Mears inspires Posh Women U23s to victory over The Cobblers on Sunday afternoon.
Rebecca Mears’ second half strike secured Peterborough United Women U23s spot in the quarter-final of the Northants FA County Cup following a 1-0 victory over Northampton Town Development on Sunday afternoon at the idverde Training Ground.
The under 23s were close to breaking the deadlock in the opening stages of the game as Alicia Podd’s free-kick from the edge of the box skimmed the top of the crossbar. Maddie Moore saw her effort from distance comfortably collected by the goalkeeper after she was picked out by Alice Akinyemi.
Ella-Mai Bale, who has been in terrific form in recent weeks, scoring nine goals so far this season, had two opportunities to break the deadlock, forcing the goalkeeper into a low save before sending an effort well over the bar.
Podd and Taya Smith couldn’t find the target as the under 23s pushed for the opener before the break, while the visitors carved out their first opportunity on 43 minutes, but a first-time effort at the back-post was comfortable for Megan Dellar.
Dellar was called into action in the early stages of the second half, but was once again routine for the Posh goalkeeper. Posh made a change on 55 minutes as Smith was replaced by Bella Lloyd-Edwards, who nearly made an instant impact on the game, sending a header over the bar after connecting with Akinyemi’s cross.
Posh broke the deadlock on 57 minutes as a mistake for The Cobblers’ goalkeeper was capitalised by Rebecca Mears before lifting it over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Lloyd-Edwards was close to doubling the lead after being picked out by Edyn Osker, but she sent her effort wide of the target.
The Cobblers continued to pose a threat, but were straight-forward saves for Dellar. Podd struck the woodwork once again on 85 minutes, Moore’s cross was met by the midfielder and her effort came off the post.
Despite a number of minutes of injury-time, the under 23s held out to record an excellent victory in the Northants FA County Cup and secure their place in the quarter-final of the competition.
Manager Michael Allsebrook said: “It was a really disciplined performance off the ball. Northampton are a team in form and came with a specific way of playing that we don’t always encounter in the league, but that’s what makes the county cup so unique and why we want to progress as far as we can.
“We were intelligent in our press and aggressive when we had to be and the players deserve full credit for that. In possession, our decision-making in the final third could have been better and, just at times, we needed a bit more composure to break them down, but I’m really pleased with the result.
“The result shows just how far we have come as a team. To show the tactical understanding and discipline out of possession is something that Northampton won’t see in their league and we spent most of the first-half camped in their half. A few players who struggled to hold down a place in the squad last season have been outstanding for us and they deserve full credit for that. We back ourselves against anyone and we are excited to see who we draw next.”
Posh XI: Dellar, King, Sands, Osker, Curson, Moore, Podd, Mears, Akinyemi, Smith, Bale.
Subs (Rolling): Robinson, Neto, Lloyd-Edwards.
Photo Credit: Darren Wiles.