2-1 away win at Sunderland for Zoe Johnson's side.
Sunderland 1-2 Rovers Ladies Reserves
(Reserves) Mid/North Division One
Sunday September 2nd, 2012
Goalkeeper Chloe Grice saved a late spot-kick as Rovers Ladies Reserves kicked off the new season with a well-earned 2-1 win away to Sunderland.
Rovers started slowly and were forced to soak up wave-after-wave of Sunderland attacks. The pressure eventually told in the 16th minute as striker Laura Hockaday rose above her marker from a corner and headed the ball into the bottom corner.
This woke Rovers up and they started to gain a foothold in the game, having good periods of possession but lacking a cutting edge in the final third.
Rovers re-grouped at half-time and emerged a different team, pressing higher up the pitch and not allowing Sunderland to instigate any attacks.
Their hard work paid off in the 62nd minute when Hollie Kelsh was fouled in the penalty box and the referee pointed to the spot. Danielle Whitham obliged and coolly slotted home.
Rovers’ dominance continued and on 75 minutes, Kelsh picked up possession, glided past two players and slotted the ball beyond the keeper.
Sunderland had isolated chances, before being awarded a penalty for handball seven minutes from time. The Sunderland forward stepped up, but Rovers keeper Grice guessed the right way to pull off a sensational save and secure the three points.
Manager Zoe Johnson said: “We are really pleased with the hard work and character the girls showed today.
“I thought we started slowly in the first half, but we re- grouped at half-time and had a chat about putting a few things right and came out a different team.
“It was exactly the response we had hoped for and dominated the second half for long periods. Credit to the girls for the determination they showed and a great penalty save from Chloe in the final minutes ensured all three points.
“We hope to now push on from this performance next week against Liverpool.”
Rovers: Grice, Boulton (Noori 75), Flynn, Halligan (Wilson 70), Lowrie, Moorhouse, Palmieri, Rutter, Weston, Whitham, Kelsh.
Subs not used: Bland.