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Five-star Rovers reach final!

3 February 2014

Rovers Ladies booked their place in the final of the Lancashire FA Womens Challenge Cup thanks to a 5-3 victory at home to Padiham.

Goals from Evie Manning, Nichol Forster, Vicky Westerman and Hannah Forster fired Rovers into a 4-0 lead at the break.

Padiham improved after the restart, scoring three times, but Sophie Flynn added her name to the scoresheet to secure Rovers’ safe passage to an 11th successive final, where they will meet either Morecambe or Preston North End.

Rovers started strongly, taking control of the contest from the off and creating a couple of chances in the early exchanges.

The breakthrough arrived on the quarter-hour mark when Manning received the ball on the right flank, before firing a long-range effort over the keeper’s head from fully 30 yards out.

Rovers continued to create opportunities and added a second when Rio Hardy fed the ball through to Nichol Forster, who coolly slotted home.

Westerman added a third, picking out the bottom corner from just outside the box after good combination play in midfield, before Hannah Forster got in on the act, firing home a fantastic free-kick after Nichol Forster was fouled on the edge of the area.   

Rovers made three changes at the interval, completely changing their midfield, which resulted in a sluggish start to the second half.

Padiham pulled a goal back when a long ball forward was allowed to bounce in the box, which deceived the defenders and ended up in the back of the net.

Rovers responded, with Manning and Nichol Forster linking up well, before setting the ball back to Flynn, whose first-time shot went over the keeper for 5-1.

With the tie seemingly won, Rovers switched off and the visitors reduced the arrears when a Padiham player headed home unmarked from a corner.

Rovers played out the final 20 minutes with 10 players, after Rio Hardy was forced off with an ankle injury, and a Padiham penalty late on gave the scoreline a closer look than Rovers’ dominance deserved. 

Assistant manager Amanda Goodwin said: “I was really pleased with the first half, because we took the game to Padiham, kept possession, played at a high tempo and showed a professional attitude.

“We were a little bit lazy in the second half and our quality wasn’t there, which was disappointing. We allowed Padiham to get back into the game, which we shouldn’t have done given the gulf between the two teams.

“We will take the positives out of it, which is that we are through to another county cup final, and take them into our FA Cup tie at home to Middlesbrough this weekend.”  

ROVERS: Hutcheson, Pennington, Seed, S. Hardy, Fleming, Savage (Noori 46), Westerman (O’Donnell 46), H. Forster (Flynn 46), R. Hardy, N. Forster, Manning.

Subs not used: Musker, Bourne.  

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