By Peter Hampshire
History was made at the Dual Seal Stadium as Brighouse Town Ladies entertained a bumper crowd in their inaugural FA Cup 3rd round fixture.
An all-time record crowd of 411 turned up to watch Town Ladies, higher than any attendance for the men’s team this season, and witnessed 2010 Cup winners Everton progress comfortably to the 4th round with an 8-1 victory.
Manager Rob Mitchell said prior to the match: “For a lot of people it’s the first game they’ve been to. They might be pleasantly surprised about how good the two teams are. Hopefully the two teams will entertain and they will come back again in the future.”
The crowd certainly saw an action-packed match full of spirit and determination. Brighouse held firm against a side tipped to win Women’s Super League 2 this season, bristling with England youth internationals.
After a fairly even first half-hour of high energy football, the fitness levels and clinical nature in front of goal of the away side shone to give them a 4-0 lead at the break.
Everton Ladies manager Andy Spence was keen to praise Brighouse on their remarkable run in the Cup.
He said: “We’re very respectful of the fact that Brighouse had a fantastic result in the last round. You can sense the excitement around the club. ”
Spence’s side went on to win 8-1 but not after Brighouse enjoyed their best spell of the game following the interval. The wonder-strike from captain Annabelle Cass on 55 minutes, helped by good link-up play by winger Danni Brown demonstrated that Town, two leagues below Everton in the football pyramid, still posed a threat.
Following her side conceding four more in a hectic last 15 minutes, Town keeper Steph Jones remained upbeat about her side’s cup exploits.
She said: “With every save it was nice to hear something from the crowd. You can’t replicate that feeling. When we scored I thought we’d won the World Cup.”
Brighouse must now focus on their stuttering league campaign, seeing them one place from the relegation zone. With the cup affording them numerous games in hand over their rivals, they must improve their home league form. First up, a crucial tie against struggling Mossley Hill on February 19.