Chester’s women set new attendance record but suffer narrow FA Cup defeat

Chester FC Women line up before Sunday’s tie. Louisha Doran is back row, second from left, Anna Jones front row, third from right and Becky Lees front row, furthest right. Picture: CHESTER FC WOMEN TWITTER ACCOUNT

VITALITY WOMEN’S FA CUP SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND

Chester FC Women 4 (Jones 21, Bullock 28, Gray 31, Redman 89)
Salford City Lionesses 5 (Abdullahi 10 & 75; Hutton 57 & 65; Newhouse 62)

Attendance: 201 (new record)

Chester FC Women attracted a record crowd to their FA Cup tie on Sunday – but sadly the result did not quite go their way.

The Deva Divas led 3-1 at half time against Salford City Lionesses, but ended up 5-4 losers in a thriller.

The Greater Manchester visitors, from the North West Women’s Regional Football League Premier Division, are a level higher than Chester, who compete in Division One South, so it was a great effort from the hosts in this Vitality Women’s FA Cup second round qualifier at the Deva Stadium.

Chester’s previous record home crowd was 174, but Sunday saw a new high of 201 attend a nine-goal thriller.

Three North Wales linked girls play for Chester – ex-Llandudno players Anna Jones and Louisha Doran, as well as former Airbus forward Becky Lees.

Feiruz Abdullahi gave Salford a 10th minute lead after the visitors had earlier hit the post.

Anna Jones scored Chester’s opening goal

Chester raised their game and on 21 minutes our very own Anna Jones slotted in the equaliser.

Ash Bullock put the hosts ahead on 28 minutes and soon after Emma Gray’s great header extended the lead – three goals in 10 minutes for the blues!
It would have been 4-1 at the break had Ellie Bradley’s free kick gone in instead of striking the bar.

Half-time: Chester 3 Salford 1

Confirmation of the record attendance. All graphics from Chester FC Women

Salford began the second half strongly, goals from Emily Hutton and Safron Newhouse bringing them level at 3-3 just past the hour.

The turnaround was complete when Hutton struck again for the away side on 65 minutes.

Lees came on for the injured Jones in the 73rd minute as Chester aimed to boost their attacking threat.

Becky Lees came on in the second half

However, on 75 minutes captain Abdullahi made it 5-3 and all looked lost for the home team.

Not so, as in the 89th minute Sarah Redman pulled one back from a header.

That was the end of the scoring, though, and Salford went through despite a tremendous effort from Chester.

Bradley was named Player of the Match for the hosts, but keeper Sophie Foster also merits mention for some superb saves.

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