The only FA Cup game to take place at the weekend with fixtures ravaged due to Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions around the country, Huddersfield Town won 3-2 away to Liverpool Feds on Sunday afternoon.
Story of the match
Two impressive Kate Mallin finishes either side of an own-goal gave Town the win after extra-time and Huddersfield's Assistant Manager Marcus Wilkinson was thrilled with the determination on show.
"It wasn’t our best performance, but fair play to Liverpool Feds. They were top class today and caused us a lot of problems. We show resilience in every game and that’s what we’ve instilled this season.
"We had to change our shape a few times to get through them, but we stuck at it and got two goals in extra time which we’re pleased with."
The Terriers went into their first match of 2021 on the back of an eight-game winning streak in the league - which sees them top the FA Women's National League table - and showed their quality on countless occasions as the run stretched to nine.
The away side made the brighter start and went close early on when Laura Elford smashed the crossbar shortly after Mallin - who almost had a hattrick - hit her 25-yard free kick against the post.
The hosts were also threatening, however, and it took a brilliant save from Lauren Joyce to deny Jodie Mortimer one-on-one to keep the game goalless before half time - this coming not long after a brilliant last-ditch goal line clearance from the visitors' skipper Charley Evans midway through the first forty-five minutes.
Soon enough, though, the visitors took the lead.
Just after the break, brilliant work from Katie Nutter down the left flank saw her battle with and beat three defenders in the area before pulling the ball back on the angle of the six-yard box.
The no.7's delivery was perfect for Mallin who didn't need to break stride as she powerfully placed the ball beyond the despairing 'keeper from ten yards out at the far post.
The game was the only FA Cup fixture of the weekend as all other ties were postponed due to Tier 4 restrictions and the 150 fans were treated to a brilliant contest on Merseyside as the home side drew level with fifteen minutes remaining when Paige Cole cut through the Terriers' defence and fired over Joyce to level the scores.
Feds goalkeeper Rachel Darbyshire made a massive close-range stop force Town into extra time, but quality showed in the added thirty minutes.
Town won their umpteenth corner and Elford's deft flick sent the wicked delivery onto the knee of Liverpool's centre half who diverted the ball into her own net as the lead was reinstated.
That huge stroke of luck was no less than Huddersfield deserved and they could have been out of sight before the initial equaliser.
Missing chances is not something that Mallin does often and, when she was sent through on goal by Elford's lofted pass, Huddersfield's clinical winger dispatched the ball into the bottom corner in clinical style to seal passage to the third round.
The hosts did claw another goal back through Chantelle Thompson's looped finish with six minutes to go, but it was too late in the day as Huddersfield progressed to the third round.
Huddersfield Town Women have taken the FA Women's National League by storm so far this season and show no sign of letting up. If a side playing outside the top two leagues is going to go deep into the competition, my money would be on them.
Liverpool Feds are on the up
Playing against a team from a higher division is never easy, but the Feds looked at home against their supposed 'superior' opposition. They'd be a credit to the third tier.
Player of the match
With dancing feet and lightning pace, Huddersfield's no.4 terrorised the home defence all match and almost walked away with the match ball. Both 'keepers put in good displays, but the Terriers' star winger stole the show.