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Acle United Women 3 Norwich City Ladies 2: Birchall grabs hat-trick in dramatic cup tie

PUBLISHED: 12:43 20 November 2018

Action from Acle's match against Norwich City Ladies Picture: Brian Coombes

Action from Acle's match against Norwich City Ladies Picture: Brian Coombes

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Acle United twice came from behind before an 91st-minute goal earned them a 3-2 win over Norwich City in the Norfolk Women’s Cup.

Grace Birchall, who scored all three Acle goals in their win over Norwich City Ladies Picture: Darren GilhamGrace Birchall, who scored all three Acle goals in their win over Norwich City Ladies Picture: Darren Gilham

The deadlock was broken in the 19th minute when Norwich took the lead.

Bell failed to hold a rasping shot and the ball landed at Snelling’s feet to slot home into an unguarded net. In their next attack the visitors almost doubled their lead, the woodwork preventing George from scoring and Acle clearing the danger.

Just before the half-hour mark Acle scored a deserved equaliser – Bullard, on the right, squared to Birchall on the edge of the area and Acle’s leading goal scorer fired into the far corner.

Although Norwich were having most of the possession and territorial advantage, the Acle defence stood firm as the sides went in level at the break.

Action from Acle's match against Norwich City Ladies Picture: Brian CoombesAction from Acle's match against Norwich City Ladies Picture: Brian Coombes

Most of the early pressure in the second half came from Norwich, but they rarely tested the keeper, with Acle relying on counter-attacks. The first real chance of the half fell to the hosts after Birchall was fouled just outside the area, but the set-piece was high over the bar, before a half-cleared ball by the Norwich defence was picked up by Todd, who saw her shot graze the top of the woodwork.

With just over an hour played Norwich regained the lead when Stanley’s shot from the edge of the area deceived Bell.

The visitors almost scored again with Snelling heading just wide.

A quick attack from Norwich saw Bell save well at her near post. The keeper’s long kick downfield fell to Birchall who knocked it forward then capitalised on hesitancy between a defender and the keeper to nip in and score into an empty net to once again level the score with 15 minutes remaining.

Five minutes later, Norwich had a golden chance to retake the lead, but the unmarked Snelling blazed over the bar.

The winner came when Birchall, picking up a loose ball five yards in her own half, raced through the centre of the Norwich defence and sent the keeper wrong way to complete her hat-trick and put Acle into Friday’s quarter-final draw.

Acle: Bell, Larkins, Goodfield, Scully, Pasque, Shields, Bullard, Rowland, Brister, Todd, Birchall. Subs used: Cooper, Flatt, Parker.

Norwich: Armstrong, Parker, Robson, McDonald, Diston, Daviss, Smith, Durrant, George, Stanley, Snelling. Subs used: Rogers, Pleavin, Tate

Ref: Ashley Tyne. Att: 65.

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