her marker and the Dulwich keeper, but at the last moment before the ball could trickle over the line the Dulwich backline were able hack it away.
The introduction of Eshe Davies and Ellen Wardlaw injected some energy into the R’s side, with Davies almost making a dramatic impact.
A fine through ball, found the R’s striker one-on-one with North, but she could only put her shot narrowly wide, with this chance only highlighting the attacking intent from the R’s as they start to turn the screw in the Semi-Final clash.
And with 71 minutes on the clock, Rangers were able to grab what would go on to prove to be the winner.
A left hand cross eventually fell into the path of Edwards who was eventually able to poke the ball home, making it 2-1.
In true Cup style, the hosts knew they had to throw everything forward and a dramatic moment from the stand in keeper Pope, saw the ball falling to Dulwich from seemingly the goal line, but they were unable to turn the ball home and Rangers survived an almighty scare.
This chance gave Dulwich some confidence and as they started to throw more forward, this ultimately left some gaps at the back, which Petit was keen to exploit.
A fine looping strike from the substitute whistled just past the post.
In the final few moments Dulwich had a vital chance, but Pope was on hand again and with the clocking slowly winding down for the R’s, the final was in sight.
Rangers were able to see out the final few seconds of the tie and as the full-time whistle blew the jubilation and celebrations were QPR’s, as they booked their place in the final of this year’s Capital Women’s Cup!
QPR Starting XI: White (47’ Pope), Johnson, Redhead-Ling, Grieve, Dench, Akerman (65’ Wardlaw), Moore, Edwards (71’ Carolan), Searle, Hall (45’ Petit), Cutler (65’ Davies)