The Leeds United Ladies took on Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United in their away FA tie at Bramall Lane.
The Leeds side saw Olivia Smart and Rachel Stewart back into the starting line-up and saw Kez Huegett return from injury to Bob Wilkinson’s otherwise unchanged line-up.
Leeds got off to a good start but with both teams in good spirits the play became more guarded and the chances became fewer.
Kez Huegett was a threat each time she got forward and her link up play with Arianne Parnham, who’s impressive runs.
Lauryn Colman had a couple of shots to deal with but nothing overly troubling. Jemma White came the closest to scoring as her shot ricocheted off the bar but she couldn’t place the follow up. Half time 0-0
The second half was a very different story to the first and the FA Cup game really came to life.
The Blades broke the deadlock at 50 minutes from a good move from Millie Kenyon found her free inside the Leeds box. The ball fell to her feet and her shot was directed low passed Lauryn Colman for Sheffield to take the lead. Sheffield Utd 1 Leeds Utd 0
Leeds rebuffed some further early scares and started to pile on the pressure. With 60 minutes played Leeds were awarded a penalty for a foul on Huegett only to have their hopes dashed by the assistant referee who had his flag held aloft for an earlier offside. A superbly flighted free-kick from Huegett found its home inside the back of the net courtesy of a deflection and Leeds were level. Sheffield Utd 1 Leeds Utd 1
Leeds were back in the fight and continued to get forward with Arianne Parnham coming agonisingly close with a shot which was just cleared. This was closely followed by the impressive Huegett whose turn and fierce shot was denied by the Sheffield back line.
Sheffield countered with aggression and put the Leeds defence under increasing pressure. On 77 minutes Sheffield took the lead. Natalie Shaw deftly put the Blades ahead when some good work from their midfield left her to just direct her shot on target. Sheffield Utd 2 Leeds Utd 1
Sheffield came straight back at Leeds and with the offside trap broken Natalie Shaw was again through on goal. With just Colman to beat, the Leeds‘ keeper stood strong and pulled off a superb save to deny the Sheffield goal.
With the full time whistle looming Leeds had to dig deep and chase every ball. A cross from Arianne Parnham which looked to be safely gathered by the Sheffield ‘keeper was let loose. Liuli Dyson was on hand to ensure that the ball was in the back of the net and took the game into extra time. Full time Sheffield Utd 2 Leeds Utd 2
With all the subs used, Leeds once more took to the Bramall Lane pitch. Sheffield were fighting all the way and were creating chances when they took the lead after 7 minutes with a good headed goal from Tania Marsden who had risen to meet the cross. Sheffield Utd 3 Leeds Utd 2
Leeds were far from out of the game and just before the first period of extra time was over. Kez Huegett directed a shot goal ward beating the Sheffield ‘keeper. Leeds had earned a corner which was swung in by Parnham. Huegett managed to find the ball in the packed penalty area and stab it into the back of the net. Sheffield Utd 3 Leeds Utd 3
Fatigue had set in for both teams and the chances were few and far between as the second period of extra time was played out.
With the game ending 3-3 the play went into penalties and saw Sheffield United scoop the win and go into the next round by 3-2.
Heartbreak for a Leeds side who probably deserved the win but an amazing spectacle for the fans to see.
The Leeds United Ladies will now prepare for their home league clash against Hull on Wednesday 11 October at 19:45pm.