Hat-trick hero Ashleigh Edwards helped Nottingham Forest secure their place in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon as The Reds twice came from behind to beat Sheffield FC 3-2.
Sheffield responded to Forest's early attacks well and went a goal ahead in the fifth minute. Ellie Hawcroft slotted the ball past Rebecca Thomas and into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the Forest box.
Edwards drew The Reds level in the 25th minute after Katie Middleton fed the ball through as she rounded the goalkeeper and neatly hit the ball over the line.
The home side regained their lead only five minutes later through Ellie White. Forest failed to clear their lines and the ball rolled into the path of White who hit a low and hard shot past Thomas and into the bottom right-hand corner.
Lisa Giampalma had an opportunity just before the break to extend her side’s lead as the ball bounced inside the Forest box and through to the unmarked striker but Thomas was alert and quick off her line to prevent the Sheffield player from shooting.
The Reds came out strong in the second half searching for another equaliser and came close after only three minutes. Lauren Cresswell delivered a corner kick into the Sheffield box that eventually fell to the feet of Sammy Conroy but she struggled to get any power behind her shot and it was easily saved by Santoro.
Forest got the equaliser they had been searching for in the 74th minute through a brilliant goal from Edwards. She grabbed her second of the game after she had delightfully chipped the ball over the head of an onrushing Santoro and watched the ball drift into the back of the net.
Edwards netted her hat-trick and secured the win for Forest in the 81st minute with her best goal of the afternoon. The midfielder weaved through a couple of Sheffield players on the far edge of the penalty area before curling a shot from a tight angle that slotted itself into the top right-hand corner.
Sheffield came close to drawing level immediately as they whipped in a testing corner. A sea of Forest players saw the ball heading towards the back of the net but substitute Viki Adam produced a superb goal-line clearance to set up a third-round tie at home to MK Dons.
Forest: Thomas, Dicken (Lee 68’), Conroy, Darby ( c ), Walters, Cresswell, Griffin, Bonser (Adam 68’), Edwards, Hewitt, Middleton
Subs not used: Hallam, Brown
Goals: Edwards (25’, 74’, 81’)
Sheffield: Santoro (Hobson 90+1), Housley ( c ) (Smith 62’), White, Butcher, Hawcroft, Giampalma, Wortley, Johnson, Heald (Russell 84’), Neary, Tinsley
Subs not used: Wainwright, Clarke
Bookings: Tinsley (86’), Russell (90+4)
Goals: Hawcroft (5’), White (30’)