Sheffield FC 2-1 Rovers Ladies
FA Women's Cup (second round)
Sunday January 6th, 2013
Evie Manning grabbed a debut goal, but it wasn't enough to prevent Rovers Ladies from bowing out of the FA Women's Cup away to Sheffield FC.
The 16-year-old starlet opened the scoring midway through the first half, but the hosts hit back to book their place in the third round.
Playing their first competitive game since October, Rovers started the brighter of the two teams, moving the ball around well and dominating possession on a difficult pitch. Inside the first few minutes, they created an opening for Beth Donoghue, who fired well wide.
Rovers continued to force the pace, with Sheffield evidently unsettled in the early exchanges. Lagan Makin converted a cross from the right, but a late linesman's flag saved Sheffield.
However, it was only a matter of time before Rovers took the lead. After some good work down the right, Manning's shot from the corner of the area looped over the keeper and went in off the post.
The goal spurred Sheffield into life and they soon started to get a foothold in the game. After finding space out wide, Lisa Giampalma's cross-shot went just over the reach of Lauren Bracewell and into the back of the Rovers net.
Rovers had a chance to regain the lead moments later when Donoghue was slid through, but the Sheffield keeper made a smart save.
The home side ended a scrappy half strongly, as Carla Ward fired just wide, before Nicky Twohig made a superb last-ditch tackle.
Sheffield continued where they had left off before the break, with several opportunities saved by Bracewell and a header that came back off the post.
Rovers battled back and Danielle Cox created a chance for Manning, who tried to cut the ball back instead of getting away a strike at goal.
Carmel Bennett then came to Rovers' rescue, before launching a counter attack down the left and her cut-back found the fast-arriving Kim Turner, who placed a shot just the wrong side of the post.
Sheffield eventually scored their second when Suzanne Davies went through one-on-one and the striker squeezed the ball past Bracewell.
Rovers pushed for a late leveller, but strikes from Steph Marsh and Manning couldn't send the tie into extra-time.
Manager Scott Rogers said: "I thought my team was brilliant. We have come here with six first team players missing and we have run a good Sheffield side all the way.
"It shows what a young, strong and talented squad we have here. We started the game brightly and could have been two or three in front in the first 20 minutes, but we didn't take our chances.
"I think not playing since October showed at times, as we were a little rusty. I'm disappointed to be out of the cup that we did so well in last year, but I can't fault the effort of my players. On another day we would have won this game.
"I also believe that a special mention should go to our goalscorer Evie Manning, who is still only 16, but showed what talented young players we have at this club.
"I'd like to congratulate Sheffield on their win and wish them luck in the next round. We now have the League Cup to focus on next week and we will be looking to get back to winning ways."
ROVERS: Bracewell, Westerman (Flynn 80), Cox, Bennett, Marsh, Twohig, Turner, Manning, Donoghue, Makin (Pennington 80), H. Forster.
Subs not used: Bland.