WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: Ref justice for Town Ladies

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Swindon Town Ladies boss Steve Robertson was left frustrated by a controversial late refereeing decision as his side eventually bowed out to West Ham Ladies on penalties in the first round of the WPL Plate, writes Josh Bird.

After a second half brace from Georgia Walters had put Town 2-1 in front, the referee awarded West Ham a stoppage time indirect free kick in the Swindon penalty area for time wasting.

Amy Cooper played the free kick back to Chloe Burr who fired in the equaliser to force extra time.

“I’m really disappointed the match went to extra time and penalties,” Robertson said.

“I think we’ve been stitched up a bit by the referee to be honest.

“She’s awarded an indirect free kick in our area for time wasting in the 93rd minute without actually warning anybody.

“She just decided to do it off of her own back and I don’t like to moan about officials but that was frustrating.”

Town fell behind on the stroke of half time as Charlotte Gurr provided a neat finish to put the hosts in front.

But Swindon came out fighting in the second half and got in front courtesy of two Georgia Walters’ goals.

Burr’s late strike however forced the match into extra time and with no goals scored in the additional 30 minutes, West Ham eventually ran out 3-2 winners on penalites.

Despite a disappointing first half performance, Robertson saw reason to be upbeat.

“We were really bad in the first half,” he said.

“It was a very pedestrian game and there was a few words said at half time and a few home truths.

“But the second half onwards I thought we were decent and probably the better team.

“We were the only team trying to win the game in extra time and we just needed to be a bit more clinical.

“We had a lot of chances and if we had stuck some of them away we would have come away with a comfortable win but at the end of the day I think there are loads of positives.

“Personally, I know a little bit more about the squad now and we definitely look forward to facing them in the league.”

Swindon now return to league action next weekend with a tough fixture away at Coventry United and Robertson admitted the league had always been his main priority.

“The league has always been our main focus and these cup matches have just been nice distractions,” he said.

“It’s given me an opportunity to look at some of the younger players.

“Stephanie Houston came and made her debut and Meg Larkin is another girl that has come out of the development team and she started today.

“We are making strides in the right direction and these games give me the opportunity to look at these players and keep working on things.

“They are pushing for places in the team and in my opinion the stronger the competition is for places, the better we will be.”