Thursday April 25th, 2013
Lancashire Women's Challenge Cup (final)
Blackpool Wren Rovers 2-2 Rovers Ladies (Blackpool win 3-1 on pens)
Rovers Ladies lost the Lancashire Cup final for only the second time in 10 years after suffering penalty shoot-out heartache against Blackpool Wren Rovers.
After some late drama, the game finished 2-2 at the end of normal time, before Blackpool secured the title on penalties.
Rovers were left to rue a catalogue of missed chances, as Blackpool gained revenge for last season’s cup final defeat.
Andy Ramskill’s side dominated the first half, with Nichol Forster’s volley deflected wide on eight minutes, before Rhiannon Roberts’ shot was cleared off the line from the resultant corner.
Three minutes later, Roberts’ free-kick was fumbled and Sophie Flynn’s shot was saved at point-blank range on the follow-up.
Forster then twice headed over the bar, either side of another Roberts free-kick, which had to be pushed around the post.
Rovers should have taken the lead on 28 minutes when Roberts’ deep delivery found the unmarked Danielle Cox, but the defender somehow headed onto the underside of the bar.
Evie Manning then saw a shot deflected just past the post, before Rovers eventually made the breakthrough. Cox played a diagonal ball over the top to Steph Marsh, who took a touch, before powering a shot past the Blackpool keeper.
Blackpool’s best chance arrived on the stroke of half-time when Nikki Berko played in Abby Pullen, who was denied by the legs of Gemma Jackson at her near post.
Blackpool made a double change at the break, but it was Rovers who continued to dominate. Marsh’s left-wing cross had to be tipped away by Charlotte Leece from under her own bar, before Flynn’s crisp strike forced a superb save from the Blackpool keeper. Flynn then centred for Forster, but Leece again made a smothering save.
Both sides felt they should have been awarded penalties when Vicky Westerman’s sliding challenge went unpunished, before Manning’s corner clearly struck an arm in the box.
Blackpool’s equaliser arrived on 69 minutes when former Rover Berko skipped past a couple of challenges, before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner.
Twenty minutes later and the comeback was complete. Blackpool struck on the break, as Berko got the better of Danielle Oates, before picking out a team-mate at the back post to slot home.
However, Rovers refused to relinquish their title without a fight. Straight from the restart, Marsh was denied by Leece, when Forster was better placed, but a minute into added time, a shot looped up to substitute Kelly Halligan, who sent the final to penalties with a perfectly-placed volley into the far corner.
Rovers gained the early advantage in the shoot-out, as Berko’s spot-kick was saved and Westerman fired into the corner, but Blackpool netted their next three and Rovers missed all of theirs, as the Wrens secured the county crown.
ROVERS: Jackson, Cox, Oates, Twohig (O’Donnell 46), Marsh, Boulton (Halligan 77), Flynn, Westerman, Roberts (Fuller 68), Manning, N. Forster.