Cambridge United Women were on the receiving end of an unfortunate giant killing as the cruel magic of the FA Cup ended the U’s hopes of an exciting run with Norfolk League Wymondham Town Ladies taking their place in the next round with a 1-0 victory.

It could have all have been so different as early as the second minute when the U’s had a golden chance to silence the noisy home crowd. A whipped ball low across the penalty area was met at the far post by Lucy Du Plooy who’s side foot shot was stopped on the line by Wymondham goalkeeper Louise Hamilton-Rout and then cleared away to safety. Mills herself then went close after cutting inside from the right before unleashing a shot just wide from outside the box.

Another great chance to open the scoring followed, after some neat inter-play on the edge of the box found Laura Baker through on goal but her low shot was just touched away for a corner by Hamilton-Rout.

Wymondham were having difficulty mounting any serious attacks as Cambridge pressed high against their opponents. A couple of speculative efforts on target did not trouble Verity Crook who claimed both comfortably.

Further chances came and went for the U’s with Mills finding herself inside the area in the right hand channel and her fired shot towards the far post was again diverted for a corner by Hamilton-Rout.

A huge shout for a penalty was turned down by the referee just before half time when Mills’ cross from the right struck the flailing arm of a Wymondham defender and the hosts almost turned that piece of luck into more with a breakaway, but Crook came and smothered at Sally Hammerton’s feet right on the edge of her box.

The second half continued much like the first with plenty of United possession, but they were up against a side willing to put numbers behind the ball and it was a test for the visitors to break them down and carve out an opening. A short corner routine worked between Mills and Du Plooy which saw the latter deliver a cross into the box which Baker was unable to head goalwards at the far post.

Disaster struck with 15 minutes remaining as a game which looked destined to go to extra time saw the home side take the lead when a defensive mix up at the back between Crook and Kayleigh Anne Burt saw Hammerton pick up a loose ball and place into the empty net from just inside the area.

The U’s mounted attack after attack and committed bodies forward in an attempt to save the tie. Faith Hewitt had a header saved by Hamilton-Rout before the goalkeeper did superbly to palm away Taylor’s swinging effort from range moments later.

The best chance of the half fell to substitute Nuala Wayne, when she found herself unmarked at the far post after Baker had nodded the ball in her direction from Taylor’s cross. However Hamilton-Rout got across from nowhere at full stretch to parry Wayne’s goalbound header away for a corner.

Despite a late flurry of corners for the U’s it was not to be, and Wymondham held on for a famous victory.

Manager Steve Edwards said after the game: “We are incredibly disappointed to have exited the competition at this early stage and under these circumstances. We missed good opportunities at key points in the game and then unfortunately an error has punished us. 

“We were up against a very well organised side and this is what this competition can do and why the FA Cup is so special. 

“It’s tough to take and this club deserves better but we need to respond in the right way now, and we have some huge battles coming up in the league so focus will have to turn to those now.”

LINE UP:- Verity Crook, Emma Jenkins, Kayleigh Anne Burt, Robyn Phillips, Becca Fay, Laura Mills, Laura Baker, Emily Reed (sub Nuala Wayne 75 mins), Lucy Du Plooy (sub Faith Hewitt 61 mins), Laura Baker, Becky Taylor Sub Not Used – Hayley Turner