Helston edge battle of the debutants in Vitality FA Women's Cup preliminary round

Sunday 20 Sep 2020
Helston won a memorable encounter against Saltash while Wroxham and AFC Darwen secured comeback victories

Helston Athletic won a thrilling battle of the debutants in the Vitality Women's FA Cup as they toppled Saltash United in the competition’s preliminary round.

Both clubs are appearing in the tournament for the first time in their history and the spectacle in Cornwall did not disappoint, as a 5-4 epic marked Kellaway Park’s first taste of Cup action.

Saltash stunned St. Agnes in their extra preliminary round clash but were unable to continue their momentum at Helston, as the Cornwall Women’s Football League side delivered a brilliant performance to march into the next round.

2020-21 Vitality Women's FA Cup
  • Preliminary round
  • Sunday 20 September 2020
Helston had to do things the hard way, however, going 1-0 behind in the very first minute to make for a nightmare start as Cup action came to the club for the first time in 125 years.

But the Blues rallied and soon took the game by the scruff of the neck, storming into a 4-2 lead at the break. 

A topsy-turvy second period ensued and while two goals from Saltash gave Helston finish line jitters, an all-important fifth from Athletic booked their place in the next round.

Grace Birchall was the hero for fifth-tier Wroxham as they toppled King's Lynn Town 7-3 in a similarly pulsating affair in Norfolk.

Lynn held a slender 2-1 lead at half time but Birchall’s treble, coupled with two from Becky Russell, a Lauren Bullard strike and an own goal, completed a comeback to seal their place in the next round.

But AFC Darwen pulled off the day's biggest comeback as they battled from 4-0 behind to win a 6-4 thriller against Sir Tom Finney on home soil.

The North West Women’s Regional League team slumped to four goals behind within just 35 minutes, pulling one back before the break to restore a glimmer of hope.

Darwen made three substitutions at half time to try and shake things up and those changes reaped drastic rewards as they hit six in the second half. 

The visitors were unable to summon the spirit of the great Preston North End and England winger in their name but one side who did were Woodley United, who toppled Milton United 5-3.

AFC Stoneham also hit their goalscoring straps to beat Alton 5-2 away from home, while Knowle edged a narrow 3-2 affair away at AFC Telford United.

Workington Reds won 4-3 at Durham United to keep their Vitality Women's FA Cup run going, while a 3-2 win for Sheffield Wednesday over Harworth Colliery proved another high-scoring affair.

Other entertaining encounters included Redditch United’s win over Shifnal Town on penalties - after a 3-3 draw.

Middlezoy Rovers got past Bishops Lydeard 4-3 and Harlow Town beat Colney Heath by the same scoreline.

Ashford beat Islington Borough 4-1, Wycombe Wanderers toppled Eversley & California by 2-1 while Wakefield Trinity were 4-3 victors away at Altofts.

And there were emphatic wins for FC United of Manchester, Warrington Wolves Foundation, Netherton United, Dartford, Luton Town and Moneyfields to cap a scintillating preliminary round of Vitality Women's FA Cup action.

By FA Staff