Rovers Under-17s were spot on once again, as they booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Girls Youth Cup following a dramatic victory over Aston Villa.
Last season’s runners-up knocked out North Yorkshire in a shoot-out in the first round and they were penalty perfect once more after their second round tie had finished 2-2 at the end of normal time.
Rovers struggled to cope with the pace of Villa’s wingers in the early exchanges, but held firm as the hosts applied plenty of pressure.
However, in the 10th minute, Rovers failed to clear a corner and from Katie Maher’s parry, Kamariah Scott scored from close range.
Rovers responded well, with Aisha Yallop having a decent effort saved and Ceri Holland seeing her shot come back off the post.
However, Rovers’ inability to deal with set-pieces struck again just before the half-hour mark when a long aerial free-kick caused confusion between Maher and Hannah Godfrey, resulting in the latter looping a header into her own goal.
Rovers raised their intensity after the interval, showing a lot more passion and desire. They created numerous chances before Yallop reduced the arrears in the 56th minute with a neat finish one-on-one with the keeper.
It was end-to-end action in the final 15 minutes, with Rovers pushing for an equaliser and Villa playing on the break. As the game entered the closing stages, Rovers made one final push and won a free-kick out wide. The returning Lorrie Doze delivered an inswinging free-kick, which was only partially cleared to Thea Mallett, who picked out the top corner with virtually the last kick of the game.
In the shoot-out, Holland, Mallett, Yallop and Natasha Fenton all scored, whilst Villa missed the target on two occasions, as Rovers secured their spot in the last eight for the second year running.
ROVERS: Maher (Pope 40), Mallett, Taylor, Samuels (Johnson 72), Adams (Chandarana 40), Fenton, Godfrey, Holland, Hutton (Doze 66), Lambe, Yallop.