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16-year-old Evie McKane was the hero for Needham Market as she pulled off two fabulous saves in a 3-0 shootout win against Royston to book there place in the FA Cup first round proper in consecutive seasons.

The game ended 1-1 thanks to second half goals from Hayley Kindred and an equaliser by Tally Miles as both teams failed to win in 90 minutes and needed dreaded Penalties to split them.

It was then a comprehensive 3-0 victory in the shootout with McKane taking the plaudits with her saves as Needham through Lina Nagib, Paige Wakefield and Amber Cantwellwere emphatic from the spot.

Needham made a strong start and should have been awarded a penalty when Nagib was tripped but the ref pointed for a corner, from that resulting corner there was chaos in the Royston box and the ball dribbled narrowly wide.

McKane was then brought into a strong smart save before making a brilliant block late on to keep the scores level at the break just as Needham were having a better period.

The second half also started well with Needham looking to pressurise the away side and they were rewarded on the hour mark when a Paige Wakefield free kick was wonderfully saved onto the bar but was followed up by Kindred to open the scoring.

Needham looked more relaxed from there but were stung by a sucker punch as a corner from Miles looked to go straight in over the head of McKane.

That led to a cagey final 20 minutes as both teams struggled to create chances with the fear of losing looming large from one mistake.

And to penalties it went.

The home team took first through Nagib followed by Wakefield and Cantwell but the story was the team’s young goalkeeper with her saves that made sure the name Needham Market is represented in the main draw of the world’s most famous knockout competition again.



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