by Callum Ellis
USW Women’s 1st edged past Hartpury University with a 2-1 victory to progress through to the quarter finals of the BUCS Trophy.
Alice Broadley’s first-half strike put the hosts ahead before Charlie Rowlands netted the equaliser just after the hour-mark.
Kaseem Taylor’s side remained patient with extra-time required to determine the winner, but it was Aimee Smith who stepped up to grab the winning goal with four minutes remaining.
The goal ensured USW earned their third successive victory, but what did we learn from the encounter at the USW Sport Park?
Smith the difference
It was an afternoon to remember for Smith who was ultimately the difference between the two sides. The winger setup Broadley with a pin-point delivery to give the hosts a deserved early advantage.
The cup tie looked as though it would be settled by a penalty shootout, but Smith took matters into her own hands by firing an effort beyond Hartpury goalkeeper Kayla Kiap to seal the victory.
A constant attacking threat against Hartpury’s defence, Smith was the star of the show and troubled the visitors throughout the 120 minutes.
Manager Taylor will be delighted with his side’s never-say-die attitude, which was pivotal in seeing off the Gloucester-based outfit. The visitors had several chances to take the lead throughout the second period of normal time and continued to press for the winning goal.
Striker Lucy McDonough kept Hartpury’s shot-stopper Kiap busy but the home side had to wait until the 116th minute to wrap up the tie.
Taylor’s side could have settled for spot-kicks to determine the winner of the encounter, though their pressure on the Hartpury goal late on warranted a winning goal.
The goal came in the dying minutes of extra time after the ever-present Smith found the top corner, leaving the away side feeling deflated.
The home side advanced to the quarter finals of the competition for the first time in their history, which left manager Taylor surprised when he was made aware of the achievement.
They will now travel to the south coast to face fellow Western 1A rivals Bournemouth University in the quarter finals.