Darcey James’ late winner books Crawley Wasps historic FA Cup tie against Arsenal

Darcey James, pictured right doing her defensive duties, proved the match-winner for Crawley Wasps at Coventry (Picture: Jeff Bennett). SUS-190801-095123002
Darcey James, pictured right doing her defensive duties, proved the match-winner for Crawley Wasps at Coventry (Picture: Jeff Bennett). SUS-190801-095123002

Darcey James’ injury-time winner saw Crawley Wasps stun higher-division Coventry United on Sunday and book a history-making tie with Arsenal in the Women’s FA Cup fourth round.

As extra-time loomed, centre-back James nodded in Naomi Cole’s corner to spark celebrations – but victory was only confirmed after goalline clearances from Ariana Fleischman and Niamh Stephenson.

It means Wasps have won all 18 games this season in all competitions – and now face the Women’s Super League leaders.

After a low-quality first 20 minutes on a bumpy surface, Coventry – the unbeaten leaders of the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier – went in front as a cross from the right was swept home by Amber Hughes.

But Wasps hit back immediately, Faye Rabson touching Stephenson’s cross into the path of Fleischman, who lashed into the far corner. Naomi Cole then fizzed a shot inches wide.

Paul Walker’s side had to dig deep in the second half as Coventry pressed but Wasps were always a threat on the counter, with Megan Stow curling an effort against the upright.

Coventry went even closer as a hooked shot smacked against the underside of the bar, while only an outstanding tackle from Charlotte Young denied the hosts an 89th minute opportunity.

That proved to be a match-saver as James headed in – and the reward will come on Sunday, February 3 when they host the Gunners at Tinsley Lane.

Wasps: Gibbs; Niamh Stephenson, Young, James, Palmer; Drury (Davies 84), Cole; Fleischman, Stow, Rabson; Heather. Subs not used: Graves, Measures, Russell, C. Carter.

A second-half goal from Rosanne Fine saw Crawley Wasps Reserves beat Newhaven 1-0 to remain top of the South East Counties Premier Division.

But they were helped by the visitors missing two penalties – the first flew over, while the second was saved by Wasps keeper Leah Samain.

And the new Wasps third team – made up of nine of the club’s ultra-successful under-18s, plus two senior reserves – beat Hollington United 12-0 on their Sussex Women’s League debut.

The ‘elder stateswomen’ Charlotte Barnham and Amy Clark both scored hat-tricks, as did teenager Ellie Livingstone, while Chloe Bosher, Amy Hunt and Chanelle Gainsford chipped in too.

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