'Unreal experience' despite cup defeat
IPSWICH Town Women’s captain Amanda Crump said it was an ‘unreal experience’ to rub shoulders with the star-studded Manchester City side in their FA Cup tie.
The holders, who play four levels above Ipswich, ran out 10-0 winners in Sunday’s fifth-round tie at the 7,000 capacity Etihad Campus to reach the quarter-finals.
Around 400 fans had made the trip from Suffolk and they saw their team keep City, who fielded ten full internationals in their starting line-up, at bay for the opening 20 minutes.
But after Laura Coombs opened the scoring, City swept aside their FA Women’s National League Division One South East visitors as Pauline Bremer, Jess Park and Georgia Stanway helped themselves to hat-tricks.
Ipswich, who were the first fourth tier team to reach the fifth round of the competition, were blown away by their Women’s Super League hosts, whose interim manager is former Ipswich Town loanee Alan Mahon.
Watching from the stands were Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert and Lee O’Neill, the club’s general manager of football operations, while there was full match commentary on BBC Radio Suffolk.
Former Suffolk FA Women’s captain Crump, an Ipswich Town player for 13 years, said: “We always knew it was going to be tough, but it was an incredible experience.
“The whole weekend was great – we travelled on the first-team coach, stayed in a nice hotel and the stadium was fantastic.
“To step out on the pitch against a team with ten full internationals and play against players who were in the World Cup was an unreal experience.
“They were quick and clinical and showed us just why they are playing at that level and why it is a full-time job to them. Credit to them as some of the goals they scored were outstanding.”
Crump, who got a photograph of herself with City skipper Steph Houghton, who is also England captain and has won 117 caps, admitted: “I was in awe of them, to be honest.”
With their FA Cup adventure over, Crump reflected: “We did incredibly well to get this far and the publicity has been fantastic in getting our name out there in terms of raising interest in the team and potentially attracting sponsorship.
“It is only going to help us in the future as we are serious about getting to the next level. The FA Cup run has been a bonus, and it has shown our 16 and 17-year-olds how far they have to go to reach that level.”
Ipswich will have to dust themselves down and prepare for an East Anglian derby away to arch rivals Norwich City on Wednesday evening.
Crump continued: “We are a bit bruised from the result, although still living in dreamland about what has just happened.
“However, we have got no time to reflect because we have a game against Norwich City on Wednesday night and then Leyton Orient, one of the contenders for the league, on Sunday.”
The Ipswich Town players are pictured above after the game. Photograph by Ross Halls.