They came, they saw and they almost conquered as Stoke City Ladies ran their Aston Villa counterparts mightily close in the FA Womens Cup.
Stoke had never been in the 5th round of the competition before and they had an excellent chance to progress and create history for the club.
A blistering start to the match saw Stoke take the lead after just seven minutes when a Nicola Hudson throw-in found Hannah Keryakoplis, who blasted past Villa goalkeeper Sian Rodgers.
It could have got even better for Stoke, as Beth Roberts fizzed a cross which went wide of the goal. Then moments later Amy Hughes was able to fashion herself a shooting chance. But she dragged the shot wide of the goal.
Villa’s Sophie Haywood missed a glorious chance at the back post before Stoke goalkeeper Amy Burnside made two fantastic saves from Alison Hall as Aston Villa started to grow into the contest.
A two-goal lead would have been fantastic for Stoke going into the interval and Keryakoplis could have done just that, when she spotted Rodgers off her line. However, the shot would go over the bar.
After the interval, Aston Villa came out and was able to turn the game on its head just 12 minutes after the restart. Haywood got clear on the left and despite Stoke being able to deal with the first shot the ball fell to Kerri Welsh who was able to tap the ball into the net.
The goal meant that Villa had the upper hand in the game now and they got that crucial second goal just after the hour mark, when Jodie Hutton came off the bench for Villa and the England under 18’s player was denied twice by Burnside. However, the ball fell to Haywood, who made no mistake inside the six-yard box to find the back of the net.
Now Stoke had to go for it with full-back Hudson getting forward before unleashing a fierce shot at goal which Rodgers was equal too. Faye McCoy then whipped in a free-kick which was dropped by Rodgers and Cassie Hyde was first to the ball, but she put her effort wide of the target.
In the end, it wasn’t to be for Stoke City ladies, but they can be proud of their efforts in front of a record crowd at Community Drive.
After the Stoke City ladies manager Tim Dudding came and spoke to us live on Moorlands Radio Sport.