QPR FC Women came from behind twice to claim the Capital Women’s Cup 2021, courtesy of a dramatic penalty shootout on Tuesday evening.
In front of a sold out Bedfont Sports Club, Roschelle Shakes gave our opponents an early lead. But a Demi Edwards strike late in the first half ensured Rangers went into the break level.
Meila D’Santos restored Actonians' lead, however a late Ellie Searle penalty kick for the R’s meant the tie would be decided by spot-kicks.
In a topsy-turvy shootout, captain Vicky Grieve stepped up and converted the decisive kick, claiming the cup for Rangers.
An intense clash throughout, Steve Quashie’s side started extremely brightly with Kasha Petit finding herself with a chance on goal within the opening minute, but with the R’s number nine just about to pull the trigger the ball was poked away.
And only seconds later, Actonians were ahead.
A fine long-range strike from Shakes left Lucie White in the QPR goal with little chance and with that the deadlock had been broken, giving our opponents the perfect start.
After going behind, Rangers looked for an instant reaction, with Erin Pope and Searle both going close.
As the rapid start to the tie continued, the R’s were fortunate to not be further behind. R's shot-stopper White had to be on hand on numerous occasions to cut out the danger.
And as we approached the half an hour mark, these saves paid dividends.
After pouncing on a defensive mishap, Edwards was able to drive at the defence and wonderfully curl the ball into the back of the net, making it all-square.
This goal only saw Quashie’s side grow in confidence, but it was Actonians who looked most likely to restore their lead thereafter.
A dangerous corner kick and header was eventually hacked away by midfielder Jenny Moore on the goal-line, ensuring that at the break it remained level.
Following the break, Actonians who started well, with Merle Redhead-Ling and Afiya Johnson having to be alert to cut out numerous attacks.
However, it wasn’t all one-way traffic.
A fine Katie Akerman corner kick was met the head of captain Grieve, but her goal-bound effort was cleared by the head of Graham.
In the 69th minute, Actonians were able to restore their lead. A fine effort from D’Santos was enough to beat White, giving Rangers a mountain to climb.
Moments later and Actonians could have wrapped the tie up, but to our fortune their goal-bound effort cannoned back off the post and into the grateful arms of White.
With time fading away, Quashie’s side threw everything forward, with the arrival of Eshe Davies and Melanie Hall giving the R’s attack a boost of energy.
And with five minutes of the 90 left, this move paid off.
A fine move eventually struck the arm of an Actonians defender, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Searle stepped up and with an emphatic finish, ensured that as we headed into the final few minutes parity was restored again.
Both sides tried to push for a winner, with six minutes of additional time to be played, but it wasn’t to be and the tie would be decided by a penalty shootout.
Natalie Skiverton and Petit both converted their spot-kicks, while Laura Hennessy and Eshe Davies missed for the R’s. This meant that going into the final kick, captain Grieve knew that if she scored then the title would be QPR’s.
Thankfully, that’s exactly what she did and this sparked the R's celebrations.
QPR FC Women are the Capital Women’s Cup champions.
QPR Starting XI: White, Johnson (Carolan 81’), Grieve, Redhead-Ling, Searle, Cutler, Akerman (Hennessy 66’), Moore (Davies 74’), Petit (Skiverton 86’), Pope (Hall 66’), Edwards.